Knitting for Peace & Democracy

Like many of you, the events of the last couple of weeks have left me shocked and worried.  I am happy to see the enormous outpouring of support for the Ukrainian people and the ideal of democracy.  I am appalled by the price the Ukrainian people are
paying to teach us  the importance of this lesson.

What does this have to do with knitting?

As a knitter, my first thought was to wonder if there was something I could knit to help. Historically, knitters have contributed in many ways in times of war.  Some of the items that I’m aware of knitters providing are:

  • socks
  • helmet liners
  • washcloths
  • blankets

Knitting for war isn’t exactly like normal knitting.  Some things, like helmet liners, have special considerations. It’s kind of horrifying, but I was told that if you’re going to knit helmet liners, they must be made out of wool ONLY.

Why?

Because synthetic fibers melt into the skin and make burns infinitely worse.

I was convinced.  Natural fibers only for me.  I realize
that’s not likely to be a problem for the average person.  I just can’t get the image out of my head.

What Can Knitters Do Today?

Ukraine has asked that people not send material goods to their people out of fear that the donations might be contaminated with toxins or contagions.  In the US, we are familiar with this tactic because it was used to spread small pox among the native Americans. It’s a legitimate fear.  Even goods that aren’t contaminated when they leave you can become contaminated.

So what’s a knitter to do?

1.  The Ukrainian government has asked people to send money to international aid organizations such as:

  • The International Red Cross
  • The Ukrainian Red Cross
  • People in Need
  • UNHCR
  • Doctors without Borders
  • UNICEF
  • OutRight International
  • and many, many more.

2.  We can also send money to individual Ukrainians by purchasing their digital products, including knitting patterns, from Etsy, Ravelry, and their personal websites.  This is similar to the people who are booking AirBnB stays and putting in the comments that they will not be showing up, it’s just a way to get some money to individual Ukrainians and their families.

3.  Other artists and designers are selling designs or
objects and donating the proceeds to Ukraine through organizations such as the ones listed above.  Most of these can be found on Etsy or Ravelry, too.

4.  You can donate knitted items to other needy people around the world.  Sadly, Putin’s war is not the only war going on.  Knit for Peace in the UK and Knitting 4 Peace in the US are accepting donations for people in need at home and abroad, except for
Ukraine.

Participate in Democracy

Putin’s war has shown us that power mad leaders – and there are far too many of them – will always target democracy.  But war is rarely their first way to attack democracy.  They want people to feel apathetic and helpless, or to feel like participating is too much trouble.  Democracy dies when we fail to participate.

Ukrainians have fought hard for their democracy.  They aren’t taking it for granted.  They remember what it’s like to live without a voice.  They know the only way to lose democracy is to give up.

We still have our voices.  Let’s honor Ukrainians by using our them.

Call or write your lawmakers frequently.  Make it a
habit to let them know what you think of what they’re doing or not doing.  Most of them have email forms on their websites.  What could be easier?

Vote in every election.  Don’t rely on others to “do
it for you,” or tell yourself “that it won’t make any
difference.”   If you want better choices on your ballot in November, you must vote in the primary elections!  (You can get a lot of knitting done while you’re waiting in line.)

Don’t be a doormat.  Don’t be silent.  Be a craftivist.
Wear your sunflower or pussy hats, perhaps made in blue & yellow.  (I’m pretty sure Putin hates pussy hats – ask Pussy Riot.)

Knit with compassion, knit from your heart, and act in whatever capacity you can.

May all who suffer find peace and freedom from suffering.

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