Notebook

What Do We Value?

In a column in last week’s Economist, Fr Andriy Zelinskyy, chief military chaplain for the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, writes openly about the atrocities and the absurdity of Russia’s war against Ukraine. Already before this phase of invasion began, he remarked: ‘The future depends on all of us. If we face it together, we will succeed. If not, the consequences will be serious, not only in Ukraine.’ Now he goes further, as he must: ‘This war is about more than politics and more than gas and oil. The nature of our humanity is at stake. The dreams the West harboured after the cold war ended led to a shift in global culture. Among the changes was a divorce between power and compassion. Governments forgot that the essential goal of all democratic institutions is to treasure human life. The importance of this point differed between countries, however. And at times commitment to it wavered in the face of political and economic concerns. The war in Ukraine uncovers a difficult question: “What do we really value?”’

Indeed.