Thoughts on Ukraine
It is half-past ten. And the news just arrived that the Russian missiles have attacked a children’s cancer hospital, killing at least one child. No one would expect something like this could happen on European soil.
The past three days have been sad for me. I cannot believe that a beautiful country that I visited not long ago is suffering from such inhumane violence and pain.
Ukraine is the first European country that I tried to learn the native language before my travel. Before that, most of the time, I always thought I could “manage” with English. But since the Pandemic, I changed. Inspired by my multilingual friend Sue, I decided that to show my respect to the land and the people, I will make efforts to speak their languages. So there I went. And it was a trip that I will never forget.
Photographs from Lviv
I had so many friendly and warm encounters, right from the moment that I got onto the plane. The student who told me how to bargain with the locals. The security lady who patiently explained to me where to queue. The family with a young daughter that told me about their favourite holidays while we were sharing the small train carriage. The engineer who passionately spoke about his country and his hope of Ukraine joining the EU. The amazing artists and musicians I met in the Lviv old town. The old grandma laughing at my Будь ласка in a shop of the deep Carpathian mountains. The Hutsul people who shared the stories of their ancestors. And to think back now, I wish I had exchanged contact details with many of them, so that at least I can send my prayers to them now, and know if they are safe.
It is difficult to keep optimism in dark times like this. The only silver lining I think of is perhaps how the courage and strength of the Ukrainian people have shown to the world the importance of fighting for Freedom and supporting one another.
May the bloodshed and the barbarian act soon stop.
May our Humanity evolve to a new level beyond the personal hunger for power and obsession for violence.
Photograph: a statue in Carpathian Mountains