Some of our journalistic brethren got themselves worked up into a foamy lather over comments Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko made at the 2015 Paris Climate Conference.
Poroshenko tweeted on Nov 30, 2015: "The terrible events that France experienced this tragic November are a daily reality for Ukraine for almost 21 months."
A correspondent for several French publications, Stéphane Siohan, tweeted in response: "How president Poroshenko on visit in Paris dares to say that terrorism faced in France is the daily fate of Ukraine for 21 months? #disgrace"
France 24's Gulliver Cragg was not to be outdone: "Poroshenko's appalling taste in seeking to use #parisattacks to draw attention to #ukraine. Untrue and disgusting."
And former Kyiv Post editor Christopher Miller, now working for Mashable, also tweeted in: "A tactless remark and attempt to use #ParisAttacks to bring attention to #Ukraine, Mr. President."
Let's review the facts.
The terrorists who struck six sites in Paris on Nov. 13, 2015, killed 130 people, triggering worldwide outrage and sympathy.
Russian and Russian-backed forces have been responsible for a war that has killed more than 8,000 people, mostly civilians. At least 68 were children.
War crimes abound -- including using civilians as shields in wartime and indiscriminate firing and bombing of civilian areas. The atrocities include firing on surrendering soldiers in Ilovaisk, a massacre in August 2014 in which Russian forces killed more people than in the Paris attacks. The death toll also includes 298 civilians who happened to be flying over Ukraine at 30,000 feet in July 2014 on flight MH17. They were shot down, probably by Russian forces -- or at least forces trained by Russians -- using a sophisticated Russian-supplied BUK missile.
In January, the separatist-terrorists fired a rocket at the civilian route bus near the city of Volnovakha, leaving 12 passengers killed and 18 wounded.
A week later, seven civilians were killed at a city transport stop in Donetsk by a shell.
Just several days later, Russian-separatist forces shelled the borderline city of Mariupol, targeting a residential neighborhood. The attack left 30 people killed and 93 wounded.
Many of these attacks specifically targeted Ukrainian civilians. They all happened within one month -- one out of the 21 months that Ukraine has been living with an ongoing terrorism threat, as Poroshenko said.
The recitation of such attacks can go on and on. It really is a daily reality, or almost a daily reality, for Ukraine.
It is surprising that the journalists who found president’s comparison outrageous are the ones who reported from Ukraine’s war and should be aware of the events taking place.
So what distinguishes this terrorism from any other? The Islamic State claims to have an ideology and state -- it amounts, however, to indiscriminate killing in the West as an expression of hostility to Western values. The Russian separatists also claim an ideology and state, but it too often amounts to simply killing Ukrainians, in uniform or not, if they dissent or oppose. Russia's Vladimir Putin, who unquestionably leads a powerful nation, shows no respect for human life, rule of law or rules of war. This is also akin to terrorism.
The truth is that some lives matter more to the public and to the news media than others. It's the reality, cruel or not, sad or not. People in Europe and America struggle to get worked up over tragedies in distant lands that many cannot even identify.
Ukraine has struggled throughout its history to get its blood sacrifices acknowledged on the world stage, whether the Holodomor or its World War II casualties, each claiming millions of people.
Perhaps these tragedies have numbed sensitivities to death. Perhaps they have made Ukrainians more accepting of fate or more stoic and less likely to call attention to their misery. Perhaps the hard struggle to survive for most Ukrainians simply leaves people exhausted.
But when Paris attacks occurred, Ukrainians showed compassion. Many, if not the most of them, followed the world trend by putting a French flag on their profile pictures on Facebook. Hundreds brought candles and flowers to the French Embassy in Kyiv.
Perhaps Ukraine's leaders have, once again, let the people down by not explaining the crises more clearly and not responding to the attacks the same way as France President Francois Hollande did -- with a state of emergency and the promise of a "pitiless" counterattack on terrorism.
Factually, it is hard to dispute Poroshenko's contention that Ukraine is the victim of Russian terrorism. Again, Ukraine has suffered more than most, losing control of 5 percent of its territory and people, as well as many thousands killed.
As for value of life, many of us in Ukraine are still in a state of shock and sadness over the tumultuous events of recent years. These people are closest to us, so their deaths hurt the most, more than deaths in distant lands. Yet we can still find the empathy for faraway victims as we hope that people can for ours.