Obvious but important preamble: this post is, as always, a personal opinion that does not represent my employer’s (current, past, or future) nor any of the FLOSS projects I collaborate with (current, past, or future.)
Some time ago, I said I sympathise with folks saying «My country is on fire, I don’t have time to talk about tech» while being annoyed at US Americans trying to push the narrative that nobody should be talking about tech while their country is on fire. Little did I know I would have to use that line myself soon(ish).
Before panicking everyone in Italy, no — my country is technically not non fire right now. Besides the continuous back and forth of politicians, and the fact that one of the most visibly capable politicians in reaction to the Covid emergency being a anti-LGBT right-winger, the situation in Italy has been relatively stable over the past few years, if nothing else because nobody seems to be able to form a stronger coalition one way or another.
But Ukraine was invaded by Russia, and I have a close connection to the country, both through family and friends: some of them are currently trying to escape the shelling, some of them are going back to bring food and medicines, some of them decided to go back home and fight. I have no useful combat experience and a health condition that would turn me into a liability, so I’m staying back here, while I work to keep communication tools reliable and safe.
So this week you won’t find much in terms of technical content from me. Not that I haven’t seen a few technical bad takes that could use some discussion, but I’m a purveyor of mild takes, not hot takes, so I would leave them for later. Given some of the technical takes I’ve seen, I wish more people did that, but honestly I always do when the hot take brigade is out there.
Please you all be mindful, that the world is a horrific place, and that even though your life may be going on just as normal, you have no way to know for sure how this is impacting the people you work and collaborate with — you likely don’t know the composition of the social circles and families of the people you only work with online, and that means people you might not have thought affected, are — and it is human nature to feel closer to one’s soul the suffering of the people you know.
Since I’m not Ukrainian myself, and I’m not involved directly in the support efforts, I’m not going to be the one providing you with a list of organizations taking donations — I’ll leave that to the Ukrainian Institute London which I have been suggested by multiple acquaintances. Right now, they are more likely to need your help than most of the tech organizations out there.
I also want to spend a word for my Russian friends as well — because if my family and social circles are this complicated, I can only imagine for those who actually lived in the Soviet Union. What is clear in my mind is that this war was waged by the Russian Government — not by the Russian People: the protests, that are being driven down by force, are a testament to that. That does not mean that there are no supporters of Putin and his Government in the country (or among the expats, and even in the tech circles) that support this war, but that you can’t just assume that they do simply because they are Russian — and even more so do not assume they are Russian just because they are speaking Russian!
With this said, let me leave you with what my social media guidelines will be, personally. First of all, as it should be clear above, I don’t have the luxury of being a neutral bystander in a “situation” — anyone calling me to do that will be muted or blocked. There won’t be a chance to mute, discuss, or redeem for anyone suggesting they wish Ukraine to lose, either — as I said I’m not neutral: I’m hoping for the loss of lives to be minimised, but in doing so for Ukraine to be a more stable, self-sufficient country.
But at the same time, there’s something important to take into consideration: the fact that I believe Putin to be on the wrong side of history does not mean that everyone that is ready to oppose him is on the right side of it — the world is only divided in right and wrong in the words of those that seek to use people, in my experience. This means that while I do support my Ukrainian friends and the struggle of the Ukrainian nation, that does not justify horrible takes and bad ideas just because. So for instance cryptocurrency shills are getting the block on sight, even when they are in Ukraine.