Earlier last month, I was sitting in a bomb shelter in Kyiv with dozens of civilians as we were pounded by missiles. Putin intended his bombs to do more than punish. He wanted them to destroy the power grids and heating facilities that keep Ukraine warm during the nation’s brutal winters.
I direct a war crimes unit in Ukraine called The Reckoning Project. Our job is to gather human testimonies during wartime which we then verify, archive and build into cases for future war crimes tribunals. It matters to be on the right side of history — never more so than when it comes to the war in Ukraine.
With Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the choice is exceptionally clear because the situation is exceptionally clear: Vladimir Putin is targeting civilians. He has attacked women and children trapped in train stations; apartment buildings filled with families; shopping malls, hospitals, schools.
For once, most countries (and people) around the world have taken a strong and united stance against Putin. But in both politics and pop culture, dissenters abound.
Loudest among them is former Pink Floyd frontman Roger Waters, who — along with crafting some of rock’s most brilliant music — has backed not one, but two, murderous dictators: Putin and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. [Continue reading…]