Europe is a safe space to live in. That is how it was. That is how it was until Russia invaded Ukraine in 2014, but then the aggressor almost got away with it. February 24, 2022, the news feed in the whole World exploded with images of Ukrainian cities being shelled and civilians terrorized by the Russian soldiers in Bucha, Hostomel, Mariupol, and Kharkiv.
The threat of another nuclear catastrophe in the middle of Europe as well as an emerging global food crisis are all consequences of Russian aggression. However, the news feed is scrolled quickly, and in a few days (or hours or even minutes) we forget. We don't want to hear about the terrible – and this is a natural psychological defence mechanism. We go to supermarket, listen to music, drink coffee, take children to school, do business as usual. At the same moment in Ukraine, Russian soldiers are killing children and elderly people, raping women, kidnapping and torturing activists and journalists.
Those, who leave the war zone, are welcomed by many countries. People, organizations, countries make this help a common cause. Is this enough? This question is by no means an accusation or an attempt to trigger remorse. To answer it, just ask yourself: "What would I do for myself, for my own safety, for the safety of my loved ones?" After all, today we are not talking about the war in Ukraine. Today, Ukraine is fighting for the entire civilized world, for the security of Europe, and Ukrainian people shall never stand alone.
The modern warriors in Ukraine are not only soldiers. They are ordinary people, who became extraordinary through the war. They are people, who just lived and worked before the war. A gardener, chef, IT specialist, teacher, poet, journalist or dancer. A father, brother, wife or mother. Today, they all live and work for the victory. For the life. They are living, not surviving. They are strong. Courageous. Persistent. At the same time, they are vulnerable.
In the 3 months after the great invasion, the need to save lives (the own life and the lives of others) became a daily occurrence for Ukrainians. Their skin is saturated with war, they inhale the smoke of the fires after the rocket attacks and bombings, but they exhale Freedom.
Today, Ukraine breathes the same air with Europe.
Lives in the same way.
The way, on which we don't have the right to get accustomed to war.
Olena Afanasieva , curator
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