OPTIONS FOR REBUILDING A WAR-TORN UKRAINE
“After the genocide,” said Rwandan architect Christian Benimana, in a recent New Yorker article, “the process of rebuilding was not optional.” What was different was his country’s desire to experiment and innovate. “We are able to dream things that are beyond what is imaginable, and then act on them, or at least try.”
In Rwanda, which relies on the export of produce, that meant developing a countrywide system of refrigeration centers, part of the so-called cold chain, which entailed research, training, and incubating new businesses.
For a country like Ukraine, which in the past six months has spent half its national revenues on war, restoration will require far more than rebuilding destroyed structures. Six million citizens have left the country, and leaders will have to lure them back.
Assuming a détente is or isn’t reached before the end of the year, how might Ukraine rebuild its population and maintain its cultural identity?
Suppose all Ukrainians — the six million who have left and the millions still in the country — were asked their preferences and insights? There might be some potential solutions, such as
Might Ukrainians be ceded a second homeland by a country like Canada or Australia, both founded and populated by immigrants?
Might the Hague International World Court require financial restitution from Russia for war crimes committed by that country against Ukrainians?
Might the world’s democratic nations and businesses impose a boycott against all Russian goods and services akin to the former boycott against South Africa?
Might Ukrainian immigrants — like Armenian, Jewish, and other refugees before them — become embedded in the nationality of their new countries without losing their original culture through the creation of a virtual Ukrainian world?
Or might the citizens of the democratic world take on the identity of Ukrainians the way JF Kennedy proclaimed during the Cold War in 1963, “Ich bin ein Berliner,” and announce, “We are all Ukrainians?”