In the late sixties, I spent time in Ukraine and Crimea. Back then, the region was still part of the Soviet Empire, and I vividly remember my talks with local students, who were eager to define themselves as a separate entity in a kind of familial relationship with the Russians. This family relationship, even then, was strained. Things are much worse now.
The crisis, of course, is very complex. And there seem good arguments, as well as bad ones, on every side. But when politicians begin to ramp up their rhetoric, the irony in all of this becomes too much to ignore.
As a college teacher, I pay attention to the beginning of the school year. It always moves me to see the first year students arrive on campus, eager and tentative and wondering what their next four years will be like.
(Host) As Christmas arrives once again, writer, teacher and commentator Jay Parini remembers hearing the Christmas story read by his father, and he reflects on the meaning of this birthday, two thousand years ago, and its continuing resonance for more than two billion people around the world.