by Natascha Janssen:

My mother was born in the Soviet Union, in Ukraine, where my sizable family is a mix of Russians and Ukrainians. I therefore feel compelled to give my view on developments in Ukraine.

With my Russian/Ukrainian roots I love both peoples dearly, for centuries brother peoples who mixed with each other. If you asked my Ukrainian-born mother if she felt more Russian than Ukrainian, she replied, ‘That’s a weird question that I don’t have an answer for. There is difference in our language, our music and dancing but our hearts are one…’

And that’s how I was raised and for 40 years I experienced the most beautiful holidays of my life, in love and togetherness, in Russia and Ukraine, in the Soviet Union.

Nice that everyone in the Netherlands is now speaking out against waging war, who is in favor of that?

But why only now? Why was everyone silent when that war started 8 years ago?

Why was everyone silent about the massacre of thousands of civilians in Eastern Ukraine?

Why was everyone silent about Ukraine’s non-compliance with the Minsk agreements and now uses the word rule of law.

Where was everyone who looked away when 52 people were burned alive in Odessa.

Where was everyone who thought it was fine that in 2014 an elected government in a major European country was overthrown and a bunch of neo-Nazis seized power.

Where was everyone when the Ukrainian regime deprived the Russian Ukrainians of their basic human rights: Speaking Russian was banned, the right to pensions disappeared for Russian speakers and children who spoke Russian and had Russian names were no longer welcome at school.

When torchlight marches were organized by neo-Nazis with slogans like ‘Russians on the gas’…

And finally, where was everyone who was silent when large parts of this beautiful country, once the breadbasket of Europe, were sold for an apple and an egg to banks and investors for exploitation for genetic manipulations of Monsanto and the cruelest mega factory farms in Europe.

My cousin in Ukraine saw such a mega stable appear in front of her house. The screams and screams of those piled up animals, and then those great ominous silences… Mind you: in Ukraine there was only a small-scale cattle ranching, before the land came into the possession of western grazers.

Ukraine has become a western province for 8 years now. A colony. And all this at the expense of people, animals, nature and the environment.

So why only now, that compassion for the people, that anger against the war? The Ukrainian population has been at war for 8 years, hundreds of thousands of Ukrainians have already fled to Russia. So are my relatives, such as my niece and her family.

Of course I know that most people have no idea about this side of the story because our news supply gives a one-sided picture of the situation.

I am now providing that information from the other side.

Do what you want with it, but silence is no longer an option for me.

Furthermore, I can only hope that peace will come soon for ALL Ukrainians, Russian and Ukrainian speakers.

Finally: I was a member of the Party for the Animals for 14 years.

With a heavy heart and a great illusion poorer, I have just canceled my membership of the party.

I joined because of the view that the interests of people, animals, nature and the environment always prevail over the pursuit of profit through the exploitation of people, animals and nature.

Unfortunately, in the last 8 years I have heard little or no word about the violations of human, animal and nature rights in Ukraine.

Therefore I have no choice but to withdraw myself, if I still want to be able to look myself straight in the mirror. And I don’t want to wrong my deceased mother posthumously.

After all, from her I learned everything about respect for every person, regardless of his origin, and respect and love for animals and nature.