Ukraine’s suffering reminds us of our blessings

Published 10:00 am Saturday, April 2, 2022

There are so many disturbing images coming out of Ukraine. 

It is just overwhelming to see all the destruction of buildings, homes, churches, businesses.  And the people who are now homeless—and some are hopeless.  They are without shelter, food, medical necessities.  Families are torn apart and scattered.  Their future is so uncertain.  I cannot imagine having to leave my city, the country where I have been a citizen for a lifetime.  My home, however humble it may have been.  And the children.  No child should have to be uprooted from their home and seek safety by leaving what has been the only life they have known.  It is unthinkable what Putin has done to these people.  

Were I an evil dictator trying to conquer a neighboring country, I would want the infrastructure to remain intact as much as possible.  How could I rebuild an entire land mass once I’ve destroyed all the agriculture, manufacturing, educational institutions, transportation systems, utilities, communication, and buildings?  And the inhabitants have now been forced to leave or be killed.  

Thankfully in this country, we have had to deal with a single attack on 9/11 at the World Trade Center, The Pentagon, and the passenger plane that crashed in Pennsylvania.  While the devastation and loss of life was significant, we always knew that the structures would be rebuilt and that life would be resumed, albeit with the dreadful remembrance of what happened on that fateful day.  What must Ukrainians be dealing with knowing there is no clear path back to their homeland and way of life?  For those who have chosen to remain in Ukraine, what will become of them?  Many of the people who have chosen to remain are under a daily threat of assault and bombings.  Many are elderly and unable or unwilling to leave.  Will Ukraine prevail militarily?  Unlikely.  It is too sad to think of what their fate might be.

And if we think this war will not affect our daily lives, think again.  Look at inflation, rising energy prices, interruption of global commerce, fear of biological weapons, cyber attacks, and the list grows.  The entire world is watching for the next move, and we can count on the fact that it will impact the United States and the rest of the world.

Among the sad news was a story about a family leaving Ukraine with their two dogs, one a German Shepard that was 12 and a half years old.  The mother, Alisa, spoke some English.  Her father passed away unexpectedly on February 23, the day before the war.   She worked for a German company that helped her leave the country for Poland with her family and two large dogs, including their elderly German shepherd.  She said they drove for 16 hours to a village about 86 miles from Kyiv.  They felt they needed to leave the village because it was dangerous.  She talked about her being one of 9 in the car which included her, her sister, the two husbands, her mother, and four children all crammed into her small family car, a Peugeot 307.  When they got close to the Polish border, they decided to walk the rest of the 10-mile journey at 4 a.m. in minus 7-degree weather.  They carried the dog some, so it was a grueling trek.  Alisa explained that the dog was part of their family, and they could not leave it behind.  Her husband had to return to Ukraine to care for his mother and grandmother and to fight in the war.  The family has no idea when or if they will be reunited.  Their fate, too, unknown.  

So, as we go about our day, let’s be thankful that we have all the necessities.  There are no bombs going off and we are free to come and go as we please.  We are indeed fortunate.  Prayers for Ukraine.  

 

Bonnie Brown writes a weekly column for The Oxford Eagle. Contact her at bbrown@olemiss.edu.