by | Feb 27, 2022 | Politics and Society
Ask “This” Taiwanese is an advice column dedicated to pesky and uncomfortable questions about Taiwan or about being Taiwanese. Our perspectives are a blend of Taiwanese and American. Our belief is in democratic values. Our motto is “We see you. We hear you. We will speak up”. We will go where no one is willing to go out loud – come with us! This should be fun!

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Dear Ask “This” Taiwanese:
How should we feel about Ukraine? 
– from everyone 
Dear everyone,
Russian leader Vladimir Putin has launched an all-out war against the people of Ukraine.  
First, there are ways you can help Ukraine, including donations and calling your elected officials. See this open letter for more details. 
There are a lot of analyses out there about whether Russia’s invasion means China will attack Taiwan too. Foreign policy academics are thinking about military strength, diplomacy and politics, all things we can sort of measure. You can find those things online, but we’re not here to talk about that. 
For this piece, we want to talk about how the war is affecting us emotionally. 
We will admit: we feel sad, angry, scared and powerless too. 
This war is not like the armed conflicts we have seen so far–which are all horrific intentional mass murders. This war is of one country throwing all of its military might to stamp out another country. It’s something our generation understands only conceptually. 
We have not seen rockets blowing up buildings in a major city that looks just like where we live. Tanks rolling down the same highways we use to drive to work. People like ourselves are picking up automatic weapons and making bombs at home, when just a few days ago they would be watching TV and hanging out with friends like us. Bombs hitting a preschool that are not just for toddlers but for babies. The reality of war has suddenly dawned on us all. Many of us have been to Ukraine, worked there, or have friends there. We cannot contemplate what they’re going through right now.  
As Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans, this is all too close to home. Ukraine suffers a tangled history with a neighbor whose leaders are obsessed with conquest. Russia and China have backed up their claims with enough military equipment to kill as many people as quickly as possible in Ukraine and Taiwan. We know exactly what that’s like. We can’t help but put ourselves in their shoes. 
Just so happens, we are remembering the 228 Massacre today, which in 1947 also led to kids as young as middle schoolers resisting an invading army with homemade weapons and giving up their lives fighting for their homeland.  
War is not new. But Putin’s aggression in simply invading a neighboring country, unprovoked, is something we are only now experiencing. Putin’s invasion of Ukraine puts the whole world order truly at risk. The UN Security Council met last Wednesday in an emergency session to address the Russian escalation along the Ukrainian border. As the meeting was happening, Russian soldiers marched into Ukraine. The Russian Federation is the current president of the UN Security Council.
Russia has pulled the trigger, war is back on the table. It just got real. 
We are struck by the fact that Ukrainians, soldiers and civilians alike, are showing their resolve to protect their way of life and their right to exist as a nation. We ask ourselves if we have the same resolve. We’re not sure. We are frustrated at how inept the United Nation is, and we want the EU, NATO, and the United States to do more.
We are going through all these things. 
But we are also very grateful we have our community called Taiwanese and Taiwanese Americans. We believe history is a long arc, AND the night will end and daybreak will come. We believe that truth and justice will always win–as long as we are united. 
As we move out from our collective shock, we encourage everyone to reach out to our Ukrainian friends and family to let them know that while they may be fighting alone, we are there for them. We also recommend for Taiwanese to reach out to one another as well and take in what this Putin’s war represents for Taiwan as well.
You and I are not alone. We are here for Ukraine. We are here for Taiwan. We are here for each other. 
During the Orange Revolution, we chanted
Разом нас багато, нас не подолати
Razom nas bahato, nas ne podolati
United we are many, we will not be defeated
United we are many, we will not be defeated. Putin had thought the free world is too free so we will never unite – let us prove how wrong he is!
Defiance is the word today,
Ask This Taiwanese

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