FRIDAY MARCH 4, 2022
A solemn, disillusioned expression. Amidst the genocide in Ukraine my life, and maybe yours, emerges as a lullaby of comfort. I don’t have any problems worthy of expression. I am free, safe, with a roof over my head, water, and a refrigerator of food. Ordinary pleasures, routines, music, future plans, dotting on the past, self-interests, and mindless tasks have vanished.
The news alerts, stories, interviews, and most aching of all live videos of a peaceful nation tattered apart leaving dead bodies, bombed commercial and residential buildings, bridges, schools, hospitals, nurseries, and the Holocaust Memorial in flaky black ashes blowing in a freezing cold gust of wind.
Offense efforts by the battle fatigued Ukrainians include changing the names of streets to confuse the Russian convoy, blocking entries with pianos, sandbags, nails, fence posts, and bricks. Homemade Molotov cocktails, kitchen knives, and any weapon to defend their families and friends.
As I sit in my desk chair wrapped warmly in wool and Serpa leggings, the sun radiates through the glass windows without the threat of destruction, automobiles pass without the threat of bombs, the figurines in my room are steadied, the heat is flossing the winter chills, sounds of silence without sirens or alarms, friends texting and writing without intervention. Our government schedules meetings to diminish the humanitarian crisis, and today they meet to discuss the nuclear war. As Zelensky said, ‘ We are grateful for the solidarity but it doesn’t stop bombs.
I walk downstairs to place a heap of laundry in the washer. One million Ukrainian refugees left their homes with the clothes on their backs, without a shower, without their iPad, or a child’s stuffed teddy bear. Grandmothers hobbled alongside dutiful relatives, young women carried the backpacks of what they could bring, animals left behind to starve to death or get caught in a spray of a vacuum bomb. My laundry is dropped, the craving to sit on my porch in a warm splash of sunshine dropped, responding to texts and other media ransacked with the bluntness of W111.
One hero, amongst millions of silent ones, is Vladimir Zelensky.
Putin agreed to a two-day ceasefire yesterday. Today the sirens blare and rockets’ red glare over Mariupol. As one who has experienced gaslighting firsthand, this is what Putin is using to obscure, undermine, and exasperate our military experts. We are on the offense, and Putin is the mastermind of the cover-up.
Close your eyes and bounce onto a street in one of the cities he is bombing. Imagine you’re in a bunker, the heater is warming only one part of you, the food is sparse and bland, your relatives are in another city, and you cannot reach them. Your husband is on the street, an artist, businessman, or retiree standing guard with a weapon he has never used.
Then return to your own Saturday, no matter where you are or what you are doing, bring yourself and the ones you are with to prayer, to a discussion, keep the moment in history in your consciousness. We are unified for once. Regardless of politics, race, or religion, decent people feel empathy and helplessness.
In a brief search of how to help. I was most impressed with this group.