PLUCK, acrylic on canvas, 24×18
IF THERE IS ANY GOOD to come from the current suffering and slaughtering of innocent lives occurring thousands of miles away, it is that the war’s shockwaves may stir us from our collective lethargy and jolt us into a renewed, stark awareness of the dangers of an autocrat.
We’ve become complacent in recent years, acting more and more entitled to our historically and globally unprecedented material wealth, taking its costs in human and natural resources for granted.
Now, the war pervades our air like oxygen, invisible but ever-present, forcing us to breathe deep the wind-blown ashes of a human volcano. Smudges of concern visible on strangers’ faces. Waves of loss and helplessness imploring us through deep vibrations of the preciousness and fragility of freedom.
The autocrat’s disregard for life extends to his own people. Not to be lost in the sea of Ukrainians’ misery is the 18-year-old Russian boy sent to a horrible death in the forefront of an invasion he did not know about, for reasons he does not understand. I cannot believe this is the will of the Russian people.
The struggle for justice is eternal. As James Baldwin said, “The moment is not coming when you are going to get to sit down and say, ‘Wow, you did it. It’s over. All this fighting ends on Tuesday.’ Because when Wednesday morning comes, it will all have do be done again.
“That’s the only optimism.”