Operator Starsky

Just over a month ago the Daily Maverick published a story I wrote about Kyiv. That text came straight from the heart. I received a lot of feedback from the article and it was quite touching. That text was also read by Operator Starsky in Ukraine and he shared the link with his YouTube community. Even more people read it after that and I now have a new online connection. Starsky is a hero and a very cool dude.

There were so many heart-warming comments posted on Starsky’s YouTube channel – I have cut and paste a handful of them here below:

Ukraine is going to be the place to be. You’ll see. Next year, full of tourists.

Kyiv will be even better once the war is over and the damage is rebuilt. I feel privileged to have visited it last year and I’ll visit it again in the future.

Beautiful article. It takes a long time to shake away the shackles of corruption but they are doing it right.

I lived in Kiev for 2 years, 2016-17, and loved it. For 6 months in that time, I was fortunate enough to live on Kreschatyk, my balcony being a spot to watch the busy street life of this beautiful city. My building was next to Maidan. Other side is the Kyiv Passage where they did Karaoke on Kreschatyk. Lived in some other apartments near Bessarabska Rynok on Darvina. Had my office on Bratska in Podil area. Would go out of my way walking there so I could enjoy my favorite street, Andrew’s Descent, a beautiful steep, winding collection of wonderful. The people were very friendly to me. English was commonplace. Food is amazing.

Kyiv was a city state when Moscow was a village.

Debora Patta from CBS interviewed Starksy at the start of the war. This is a must see.

“I Will Hold The Office of President Until we Win”- Zelensky on David Letterman’s Netflix Show

I loved this. I watched it twice, and I will watch it again soon. It is not easy to cover all the facets of this war in 45 minutes so I thought what was shared in this special program was just excellent, and soulful. Humanity, society, humour, unity, love, the city of Kyiv, culture, language … it was highly insightful. I know we will be back soon in magical Kyiv. By the spring.


ADT for missiles

Imagine you are told there is a man in your road going around from house to house with a gun. You have even met some of the victims and you have heard horrible stories of this beast. But no one stops this evil. And every other week a siren goes off warning the people in the neighbourhood that this bad man is on the prowl again that day. You hide, hoping that this evil doesn’t find you.

When missiles and bombs first fell on Ukraine at the start of this nightmare war you could say that a lot of people did not believe it was happening. I was one of them. I will never forget that early winter morning, being woken up with a shaking building and the sounds of bomb blasts and air raid sirens. And 9 months on, missiles are still being fired into Ukraine and now there are apps and social media saying things like “The missiles are expected to hit Kyiv in 30 minutes.” Just think about how insane this is. Everyone, and I mean everyone, knows it is happening. Everyone is seeing this evil unfold, and yet, it just doesn’t stop. Week after week. What kind of a world are we living in.

As my friend Craig said the other day, “They just give you enough weapons to stop the guy from doing too much damage but not stopping the guy.” America and the UK gave Ukraine assurances a long time ago (yesterday it marked 28 years). Give Ukraine the weapons they need to win this war soon. If Ukraine was kitted out to the max they would finish this war and would be doing the world a big service.

John Sung Kim: What Elon Musk and others in Silicon Valley get wrong about Ukraine

Xi Jinping will invade Taiwan within a few years. And Putin will then invade Moldova, then Georgia, then Serbia, and let’s not forget Kazakhstan, with some of the largest oil reserves of the post-Soviet states. 

North Korea, where my family is originally from, and many other countries, will scramble for nuclear weapons.

This is not a regional conflict.

The West promised Ukraine protection for giving up its nuclear arsenal in the 1990s. Europe made a bargain with Putin for cheap energy for nearly two decades. We’ve all played our part in giving rise to a tyrant who makes a Bond villain look second-rate.

And now we’re putting it all on the Ukrainians?

I know the wealthy have a lot to lose, but their children stand to inherit more than their parents’ money. They could end up living in a post-Putin world where everyone from rogue nations to gangsters can threaten to go nuclear. 

Now is the time to be brave.


The Power of Words

“Words, when said and articulated in the right way can change someone’s mind. They can alter someone’s belief. You have the power to bring someone from the slums of life and make a successful person out of them, or destroy someone’s happiness using only your words.

A simple choice of words can make a difference between someone accepting or denying your message. You can have a very beautiful thing to say, but say it in the wrong words … and … it is gone.”