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Humor & Heroism In Volodymyr Zelensky

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The President that has inspired a nation and unified the world

Volodymyr Zelensky’s primary public beginnings are rooted in humor. This is represented in his earlier theatrical roles which provided the springboard for his audacious political engagements that finally saw him becoming president of Ukraine in 2019. He has since carried over his pluck on the stage and screen to the political arena where he is now a political David confronting a Goliath just across his border.

In the ongoing war with Russia, Zelensky inadvertently rings some of his public appearances and statements with his trademark humor while intending courage in the face of likely tragic consequences. He has since instilled his people with hope and courage in spite of clouds of fear that have gathered over Ukrainian skies. For instance, one of his most widely distributed comments in the ongoing war is one that trickles with heroism and defiance. Zelensky says: “I need ammunition, not a ride.”

But there are more undercurrents to that epigrammatic wisecrack. On deeper interrogation, he packs that riposte with sardonic humor. He seems to have asked his American benefactors: “why would you put me in a limousine when I need to be in an armored tank?” His instant reaction has its source in his earlier incarnation in comedy and theatre where witticisms are staples of the trade.

Elsewhere, Zelensky had said to his European brethren: “This might be the last time you will see me alive.”  This turned out to be ironic as he has gone on to make several public appearances ever since that address to the EU. That broadcast was intended to elicit an immediate response to his country’s impending tragedy, which is a noble intention. It called for immediacy by creating fear and stirring empathy in listeners. This is a dramatic device from a celebrated comedian and the world has since responded overwhelmingly. He has utilized the tools of his earlier life to his country’s benefit.

The president leaves his antagonist with a disarming error of judgment. After hinting at his own likely heroic demise, Zelensky has made sketch public appearances before ducking back into his wartime lair where he has taunted Russian firepower with his nation’s collective resistance and sheer will to survive in the face of daunting odds. Zelensky has since become a grandmaster of dramatic disappearing acts, his absolute subtlety a quandary for alleged Russian assassins. He sometimes employs the repetition of key words to create emphasis as in the following: “We’re all here. Our military is here. Citizens in society are here.”

The self-evident exhibition of humor is in Zelensky’s combat depictions. Even in his battle gear, the hero still wears a smirk! This will only further rile his neighbor across the border. But this humor is only a façade for the greater fear that resides in Volodymyr Zelensky and the entire world, where all genuine peace lovers desire a quick fix to this needless tragedy.

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Steve Ogah
Steve Ogah
Novelist, Poet & Essayist. Steve's the author of Barack Obama's Logic and the novels, Khaki Boy & Freedom Campus. https://okadabooks.com/book/about/freedom_campus/47797