Pain and Hope
We know that the pain inflicted by Russia’s immoral & brutal invasion and its unrelenting attacks on civilians & shocking war crimes will not be over any time soon.
Feels like we're drowning in tragedies,
Feels like we're stuck in a world of pain,
Scary to fall asleep,
Scary to wake up and learn
That today will be more insane.
Feels like we are somehow helpless,
Feels like we should not complain,
Afraid after you go to sleep,
Afraid after you wake up,
All these nightmares will still remain.
Feels like it's hardly bearable,
Feels like it's all hard to explain,
Hoping one day you go to sleep,
Hoping one day you wake up,
And peace will be back again.
Poem by Olga Spytsia, volunteer, southern Ukraine.
In addition to almost 11 months of daily shelling, last week Ukrainians suffered two new painful blows & losses. As Ukrainians prepared to honour the memory of the defenders of the Donetsk Airport on Jan 16 and to celebrate Epiphany on Jan 19, Russia sent a X-22 missile into a high-rise in Dnipro city (45 dead, 80 injured) & their invasion caused more deaths with the Brovary helicopter tragedy (14 dead, 25 injured).
Despite the incessant pain inflicted by Russia, Ukrainians continue to take their cue from hundreds of volunteer soldiers who for 8 months (May 24, 2014 - Jan 22, 2015) defended the strategic international airport from Russian militia groups moving in to “annex” Ukrainian territory and force Ukraine into deeper submission & subservience to Moscow. Outnumbered, the Ukrainian defenders held on while the airport’s concrete around them crumbled from constant Russian-backed offensives & shelling.
In an attempt to explain why his Moscow-equipped comrades failed to swiftly take the airport, a pro-Russian militant called the Ukrainian defenders Cyborgs. The name caught on in Ukraine due to the invincibility and courage of these heroes. Ukraine’s strong will to resist continues to strike fear into the hearts of their persecutors.
Some Cyborgs continue defending Ukraine today. Centuries of living under Moscow’s boot resulted in Ukraine developing a formidable culture of resistance and becoming a modern political nation with a superhuman focus on freedom, justice & democracy.
Although the pain is not going away any time soon, our moral & material support to those on the front lines makes a world of difference. Currently, the Mriya Aid team is working hard to increase the effectiveness & scalable delivery of our drone & tactical medicine programs & EOD gear & training with our partners in the UK & Europe.
Being in touch with the units we support and seeing their determination as they receive drones and other kit is truly rewarding. Allies and supporters worldwide are also inspired by Ukrainain resilience expressed online through humour and art.
Ukrainian girl dances in front of a Banksy original in Irpin Photo: Stephan Goss
Wartime art and popular culture in Ukraine also reflect Ukrainians’ strong and ever-growing will to revive & embrace their rich cultural heritage that for centuries had been extinguished by forced russification that lasted decades after Ukraine’s 1991 Independence. Since the beginning of Russia’s invasion of Ukrainian territories in 2014, Ukrainians have questioned the imperialist, identity-erasing, and morally void propagandistic Soviet pseudo-culture invented by Moscow to keep Ukrainians and other minorities in check.
In his video “What TV fed us before New Years”, Ukrainian media critic Vitaliy Hordienko exposes the Kremlin-directed, post-Soviet TV entertainment that many Ukrainians (including Hordienko himself) accepted as a norm. Even for those who don’t understand Ukrainian, the video clips show how Moscow’s cultural elite distorted art and presented Ukrainians as pathetic caricatures. Hordienko describes the painful realization that much of the “shared” culture with Russia was nothing more than discrimination intended to keep Ukrainians subservient to Moscow.
Each missile strike, torture chamber, war crime, and attempted erasure of Ukraine perpetrated by Russia, as well as centuries of documented decimation of Ukrainians and other non-Russian minorities, is a painful reminder that this brutal invasion of Ukraine in the 21st century will continue for some time, and that anything short of a full Ukrainian victory will likely result in decades of pain for millions through torture & executions, hard labour camps & continued erasure of Ukrainians & anyone standing in the way of Russian insistence of its supremacy in Eastern Europe.
We can help prevent further pain and devastation by continuing to support Ukraine. In an interview, Akhtem Seitablayev, the director of the 2017 film Cyborgs: Heroes Never Die, said that he and the author of the script wanted to speak to the audience “in the language of their pain and hopes”.
The diverse volunteers & supporters of Mriya Aid put their hope into action to conquer the pain, to save lives & to bring us closer to peace.
Since we do not want to divert donations provided specifically for the front lines, we have created a separate platform for donors who wish to help Mriya Aid volunteers shoulder the considerable expenses of basic IT, legal & accounting services required to keep Mriya Aid platforms safe, our work transparent, and our 100% volunteer team accountable to you and to the Ukrainian defenders you support.
Or you can CLICK HERE to contribute to NON-LETHAL equipment & medical & humanitarian aid to the frontlines.
If you have family, friends or neighbours who have been influenced by Kremlin propaganda, you can refer them to the Government of Canada’s webpage Countering disinformation with facts - National Defence and Global Affairs Canada and to the Canadian Armed Forces’ Twittter feed on this topic.
“You won't believe how important it is to feel that [moral & material] support.” Ukrainian volunteer & friend of Mriya Aid. Mykolaiv, Ukraine. Jan 20, 2023.
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