Kherson is Ukrainian again, democracies in the U.S. and Brazil survived a test — and there is also light at the end of the economic tunnel. This week’s news was good for us.
The images and videos that arrived yesterday from Kherson speak to the heart. Residents of the city in southern Ukraine are waving blue-yellow flags, cheering on soldiers and filming the historic moment with their cell phones. The city, which the Russians had seized soon after Vladimir Putin ordered the attack, is again under Ukrainian control. It is first and foremost good news for the population. The occupiers have withdrawn, apparently hastily, because they left behind boxes of weapons, ammunition and clothing.
The news also did us good here in the West. The war is depressing, not just for those directly affected by it but for all those who have not succumbed to Putin’s propaganda. And 2022 has already been a dismal year anyway. Food shortages are worsening in many African nations; inflation is hurting the poorest people of the world the most — and then there are the natural disasters resulting from global warming.
But not only Kherson has brought us good news this week. Midterm elections took place in what is still the most powerful country in the world. Many observers had expected the “Trumpists” to triumph in the U.S. — candidates who had campaigned on the lie that Trump had won the 2020 presidential election. But it turned out differently. The Republicans made gains, but it was the reasonable conservatives who stand firmly on the ground of democracy who gained strength, not the extremists and election deniers. It provided evidence that democracy can heal itself.
Brazil’s democracy is more fragile (and much younger). There, too, we had good news. The transition of power from Jair Bolsonaro to Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva seems to be working. There had been fears that there would be a “storming of the Capitol” in Brazil, an attempt to violently overturn the election results. It did not happen.
And then there was another positive note: Inflation in the U.S. has slowed significantly. The stock market is already rejoicing. One should be cautious about celebration; it often turns out to come too early. In Ukraine, too, the pendulum can still swing the other way. But still. With all the horror stories from this year, we’re allowed to be glad that this was a good week.