Steppenwolf: The Last Out

Last out: Elegy of a Green Beret was only performed twice – on Friday and Saturday. I immediately got two tickets for Friday when I saw an email about it. I received at least two content advisory emails, but I was still completely unprepared for what I saw.

Two days later, I do not know how to write about it. It was an extremely emotional experience. All of the cast members were veterans, and I think that at least a third of the audience were veterans, and many people in the audience cried. I felt like this was not a show for me, and at the same time, I felt that I needed to know and at least try to understand how people feel. And then again, it seemed impossible…

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Several posts in drafts and too many things going on. Just this one thought I wanted to post today. I am shocked not only by the Dnipro horrible war crime but also by the reactions of many people in Russia. There was only one person who messaged me with a normal (at least what I believe is normal) reaction. And I know there are several other people who think the same way, even though they didn’t message me. But these people are inminority.

Today’s War News

That’s how my morning was: the first thing I saw on my phone was, “Soledar is taken by Russians.” Then – “According to Ukraine, the fight is still going on.” And then the news about the tanks. I am so hopeful that this will finally happen – that the tank will reach the front. If it takes the Soledar standoff to make it a reality, I would say it was not for nothing. At least something is coming.

Since the day Biden announced that we are giving tanks to Ukraine, I kept asking Boris how the tanks would get to Ukraine and how long it could take. But it’s not even a question of “how long,” because I do not think something happened since they were promised.

That’s where I am, between hope and despair. And meanwhile, everything in my life is going great. So good, that even with my boundless optimism, I am starting to worry about how long the universe is going to treat me so well. I thank the universe for everything every day, grateful that I am able to support so many people and causes, but how much I wish I would not have to support that cause!

I Can’t Stop Thinking About It

That is – about people in Russia who are not just silent but actively and voluntarily support the aggression. And I know that those of my friends who stay sane amongst this insanity are as horrified as me, only, unlike me, they have to live to face this insanity every day.

And once again, I can’t stop thinking about where I would be if… I recall the conversations I had with my friends sometime in 1980 or 81. I think I already mentioned that, and I want to repeat it again: at that time, most of us didn’t have good feelings toward Jews who were emigrating. We thought that they were cowards and wanted the easy life, and didn’t think about the consequences of their departure for those who stayed (the latter was true).

I was in love with L. (he liked me but didn’t love me and gently tried to push me away), and his family obtained the vise and were getting ready to go to Israel. L. didn’t want to go. He was eighteen and told us he would rather stay and go to Afghanistan than join the Israeli army.

I clearly remember that that’s what he said, and that’s what we all thought, and we hated his parents for not understanding such an obvious thing.

What was I thinking? What all of us were thinking? When I shared these horrific memories with Boris, he said that at least the Soviets didn’t launch missiles against Afghans. OK, they used other weapons. But that’s why I kept thinking: what was wrong with me? And those few Russian people who understand – I really admire them because I have no idea how they managed to stay human, and I am afraid I would not measure up if I were there.

There are people who understand that standing for your country’s independence is not an act of war and that Russia initiated the war, not the other way around, but there are so few of them!

That Is My Alma Mater. That WAS.

I am shocked by this news. I guess I should not be shocked because Boris told me multiple times about the situation at our university. The one that used to be THE University.

Hopefully, my non-Russian-speaking friends will use Google translate to read the article above in its entirety, but to give a quick summary, it tells about the hackathon, which was organized by Wagner with the goal of finding solutions for drones without GPS. The first-place winners are the students of Saint Petersburg State University, who previously graduated from one of the top specialized high schools (fortunately not my school, but that’s not a consolation).

And they are saying that it was fun to participate because it was an interesting problem to work on and whatever else…

Again, not like something unexpected, but truly disgusting.

And Let This Stay Here As Well

Also, I wanted to embed Putin’s address to the Russian people just so that it would sit here and be a reminder, but I didn’t come right away with any video with English subtitles, so I am leaving this link here.

One more thing I want next year to happen: I want this one to be the last Putin New Year address!!!

…and also, I want to be able to have the tag “ukraine” without the tag “war”.

In The Shadow Of The War

I know that it’s wrong to have your phone on your nightstand and check what has happened while you are asleep the moment you wake up. It might be wrong, but that’s what I do. Before February 22, I first checked whether there was an email from Boris, and starting from February 22, it was the BBC notifications… Last morning, I almost cried when I saw the notification about yet another missile strike. And I said it out loud, although nobody could hear me: they will pay for it. We will make them pay.

As much as I liked the December 26 Time magazine issue, all the articles, and all the photos, and as much as Ukraine is in the news every day, it can’t change the fact that the situation at the front is horrific. Every morning, I wake up hoping for a miracle. And every morning, it’s another missile strike. A miracle can’t help, and I know it. And I know that anti-missile weapons won’t appear miraculously, and I know that the troops need to be trained. Still, every morning…