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Sorrow and anger

In my seven years of writing this column, no news item has quite impacted me emotionally like the current war in Ukraine has.

To note, I have no personal connection to Ukrainians.

Seeing residents of the country turned into refugees breaks my heart. Families have been torn apart, not just by having to flee their homes, but they’ve also been divided by Russian propaganda.

In the last few weeks, we’ve watched as a once vibrant, beautiful country has become a war zone with so much damage and debris.

In addition, there’s also been fearful moments for others. On more than one occasion, Vladimir Putin has threatened, Russia could use nuclear weapons to settle this war, should the Western countries get involved in combat there. I’ve also felt a sort of fear for the safety of the Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, who has decided to stay in Ukraine, despite receiving offers to airlift him out.

It has also been surreal to me to see Ukrainian politicians having to arm themselves with weapons in order to protect their own democracy. These are people whose usual greatest weapons are their words and advocacy.

I wasn’t originally planning on writing something about this conflict. Last week I had reasoned within myself, there was nothing I could write which hadn’t already been written or said about this conflict. But, I decided this is a time when compassion and empathy are most needed, and I needed to find the right words to write.

We’re coming through the COVID-19 pandemic which has tested us all in many ways. Some of us have lost loved ones, public health measures, at times, have proven divisive among residents of several countries, and the necessity of endurance and keeping a committed hopeful outlook has been wearing, to say the least.

At the start of the pandemic, the rallying cry here in Canada was ‘We’re all in this together.’ At a time when an entire country’s way of life is under attack, the least we can do is show our empathy to those who are affected.

I pray there will soon be an end to the bloodshed and the terrorizing of Ukrainian citizens. A resolution which allows Ukraine to remain the sovereign nation it is.

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