The Atlantic on Feb. 28, published an article entitled, What Volodymyr Zelensky’s Courage Says About the West, the article began:
A famous British newspaper cartoon called All Behind You, Winston from May 1940 shows Winston Churchill, Britain’s wartime leader, sleeves rolled up, face set to defiance, marching forward. Behind him swell the ranks of Britain’s leading political figures from all sides, including former Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain. All are marching with Churchill, rolling their sleeves, readying for battle. This is how the world feels about Volodymyr Zelensky: All Behind You, Volodymyr.
My question today is the same one: what does this say about the West? On May 10, 1940, Winston Churchill became Prime Minister. He was facing what seemed to be the only major power to stand up to the Nazis. No country sent direct military aid. Staring down the world and what looked at that time defeat, Churchill was able to rally his people behind him. When he met his Cabinet on May 13 he told them that “I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat.” He repeated that phrase later in the day when he asked the House of Commons for a vote of confidence in his new all-party government. The response of Labour was heart-warming; the Conservative reaction was luke-warm. They still really wanted Neville Chamberlain. For the first time, the people had hope but Churchill commented to General Ismay: “Poor people, poor people. They trust me, and I can give them nothing but disaster for quite a long time.”
Is not Volodymyr Zelensky doing the same? When offered a free ticket out of Ukraine, he asked for ammunations to fight. When asked to surrender, he told them to fight, fight, fight for a free Ukraine, a Ukraine that would not submit to Russian slavery.
Zelensky, without a doubt one of the least likely to become a world admired political leader for leading his country during these troubled times and standing up against Russia. Just like Churchill a little over eighty years ago, Zelensky's fate may be futile, but his leadership skills in the face of sheer defeat by an overwhelming force are amazing. Just like David when he took on Goliath, Zelensky has raised himself from being minor player in off off off Broadway play to a real leader of a country front and center at the biggest theater of them all- the world stage. With all of the eyes watching him, with Russian hit teams after him, and with the west not sure about what action to take to help, he stands resolute and unperturbed in his belief in himself and his country.
Not since the Maccabees has a leader taken on the fate of the world by standing up to such an overwhelming force. Zelensky may eventually go the route of King Leonidas I of Sparta and become a martyr or go the route of Churchill and become a world leader. No doubt, he is doing what all great leaders must do, rally their country around them. Unlike the western leaders who are weak and worried more about their political power than the fate of their country, Zelensky follows the words of 1 Maccabees 2:27:
Then Mattathias cried out in the city, “Let everyone who is zealous for the law and who stands by the covenant follow me!”