IN DEFENSE OF FREEDOM
From the orchestration of a phony election to the military occupation and overthrow of the Crimea, the Russians knew their superior arms and numbers of troops could overwhelm any resistance. They were wrong in the case of Ukrainian Air Force Colonel YuliyMamchur, commander of the Ukrainian Belbek Air Base.
One day after the sham election results were in, Russian forces already occupying the Crimea advanced on Belbek Air Base, surrounding the facility with overwhelming force. It was then that Colonel Mamchur walked to the base front gate and looked into the eyes of his Russian counterpart. “From yesterday, you are located on territory of a foreign state,” he was told by that Russian officer. “I’m giving you your chance to keep your honor as an officer.” ColonelMamchur did not waiver, responding, “I will stay.”
Then Russian forces overwhelmed the base, suppressed all resistance, and took prisoners. As the Russians approached in numbers too large to be opposed, Colonel Mamchur stood in front of his troops and led them in singing the Ukrainian national anthem, commencing with the words: “Ukraine’s glory and freedom are not yet dead.”
The Russians put Mamchurin detention, deprived him of food, kept him awake, and repeatedly demanded that he recant his military oath to the Ukraine and swear allegiance to Russia. He would not. After five days of torment yielding no change in Mamchur’s conviction to remain loyal to his country, the Russians released him. They could break his body but not his mind.
Returning to the capital of Kiev, Mamchur was greeted as a hero. One of the best pilots the Ukraine has ever produced, Mamchur so loved his country and freedom that he was able to trump Vladimir Putin’s jack booted thuggery.
Putin is wedded to the anachronistic philosophy of the tyrant, the idea that freedom is a sign of weakness; that victory is to the physically strong; and that evil if used to advance Putin’s own personal ambition must be redefined as good. Colonel Mamchur and his fellow officers understand the opposite to be true. They appreciate that while you may incarcerate, torture, and even kill the body, you cannot subjugate the mind; that a nation of slaves forced into labor will never achieve anything approaching the greatness of a nation of freemen exercising choice in a free market; and that dictators and oligarchs never outlast the universal yearnings of people to be free and inevitably collapse due to the natural and unremitting desire of people to decide their own destinies. Today free people the world over should be of one mind with Colonel Mamchur.
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