“The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing.” Edmund Burke 1729–97
Tonight, will you join the ten-minute blackout for Ukraine at 7pm GMT to show solidarity with Ukraine? The Archbishop of York will be leading the way by turning off the lights at Bishopthorpe Palace, with households up and down the country following suit. Here in Wakefield, the council is discussing whether to turn the town hall lights out to join the protest, and elsewhere whole streets have organised their own blackouts.
How many conversations can we have these days without mentioning Brexit, Covid and now Ukraine? Too often we just do not know what to do to make the situation, or ourselves, feel better, more in control, or at least feel that we’re doing something.
Solidarity with Ukraine
This is for the people of Ukraine, for Putin to know we are resolute, and no less importantly, for the self-esteem of our own country. The call to action is for everyone to switch off all their lights for ten minutes, to send a message that will hopefully make a difference to how we are perceived and how we see ourselves.
At short notice that message may not circulate far, but it’s one that we’ll no doubt return to, just as we returned week after week to clap our support for the NHS and other covid heroes. Yes, many can do much more than this – collecting food and blankets, arranging paperwork and transport – all manner of things. And you can also donate to support the crisis response – whether through the International Rescue Committee, the Red Cross, or by supporting the Association of Ukrainians in Great Britain, who launched an appeal last week that has already raised almost £1m.
It is enabling for us to be able to do something too. For us to play our part in bringing comfort and support as we watch the pain and tragedy unfolding in Ukraine. This is a pivotal moment for the international community, as history is being written. What do we want it to say about us?