Does National Sovereignty Even Matter Anymore?

by Janelle Schroy

Cyprus. Ukraine. Taiwan. Kids process the meaning of freedom and the international response to the crisis.

Here are my four daughters standing at the Green Line in Cyprus in the capitol city of Nicosia.

It’s the “cease fire line” that divides the island nation of Cyprus into two parts: the Cypriot part and the Turkish part.

It was established in 1964 when Major-General Peter Young was the commander of a “peace force” which later became the United Nations Peacekeeping Force.

The intention was to prevent further conflict between the invading Turks and the defending Cypriot nationals.

The Green Line is a lesson in national sovereignty.

When is it ok for one nation to start taking over another just because they want it?

As we drove through the desolate land in the UN Buffer Zone, bombed out buildings surrounded us and not a living soul was in sight–other than soldiers with machine guns who were quietly watching us pass by, unsmiling.

Without any prompting, the girls quickly saw the parallels to the war in Ukraine and the Russian invasion.

Is this what could happen when a ceasefire is called in Ukraine? The UN draws a line and Russia gets to keep part of Ukraine’s sovereign land?

The bully just — wins?!

But lest we get too cocky in our assumptions of innocence, we had to remember that Hawai’i is our family’s home when we aren’t traveling.

Is this not the same thing that the United States did to our beautiful Hawaiian islands not so very long ago?

The US thought the position of the Hawaiian Islands was advantageous to geopolitics, and in America waltzed and took over the islands, converting it all to American standards and wiping out much of the beautiful Hawaiian culture.

Is that not what the European colonists (our forefathers) did to the wonderful native Americans when the “New World” was found?

A formerly Greek Orthodox church, now turned into a Mosque. Midday prayers in full swing.
Reagan (age 11) watching the midday prayers in the church turned mosque.

We forget so easily.

No one is innocent.

No, not one.

Taking over someone else’s sovereign nation is not ok, and never will be. Taking over someone’s possessions in the name of personal gain of strategic position doesn’t make it right.

This is the lesson of the day.

Turkish occupied land in Northern Cyprus. Famagusta.
Cyprus just below the Green Line, Greek culture proudly displayed.

So what does that mean for the next generation of global citizens, these precious faces who now face the world before them, willing, able, and ready to make the world BETTER, KINDER, and more THOUGHTFUL?

Let’s walk the line: What role do we play as their parents, leaders, teachers, mentors and coaches in this moment in history?

We’d love to hear your thoughts. How are YOU processing these things with your family?

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