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Where was the outpouring of empathy when my country was at war?

Sethrak

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Tatev Hovhannisyan

Tatev Hovhannisyan is Europe and Eurasia Editor on openDemocracy’s Tracking the Backlash project. For ten years she has worked in Armenian leading media outlets, six of them as an editor. She is passionate about producing ambitious journalistic pieces and putting women’s rights on the front page. Follow her on Twitter: @

As an Armenian, I experienced two huge wars – the first Nagorno-Karabakh War (1988-1994) and the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war. Now in my 30s, I still live in a country where people are praying every night not to receive word about a new war and casualties in the morning.

Unfortunately, this morning, we received exactly that. This time, the war is not in Armenia, but in Ukraine.

Ukraine is not far from my country, but this doesn’t change my reaction to it. Ukraine could be in Antarctica and I would still feel the same sharp emotion – like my heart is being squeezed and I want to scream ‘stop’.

From empathy into heartlessness
As soon as I got the news, I put myself in the shoes of every Ukrainian. I really felt for them. I imagined young people in love, with big plans for the future or for their wedding day, who will not live to see them happen. It is heartbreaking.











https://www.opendemo...re-was-empathy/
complete written article above by Tatav
 

biro

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First you thank us for praying for Ukraine.

Then you mock us for not praying for Armenia sooner.

Prayer is prayer. A country is a country.

Maybe if you thought about that instead of calling attention to the past which no one can change, I’d have more empathy.
 

Opus118

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First you thank us for praying for Ukraine.

Then you mock us for not praying for Armenia sooner.

Prayer is prayer. A country is a country.

Maybe if you thought about that instead of calling attention to the past which no one can change, I’d have more empathy.
Dear Biro (and I sincerely mean the Dear part), Sethrak posted a notice by someone else that is worthy of our reflection and it is not directed against this website, but the world at large. Armenia is a much smaller country. Their voice is small. Many in this world do not know they exist. But we are the ones who should magnify their voice in some way.
 

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I think about this too. This morning I was looking over an old prayer list and it has Yemen. For those starving in Yemen, Lord have mercy. There are so many hurting all over the world. It seems the news sets it's own priority and the people follow in line. The news outlets play the flute and the people dance. This happens not just with wars but natural disasters as well. The places which may impact global finance seems to get most news coverage.
There's an agenda. It's not simply that people are suffering. Their suffering is often used as a political weapon to gain a domino affect of outcry from the masses to achieve the goals of a handful of powerful players. We would be wise not to place ourselves in the hands of the puppet masters in our responses to colorful news coverage.
We pray when we hear of our dear brothers and sisters all over the world who suffer.

Quiet my spirit Lord and teach me to pray fervently and without ceasing for the whole world, especially the forgotten ones, the weak, the poor, the starving. And Lord, we love your coming back. We seek you. We hunger for you. Come Lord Jesus. Come quickly.
 

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Dear Biro (and I sincerely mean the Dear part), Sethrak posted a notice by someone else that is worthy of our reflection and it is not directed against this website, but the world at large. Armenia is a much smaller country. Their voice is small. Many in this world do not know they exist. But we are the ones who should magnify their voice in some way.
I am very thankful that when I was working on my M.Div degree four decades ago one of my classmates was second generation Armenian-American.

He did an excellent job of unrelentingly placing before the seminary community the many sufferings of the Armenian people and, in particular, of their Christians
 

biro

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Opus, and others,

Thank you. I will strive to remember.
 
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A good article. The answer is simple. When a country becomes important, in regards to near-term goals, to certain governments, politicians, and/or intelligence agencies, then that country will be deemed "important". When a country is no longer useful, it is kicked to the curb. This correlates to public sentiment in various ways.
 

LizaSymonenko

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Ukraine has been fighting for centuries. The world believed the Russian Propaganda in 1932-33 when 11 million people of Ukraine were painfully starved to death. Nobody came to their rescue. Nobody cared... nobody knew... because it was covered up.

8 years ago, Russia annexed Crimea, and started bombing the eastern border of Ukraine... and still... nobody cared. A country that had signed a piece of paper promising to safeguard the integrity of the borders of Ukraine, was now the one breeching those very borders... and nobody cared.

Ukraine is no more valuable today, than it was 8 years ago. It had rich top soil then and now. It had access to the Mediterranean through the Black Sea then as it does now. It was a buffer zone between Europe, between NATO countries, and Russia... then as it is now.

What has changed... is the social media. People in Ukraine are actually sending photos and videos of what is occurring... the world is not only seeing the Russian version of things, but, how things are really playing out.

Ukraine is a democratic, independent nation, much like any nation in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, etc... and suddenly they are being invaded, just like that.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, BBCNews, MSN, CNN, FoxNews, AP News, NBC, ABC, etc... are all able to freely show what is happening on the ground.

That is the difference. There is no whitewashing. Russia cannot lie like it did before, claiming that the attacking forces were not their own... when now there exists evidence of exactly who is doing the shooting, the looting, the killing.

It is sad that historic atrocities committed in Armenia, Yemen, Ukraine, etc. had not been publicized... but, thank God they are today... so that perhaps we can finally take a stand against tyranny... as a world... we can stop the evil.

...because if we do not... other super powers are watching... and if they see that Russia can get away with it... they will be the next ones to attack their neighbors and do the same... and then we will all be in a bad place.

Stop evil, before it proliferates.
 

Tzimis

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Honestly, what we pray for tends to correlate to what is most portrayed in the media (which is what is presented by largely godless people).
Regardless for religious affiliation.
Most people have a yearning for freedom in their nature. What is orthodoxy, if it isn't the most complete form of freedom?
 

Dominika

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Frankly, I feel you, a lot.
Poland has got crazy about the current situation, despite last years we had flood of Ukrainian immigrants (about 2 millions), low-educated (earlier Ukrainians that had coming there it had been different level). But that's not the point. The point is that they have already caused some problems in the Polish Orthodox Church and are one of the reasons of crisis (together with covid restrictions and other stuff, I suppose) in our job market. There are many Ukrainain hooligans. And now... Now any Ukrainain can enter Poland, papers are given for free, public transport for Ukrainians is for free, covid for them has disapperaed.... They are given 120 hospitals, meanwile before one week for Polish citizens, that pay in obligatory way every month for the health public resort, couldn't enter hospitals, as there are covid resctions and logn queues to doctors... Moreover, among the refugees (already abotu 300 000) there are many illegal immigrants from other countries.

Meanwhile:
1. My boyfriend, being Lebanese, can't enter Poland even for one week, even with help of Church and friend of one of our ministers.

2. I remember very well 90s and especially 1999, when NATO was bombarding Serbia. Serbs couldn't leave Serbia, as Seribna passport was invalid for other countries. Serbs were presented in media as barbarians (and me, being a child, caused it a lot of problems from other children), sanctions were against usual people, my grandfather as I was said died because of ehart problems during bombarding, meanwhiela s for grandma, there was no possiblity to take her out from this hell. Another part of family almost lost their house, as bombs were falling next to the river in our native town. The bombs were probably with some chemic stuff, as after this the number of cancer grew up. And it was also during the Great Lent, March.

Of course, I'm sorry for Ukrainians, I like this culture and language, my prayers are with them. But franky Poland is in big danger and I miss this equality.. Not mentioning other conflicts (bombardments in Syria, internal war in Ethiopia...)
 

Opus118

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When a country becomes important, in regards to near-term goals, to certain governments, politicians, and/or intelligence agencies, then that country will be deemed "important". When a country is no longer useful, it is kicked to the curb. This correlates to public sentiment in various ways.
I do not believe this.
 

Opus118

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Honestly, what we pray for tends to correlate to what is most portrayed in the media (which is what is presented by largely godless people).
This is a remarkable and disturbing statement. Who are Godless? Who are you to state such a thing?
 

Opus118

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Frankly, I feel you, a lot.
Poland has got crazy about the current situation, despite last years we had flood of Ukrainian immigrants (about 2 millions), low-educated (earlier Ukrainians that had coming there it had been different level). But that's not the point. The point is that they have already caused some problems in the Polish Orthodox Church and are one of the reasons of crisis (together with covid restrictions and other stuff, I suppose) in our job market. There are many Ukrainain hooligans. And now... Now any Ukrainain can enter Poland, papers are given for free, public transport for Ukrainians is for free, covid for them has disapperaed.... They are given 120 hospitals, meanwile before one week for Polish citizens, that pay in obligatory way every month for the health public resort, couldn't enter hospitals, as there are covid resctions and logn queues to doctors... Moreover, among the refugees (already abotu 300 000) there are many illegal immigrants from other countries.

Meanwhile:
1. My boyfriend, being Lebanese, can't enter Poland even for one week, even with help of Church and friend of one of our ministers.

2. I remember very well 90s and especially 1999, when NATO was bombarding Serbia. Serbs couldn't leave Serbia, as Seribna passport was invalid for other countries. Serbs were presented in media as barbarians (and me, being a child, caused it a lot of problems from other children), sanctions were against usual people, my grandfather as I was said died because of ehart problems during bombarding, meanwhiela s for grandma, there was no possiblity to take her out from this hell. Another part of family almost lost their house, as bombs were falling next to the river in our native town. The bombs were probably with some chemic stuff, as after this the number of cancer grew up. And it was also during the Great Lent, March.

Of course, I'm sorry for Ukrainians, I like this culture and language, my prayers are with them. But franky Poland is in big danger and I miss this equality.. Not mentioning other conflicts (bombardments in Syria, internal war in Ethiopia...)
I think what Poland is doing right now is incredibly beautiful/wonderful. That is the take home lesson. Don't confuse the current situation with past events. It is past. Cherish what Poland is doing now and rejoice.
 

Sethrak

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First you thank us for praying for Ukraine.

Then you mock us for not praying for Armenia sooner.

Prayer is prayer. A country is a country.

Maybe if you thought about that instead of calling attention to the past which no one can change, I’d have more empathy.
Greetings Biro, As Opus pointed out: I wanted you to see and read the article, I'm very happy with the attention Ukraine is getting ~ they have been through years of pain and suffering and now more is on the way. Bless you for your praryers
 

Sethrak

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Ukraine has been fighting for centuries. The world believed the Russian Propaganda in 1932-33 when 11 million people of Ukraine were painfully starved to death. Nobody came to their rescue. Nobody cared... nobody knew... because it was covered up.

8 years ago, Russia annexed Crimea, and started bombing the eastern border of Ukraine... and still... nobody cared. A country that had signed a piece of paper promising to safeguard the integrity of the borders of Ukraine, was now the one breeching those very borders... and nobody cared.

Ukraine is no more valuable today, than it was 8 years ago. It had rich top soil then and now. It had access to the Mediterranean through the Black Sea then as it does now. It was a buffer zone between Europe, between NATO countries, and Russia... then as it is now.

What has changed... is the social media. People in Ukraine are actually sending photos and videos of what is occurring... the world is not only seeing the Russian version of things, but, how things are really playing out.

Ukraine is a democratic, independent nation, much like any nation in Europe, the US, Canada, Australia, etc... and suddenly they are being invaded, just like that.

Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, BBCNews, MSN, CNN, FoxNews, AP News, NBC, ABC, etc... are all able to freely show what is happening on the ground.

That is the difference. There is no whitewashing. Russia cannot lie like it did before, claiming that the attacking forces were not their own... when now there exists evidence of exactly who is doing the shooting, the looting, the killing.

It is sad that historic atrocities committed in Armenia, Yemen, Ukraine, etc. had not been publicized... but, thank God they are today... so that perhaps we can finally take a stand against tyranny... as a world... we can stop the evil.

...because if we do not... other super powers are watching... and if they see that Russia can get away with it... they will be the next ones to attack their neighbors and do the same... and then we will all be in a bad place.

Stop evil, before it proliferates.
Hi Liza,,I I Know and have read of the terrible things suffered by the People in Ukraine < Forgive me I was just posting an article by this girl.
 

Dominika

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I think what Poland is doing right now is incredibly beautiful/wonderful. That is the take home lesson. Don't confuse the current situation with past events. It is past. Cherish what Poland is doing now and rejoice.
It's not a past.

Today phone to my father, that he has invalid ID number. ANd he has been living there for 30 yeras, never had problems. Plus that he is in the system as Yugoslavian, and there is no such country anymore. Total mess, and suddenly, now, in this situation.. So strange. Since he barely moves, my mother is supposed to go to the proper Institution and make clear all the situation.
 

LizaSymonenko

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It's not a past.

Today phone to my father, that he has invalid ID number. ANd he has been living there for 30 yeras, never had problems. Plus that he is in the system as Yugoslavian, and there is no such country anymore. Total mess, and suddenly, now, in this situation.. So strange. Since he barely moves, my mother is supposed to go to the proper Institution and make clear all the situation.
So it sounds like Poland has some internal administrative issues to work out.

And I apologize for the resident Ukrainian immigrants who have been causing strife…however, I am grateful to Poland that they are relaxing restrictions for people who running for their lives. Mothers and children fleeing exploding bombs.

Not all Ukrainians are “good” by default… but at the moment, those who are escaping the bombings should be given a chance to live. Im certain that the majority will return to Ukraine when the war ends.
 

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8 years ago, Russia annexed Crimea, and started bombing the eastern border of Ukraine... and still... nobody cared.
The only way to make a major difference would be to bring a battle group and cooperate with the military of the sovereign (Ukraine or Armenia). Because of the reduced liberty available in a dechristianized and migration-struck Europe, this is very impossible. In some countries, you are not even allowed to posses anti-aircraft missiles, or to organize your own militia.

Consequently, all defence has been organized by the sovereigns and volunteers have traveled to The Ukraine from all over Europe to participate, fist in the Azov Battalion (yes we disagree with their ideological foundation), which is at the moment trying to defend Mariupol, but now also to the Foreign Corps, newly started by the government, in which 400 Swedes, 300 Dutch and lots of people from other countries have already enlisted. They will not be fighting with their own weapons and under their own leaders, as would be desired, but under whatever commanders they are assigned and with whatever weapon systems they are assigned, if there are some in stock. To me, this looks like Care.

I i r c, this would have been even more difficult in Armenia, since, unless media made this one up, there was a tiff between Armenia and Georgia, so Georgia wouldn't let foreign fighters through.

There is a large Armenian diaspora in Sweden. They held a demonstration where they drove extremely slow, blocking one of Sweden's two main highways (speed limit 220 km/h). The fettered support for Armenia, as it came across on the largest web forum, turned into a discussion of which side to support after that event. Hard-working people were furious.

(now quoting someone else: )
Hovhannisyan said:
The world was not supporting us. It was just watching our pain in silence.
Such is the world. Be not part of it.

Hovhannisyan said:
Please, spare me explanations about the differences between wars.
In the middle of an article about the differences between two wars, the author states that she wishes to remain fully ignorant of the differences between wars, yet to proceed to teach us about them. If you pardon my scant knowledge of English, that's what is called "ineptitude", isn't it?

That said, I think the question in the headline is worthy of much reflection. I still haven't figured out who is fighting against who, or why.
 

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"We are wondering, why were Ukrainians welcome in all countries while we, Syrian refugees, are still in tents and remain under the snow, facing death, and no one is looking to us?"
 

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"We are wondering, why were Ukrainians welcome in all countries while we, Syrian refugees, are still in tents and remain under the snow, facing death, and no one is looking to us?"
This is all true and despicable and probably racist, although I wouldn't classify Syrians different from Europeans.

I would appreciate this if you read this
and this
and report back as to how this was not a major factor. If your can rationalize supporting Assad, we live on a different planet.
 

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Thank you. I just provided the Reuters article because it was similiar to the original thought of this thread.
My personal opinion about the neighbors of Ukraine accommodating refugees is that the extension of help to the Ukranians is similiar to giving your sister and her kids a place to crash while shes in the middle of a fight with her boyfriend but on monday shes going to file a restraining order and move back to her home and get him kicked out. Whereas the other situation is complete strangers who speak another language, eat different food, have different cultural rituals, and possibly different religious beliefs- knocking on your door and saying, " take all of us in and feed, clothe, educate, nurse us to health, build us religious centers, and give us your jobs. We are comfortable here and we want to stay" I'm not saying we should or should not do any of this. But one situation seems temporary with Ukrainians wanting to go back home. The other situation is the same as we have at the southern border of the US.
We are given an example of how to live by the parable of the Good Samaritan...

Lord have mercy and forgive us our sins and our selfishness with the gifts which you have blessed us with. Teach us your ways Lord. Lead us each day in Love and Truth and Light. Come Lord Jesus!
 

Opus118

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I apologize Stinky. You were rightly on topic and I reacted without thinking (it happens). In regard to " I'm not saying we should or should not do any of this. " I am on the should side and follow it.

Opus 118
Thank you. I just provided the Reuters article because it was similiar to the original thought of this thread.
My personal opinion about the neighbors of Ukraine accommodating refugees is that the extension of help to the Ukranians is similiar to giving your sister and her kids a place to crash while shes in the middle of a fight with her boyfriend but on monday shes going to file a restraining order and move back to her home and get him kicked out. Whereas the other situation is complete strangers who speak another language, eat different food, have different cultural rituals, and possibly different religious beliefs- knocking on your door and saying, " take all of us in and feed, clothe, educate, nurse us to health, build us religious centers, and give us your jobs. We are comfortable here and we want to stay" I'm not saying we should or should not do any of this. But one situation seems temporary with Ukrainians wanting to go back home. The other situation is the same as we have at the southern border of the US.
We are given an example of how to live by the parable of the Good Samaritan...

Lord have mercy and forgive us our sins and our selfishness with the gifts which you have blessed us with. Teach us your ways Lord. Lead us each day in Love and Truth and Light. Come Lord Jesus!
 

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I apologize Stinky. You were rightly on topic and I reacted without thinking (it happens). In regard to " I'm not saying we should or should not do any of this. " I am on the should side and follow it.
Yes, we are given the example of our Lord: compassion.
I refrain from saying one specific way is best for all people in response to all crisis/war/atrocities/ refugees. May the Lord grant wisdom. May we take care of the need in our own families, neighborhoods, countries, and also in extension to all in the world. May love and compassion be our everyday response to those all around us. May that be the standard. May all people all over the world fleeing for their lives find shelter and safety as our Lord fled to Egypt and is our example...
I should do more. I should be generous. I should share. I should volunteer at our southern border. I should lay down my life for my brethren. I should do this yesterday, today, tomorrow, not just right now.
I have worked for the U.N. in refugee camps. I have seen things I cannot forget. I hate discrimination. I have seen the homeless and poor treated with contempt. I have been homeless. I have lived in a country which persecuted me and threatened me and my family because of religious beliefs. I'm always on the side of the persecuted. Lord, have mercy on all who cry, who fear, who are abandoned. Jesus, Come Quickly!
 

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I wouldn't classify Syrians different from Europeans.
There are certainly people who would, though. I knew a handful who spiritualized languages. Hebrew as holy, Arabic as evil, English as default. Ignorance and pride make an ugly mix, but we're all guilty there in some way or another.
 

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How about you look in an atlas? The border between Europe and Asia goes through the Bosporus. Syria is firmly on the Asian side. Ukraine is firmly on the European side.

The article by Reuters is extremely biased. Some governments have preferred to keep receiving missionaries and migrants from the Middle East, and initially announced that they wouldn't accept refugees from The Ukraine. They pass over everything which doesn't fit their narrative with silence.

Until February 22 (when they were arrested), I had a shorter drive to the nearest IS office than to any Orthodox church. Would it be racist of me to favour Orthodox migrants in order to have a parish in my home town, over jihadists?

Maybe we can get back to the subject of the thread as I don't want to lose my head over this.
 

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I suspect all news and all information is biased and tainted whether it is coming from secular news agencies or from the various jurisdictions of the Orthodox church. I believe no one. Even eerie silence communicates volumes. I don't really know who or what to believe in this schism. It seems politics and world powers are playing the greater part. There are innocent Orthodox people in Ukraine and Russia and Greece and Africa and all over the world. I don't know enough to sort through all this. I'm going to back off and sit back, watch and pray, guard my heart from hate, and keep empathy for all mankind. I pray God grant me His grace and right response when faced with the decisions to show empathy to anyone in my path. I judge nobody. I hate nobody. Pray for me. I pray for you all.
 
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