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Bloody Nose

My dad comes rushing into the hallway where my sister and I are yelling at each other.  We were teenagers and constantly arguing, but this time we were especially loud.  "What happened?" my dad asked.  Holding my nose I pointed to my sister Terri and said accusingly, "I have a bloody nose and it's ALL her fault!"  "She ran into me."  Terri explained.  I was incredulous.  "I only took ONE step toward her," I retorted.  Terri continued, "And I lifted my hand to keep Vicki from hurting me."  Now I was indignant.  "She raised her fist and shoved it into my face."  Terri whimpered and said, "I was only trying to protect myself.  It wasn't my fault.  She ran into it."  

We continued to point fingers at each other accusing the other of causing the "fight."  My dad listened to two stories explaining the altercation and the reasons leading up to it.  Then he said we were both at fault and would BOTH lose privileges.  I objected because I was the injured party and shouldn't be punished.  He said I was older and should have acted more maturely.  He was more concerned about acting responsibly than who was right or wrong.  That day I was introduced to the concept that "being right" didn't insure justice.  It's a truth that has been reinforced many times through the years.

It's been years since that incident and I still remember my bloody nose.  What I don't remember was, why were we fighting?  I only remember I was "in the right" and I was the one who suffered.  Since then, Terri and I have grown up and are the best of friends.  Today we laugh about what happened and how immature we both acted.

Arguments, fights, altercations and wars occur for various reasons.  Injustices may be the catalyst of decisive action designed to pressure a party to accede to certain demands.  Such is the case we are witnessing between Russia and the Ukraine.  Our compassion causes us to sympathize with those who are suffering.  Stories of senseless civilian deaths horrify us.  But the ripples of war touch far more than the ones we see in the news.  Fear and hardships associated with an uncertain future grip not just people in the Ukraine, but also the Russians, Europeans, Asians and Americans.  We are all affected.  Consequently, we're asking how will this end?  Perhaps an historical perspective will give us some insight into how to end this conflict.  What historical context lays the framework of this situation?  Our investigation has become problematic in that we're uncovering conflicting stories.  An explanation of this discrepancy is that history is written by the victors and slanted to present themselves in a favorable light.  This also results in undesirable information pertaining to the victors to be lost in the process. 

History, though intended to be unbiased, must be read in that light.  Just like my story of how I got a bloody nose was different from my sister's, so history can be looked at from different points-of-view.  We need to ask ourselves, who's writing today's history and who are we listening to?  Are we to believe the devil resides within the walls of the Kremlin?  Does propaganda flow only one way?  Can two seemingly opposite descriptions of an altercation be true?  Is justice at odds with truth?  What stories haven't we heard?  What do we know and is that all we need to know?  What's true and what's false?  What is a half-truth?  Who's right and who's wrong?  Who's suffering persecution?  Who needs to be freed?  Who's meting out justice?  Who's suffering from a bloody nose?  The truth is we all end up with a bloody nose!