Last week has been very emotional, I believe for lots of people. Recent events in Ukraine have been alarming for me; all the plans that I had for the past week were gone, and I couldn’t focus on my work anymore.
I’ve been spending the past week in Poland, together with my family, in the area where I was born. I grew up in the northeast part of Poland, in a sixty thousand people town (144 km from Kaliningrad, 110 km from Belarus, 500 km from Lviv, 350km from the Ukrainian border).
News on Thursday morning put lots of people into a panic in the local town- we all started to be very worried. People taking panically money out of ATMs’ queues at the petrol stations. Initial news from Ukraine was very confusing; initial predictions gave many concerns about the near future.
How will this war spread further?
How will it affect us?
The quick reaction from communities in Poland was wonderful. I was overwhelmed to see how quickly people started organising help for Ukrainians. Seeing local communities united against war, with a simple goal- to help the most vulnerable and innocent!
- Within four days, Charity Organisation Siepomaga in Poland collected over 28mln Polish Zl to support Ukraine (and the amount is constantly growing!)
- Seeing my nine-year-old niece with her six-year-old brother going to the shop with their pocket money to support kids in Ukraine was moving.
- Charity organisations like Caritas (where my sister works) organise humanitarian help.
- Local communities organise collections, offering private accommodations to support refugees coming to the country.
- Reading stories like this were inspiring!
Then my fifteen-year-old daughter came back from school yesterday, saying that she had a discussion with her friends, and some of them commented on how foolish Ukraine is to fight against Russia.
My initial reaction was: “Foolish to fight for freedom? Foolish to fight for independence?”
I reflected a bit on it and realised a few things:
Our kid’s generation grew up in an environment where they take freedom for granted. They are reminded at school that they have the right! They are encouraged to speak about diversity in their identities, and freedom means something different to them.
My grandmother spent most of the war in the concentration camp, dreaming about FREEDOM!
USSR influenced Poland until 1991, and my parents fought for FREEDOM and to be able to give FREEDOM for their kids!
We are united with Ukraine! Our history has taught us what does that mean not to have FREEDOM, to be dependent on someone’s rules, propaganda.
We understand the true value of FREEDOM.
“We remember” ⚓️