Opinion | The Heart-Rending Plight of the Ukrainian Refugees

David Beckam

To the Editor:

Re “Let’s Welcome Ukrainian Refugees,” by Ilya Somin (Opinion guest essay, March 9):

Of course we should open our doors to both Ukrainian refugees and Russians attempting to escape the brutal dictatorship of Vladimir Putin. About half of the more than two million Ukrainian refugees are children, brought out of Ukraine by mothers and grandmothers. Some have come alone with just a backpack and a telephone number of relatives written on their wrists. Fathers have stayed home to fight the Russians.

Imagine the terror and fear facing these children who have been ripped from their homes, their schools, their friends, not knowing where they might end up. And the plight of the Russian people who cannot stomach Mr. Putin and want to flee. They are protesting but face up to 15 years in prison for even calling the war a war.

We are one of the wealthiest nations on earth and stand for freedom, democracy and love. Americans now must open our doors to these refugees.

Henry A. Lowenstein
New York

To the Editor:

No families should ever have to flee from their homes, in fear of personal safety. Unfortunately, thousands of families in Ukraine are facing this dire situation today.

There is no excuse for what Vladimir Putin is doing: Despite repeatedly denying that he is targeting civilians, he has put countless nonmilitary lives in danger. As a 13-year-old girl, I could never imagine myself in such a situation.

I spend most of my time worried about my grades and how I look. My heart goes out to Ukrainian children and teenagers. Instead of being concerned about mundane issues such as grades and looks, they have to struggle to stay alive.

Even if this war may not be affecting many of us directly, we should all do our part to try to help the Ukrainian civilians in any way we can.

Haasini Venisetty
Troy, Mich.

To the Editor:

Re “At Pump, Drivers Ask, ‘Is This for Real?’” (Business, March 8):

With the Ukrainian people undergoing incredible suffering, losing their homes, their families, their homeland and their lives in many cases, it is hard to listen with sympathy to those complaining about higher gas prices. If that is the worst we face here, how lucky we are compared with them.

Yes, no doubt higher gas prices are a hardship to some, but which Ukrainians wouldn’t be happy to trade their sacrifices for ours!

Peter Kelvin
New York

To the Editor:

I went up to the attic looking for an old photo but couldn’t find it. Searching for that photo brought me face to face with my archives. Letters. Photos of me as a baby, my bar mitzvah and other milestone events. College and law school diplomas. Photos from my parents’ wedding.

I wonder what those fleeing Ukraine carry with them, knowing that there’s a distinct possibility that they’ll never return. They’ll grab a laptop, but what important connections to their former peaceful lives must they abandon? Pictures of parents, grandparents and other family members.

I don’t have to make those decisions. Millions of Ukrainians aren’t as fortunate.

Paul L. Newman
Merion Station, Pa.

To the Editor:

In addition to supporting all efforts toward a cease-fire and expanding humanitarian aid to Ukraine, Americans can show visible support by planting sunflowers, the Ukrainian national flower.

The sight of millions of sunflowers in flower beds, front lawns, municipal buildings, parks and other planting beds would remind everyone, every day, of what is at stake. Sunflowers also provide important food for birds, insects and other fellow inhabitants of our threatened planet.

Plant seeds of peace and beauty. Plant sunflowers.

Nancy Bekavac

To the Editor:

Re “For Art World, Politics of War Cause Distress” (front page, March 6):

While I understand that the 2022 Cliburn Competition, which is being held Fort Worth, Texas, wants to attract the most talented piano players from around the world, I was surprised and quite frankly shocked by its decision to accept auditions by contestants from Russia.

The Cliburn is one of the most prestigious piano competitions in the world. Europe is experiencing its biggest and most destructive war since World War II. We must all do whatever we can to send the strongest message to the Russian government. We all need to be willing to make a sacrifice.

We must stand with the heroic efforts of Ukraine’s military and its citizens that we are seeing daily. I strongly urge the Cliburn to reconsider, and I call on other patrons of the arts around the world to express their opinions.

David Levey
McKinney, Texas

To the Editor:

Re “Bill to Make Lynching a Hate Crime Is Unanimously Approved by the Senate” (news article, March 8):

So, on March 7, 2022, the U.S. Senate approved a bill that would make lynching a hate crime, 122 years after similar legislation was first introduced by a representative from North Carolina.

While this bipartisan measure is clearly a sign of progress, the century-plus intransigence of lawmakers over such a horrifying issue renders any celebration rather hollow, especially given the enthusiasm with which some states are passing legislation limiting the discussion of slavery and race in schools.

Robert Boyd
Staten Island

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