How Russia’s attack on Ukraine made me explore my privilege and shame

Published on 26 February 2022 at 19:03

Privilege explained in my own very basic language: Privilege is a right/steppingstone you have which helps you get further in life but you haven't earned it (by hard work). It might be because you inherited money or property. You can be privileged if you are considered to be good looking/pretty or if you are able bodied. These are just a few examples. There are many ways of being privileged.


It was 07.53 on Thursday morning when I opened my eyes and Google informed me that Russia had started its attacks on Ukraine.  I will not tell a lie.. I thought to myself:

"This is far away from my warm bed and pillow, does it really concern me?"

The reality is that Ukraine's Capital is a 3 hour flight away from the Netherlands. So, I am geographically further away from where my umbilical cord was buried in the ground when I was born than I am from Kyiv.


Let's explore my background for a bit.

Cause it makes me privileged in some ways.


I was born on a tiny island named Curacao, It is still (incorrectly) referred to as part of the Netherlands Antilles. But it's not. In 2010 this peace of paradise reclaimed "independency" from its colonizing fatherland, The Netherlands. I just gave you this brief history lesson, to explain that I am a Dutch citizen. The Dutch passport ranks as the 4th best passport in the world.


Because of where I am from, I was brought up in a thriving, stable country. A country that annually, come rain or shine, celebrates FREEDOM on the 5th of May. Freedom(day) is a big deal over here. And of course it is and should be! May we never forget the atrocities that happened in Europe (just) 77 years ago.


This brings us back to me and my musings this week. My selfish* thought made me feel so ashamed .

 This was not the first time I remember thinking and distancing myself from other people's suffering. I experienced this previously when I was faced with heart wrenching poverty on other occasions.


It might be a way to deal with life's difficulties and put them in a compartment of our mind to not have to deal with them.


If you recognize this in yourself too.. Do you! If that is what you need to do to get by today and protect your (mental)health and mental capacity. That's between you and... you.


I realized that even though there are times that my overactive mind needs the space of the above scenario, I find it not to be acceptable for me to stay safe and hidden because of this privilege at all times.

So, I  asked myself:  How does my privilege(s) make me immune, stand above and/or (consciously) blind to other people's suffering?And how can I come closer and dig deeper into what I am feeling, explore different narratives and change life's realities for others?


It is a process, I am still working on finding answers.

This blog might help you think  about your privilege(s) too. If you have any great ideas on how to use them for good..  Let me know!


*Reminder:  We can think, say or do things that are not nice or just plain awful and make us feel ashamed AND still allow ourselves space for grace and change. Because we are only HUMAN!!


PS: Not saying anything at this time feels ingenuine to what I am really feeling so FUCK Putin. I wish him the absolute ABSOLUTE!!! Worst.


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