1. Hey Marina!! Thank you so much for your comments and apologies for my late reply. You make so many important points. (1) totally agreed – we really need more information — geographically, historically, politically — to be able to have an informed opinion or offer meaningful response to this situation. (2) AGREE! (3) I did not realize this, and thank you for the insight. Absolutely agree that we need to be clear what we’re supporting and what we’re not supporting, (4) Sounds like you need to be in office, Marina! “creative political solution that best meets the needs of the people involved” sounds right to me; (5) this truly could be a future where bloodshed is not necessary in the attempt to communicate with one another … I hope that more people are like you and take the ‘ambassadorial’ approach to finding common ground even with people who seem so ‘different’. Thank you!

  2. I’m intrigued by your questions, Kate. Your article has me thinking in many directions, which is good in itself. First, just engaging Americans in a discussion about what is happening elsewhere in the world is a positive step. One can’t make a reasonable comment without first knowing (at the least) where Ukraine is, a brief history of Crimea, why it is important to Russia, and something more about the people who live in Ukraine. We pulled out the atlas yesterday to gain a bit of understanding. We hadn’t seen a map in our local papers, and the news articles I pulled up online did not give the geography or history of the region, I would love to Americans explore maps and history to be better informed as they develop their opinions. Second, this is a great opportunity to request that our schools, news media and government encourage this exploration. Technology makes linking to high-quality sources so easy. Third, my experience with one wonderful Ukrainian family showed me that their perspectives on some human rights issues that we hold dear, namely LGBT issues, are decades behind us. I’ve quickly read that some leaders of the protests are white supremacist and/or Nazi, and this scares me. How can we support the people of Ukraine without strengthening the power of groups we abhor? Fourth, by understanding the issues of each group involved, I am hopeful that a creative political solution can be worked out that best meets the needs of the people involved. Hopefully this is Kerry’s goal as he heads to Ukraine. Finally fifth, are we now at a place where the most important global connections are between people with common beliefs/ideals? Can a coordinated effort by individuals around the globe influence and enable a transformation of government without further bloodshed? I would like to think so, and I believe we are moving in that direction. What a worthwhile effort!

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