THE UNWELCOME ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR IN UKRAINE
24 FEBRUARY 2023: THE UNWELCOME ANNIVERSARY OF THE WAR IN UKRAINE
Every day I wake up thinking the war in Ukraine is just a bad dream, that such a war cannot really be happening in Europe in the 21st century. But there it is, hanging over me, with all the daily images of senseless death and destruction, torture, forced deportations plus, shockingly, the underlying blind hatred. So, how should we mark this unwelcome anniversary? One of our guests in Sawbridgeworth summed up the feeling very well: ‘…I would like to hide under the blanket and wake up later realizing it was just a bad dream. For locals, maybe gathering and lighting candles in a memory of all fallen in this war. Donations would be great. Maybe a short speech reminding (people about) what Ukraine is going through all this time. I don’t know really. A very dark day.’ My daily routine includes messaging a friend from my project days in Kyiv who is in an apartment building in Kharkiv near the border with Russia. Daily shelling, sleepless nights, lack of water and electricity. She has cancer and is undergoing chemotherapy somehow. But she is still delivering online history lessons, ironically on the very wars we were supposed to learn from. She has sons fighting, displaced grandchildren, her husband is repairing tanks. We often say ‘Never Again’ about, for example, the Holocaust but here we go again. So let’s never forget the suffering of innocent civilians in Ukraine, those displaced and forced to relocate and those separated from their families. Let’s be grateful it’s not happening to us, even as we feel the impact of the war. Let’s continue to support our friends in Ukraine and in Bishop’s Stortfod and Sawbridgeworth in any way we can, by visible signs of support, and by donating to humanitarian groups. I recommend the Ukraine Humanitarian Hub https://www.facebook.com/groups/652408852489848/ and UK-AID Felsted https://www.uk-aid.org/news/article/ukraine-crisis.html Let’s also remember the local support from our hosts and our brilliant band of volunteer English teachers, and our church community.