Third Day of Peace Thought: Getting to Know Ukraine

I suspect that many of you are probably similar to me when it comes to the Ukraine. While of course I support the country against the undeserved aggression by the Russian military, I don’t really know that much about Ukraine as a country. For example, did you know it’s the second largest country in Europe, at least in terms of space? Do you know what the name “Ukraine” actually means? I do have one friend who grew up in Ukraine before moving to the US and becoming a UN citizen, but she never really liked talking about her home country much.

So, as is often the case, I turned to one of my favorite informational sources: the vlogbrothers, e.g., John and Hank Green, who among many other things have created an incredible FREE educational resource in their many Crash Course series on high school and college subjects.

While not part of the actual Crash Course series, about six months ago when the Russian military first invaded Ukraine this year, John Green’s produced this video about the current conflict:

If you want to know even more, you can watch the first video that John Green created back in 2014 when Russia invaded and took over the part of the Ukraine known as Crimea, without much pushback by the US and other world powers:

Those two videos helped me understand the warfare so much better. It strengthens my support for Ukraine because I now know the context in which this is all taking place. Before I was supporting Ukraine in a kind of a knee-jerk way of opposing any attempt to take over another country against its will. Now I have much more appreciation and admiration of the courage and commitment of the Ukrainian people, which makes me want to assist them even more. Before, my support was over an abstract idea that no country should invade another. Now my support comes from a story of actual events in the lives of actual people, which touches my heart and increases my level of concern for those people.

For those of us in the Triangle NC area, next week there are also some live opportunities to discover more about Ukrainian arts and culture. The Ukrainian Association of North Carolina ( is sponsoring a few benefit concerts to raise money to rebuild medical facilities in Ukraine. First, on Thursday, September 29, Duke University will present two event, one at 3:00 PM and one at 7:30 PM, at the Goodson Chapel, 407 Chapel Dr, Durham, NC 27705. The first is a lecture/recital on the history of Ukrainian music; the second will be a concert involving several different musical organizations at Duke presenting music by Ukrainian composers. Other traditional Ukrainian arts, such as pottery and embroidery, will also be on display and available for purchase. The events are free, but the suggested donation is $25/person.

Then on Friday, September 30 at 7:30, a similiar concert will be held at Pullen Memorial Baptist Church, 1801 Hillsborough St, Raleigh, NC 27605. You can buy tickets or simply donate to this event at:

For me, learning more about Ukraine makes me feel more like I am waging peace rather than simply being against the war. I hope this post helps you feel the same way.

I’ll end with this video that displays one Ukrainian artist who may be the best-known artist among people in the West (with the exception of Ukrainian president  Volodymyr Zelenskyy, who famously starred in a situation comedy about a teacher who somehow got elected as President of the country before it came true in real life).

Remember this beautiful piece of art?

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