As a couple who served with Mennonite Central Committee for five years in Vietnam during the American war there, our hearts break for the slaughter and devastation of the war in Ukraine. Having carried in our arms victims of that earlier war, we wince in our spirits on learning of the broken bodies of innocent civilians throughout Ukraine. Having flown in a transport plane with 14 body bags of dead American soldiers at our feet, we cringe in our souls on thinking of the young Ukrainian and Russian men slaughtered in battle, often conscripted against their will.
Let us rise as a church and call for peace. Surely, the leadership in Russia should be prosecuted for war crimes, even as American leadership during Vietnam should have been prosecuted likewise. And yet we need to find ways to stop the bloodshed. God, spare us the threatened escalation of sending more tanks and perhaps fighter planes to the battlefield. Let us find ways to talk.
In Vietnam, when we cried for peace, we were sometimes called communist sympathizers. Today, when we call for peace, some would call us Putin sympathizers. Not so. We are peace sympathizers. Let us find ways to talk.
Earl and Pat Hostetter Martin,