We’ve been watching the invasion of Ukraine unfold on our television screens for nearly two weeks now. We’ve had a front row seat to the human tragedy whether we want it or not. We’ve seen our leaders craft swift and robust economic sanctions that promise to cause some political pain, but don’t seem to change the course of events.
My social media stream shows posts of people complaining about the rising price of gas right beside images of Ukrainian refugees leaving behind everything they own as they flee a sudden and cruel war.
It all leaves me feeling helpless, as perhaps I am…as perhaps all of us are. It makes me wonder how to respond in any sort of effective way. It makes me question some of my deeply held beliefs about nonviolence and the benefits of diplomacy when an adversary rolls into town with tanks and missiles, hellbent on ignoring any sense of international pressure and outrage.
At times it seems hopeless.
Until I am reminded that even in the midst of war, people can be good. Even in the darkness, some lights shine bright. The courage, the determination, the compassion. These are the things that give me hope, even as I watch from so many miles away.
Polish women left baby carriages on train station platforms for Ukrainian women who carried their babies across the border in their arms.
People around the world booked Airbnb flats in Ukraine with no intention of staying there, but in order to get funds to people in need.
Ukrainian curators took down precious pieces of art and slept with them in cellars and bunkers to protect and preserve their national heritage.
Russian war protesters continued to show up on the streets even in the face of swift and certain retaliation from their government.
There was a moment when I thought I should try to travel to a neighboring country…Moldova…to try to interview some refugees. I even made a few calls before I understood that these countries are stretched to the limit with the current crisis. All their resources are needed to focus on the work at hand and it wasn’t the time or the place for me to be using up more of the resources.
In the process, I became aware of some good work in Moldova that a friend of a friend is doing to help refugees…to raise funds…and to share information. This link was shared by a good friend who works for the State Department, so I feel confident it is well vetted.
As it turns out, we are not helpless. There are things we all can do to support folks in crisis around the world. If you are looking for a way to help, take a look through this resource. Maybe something will feel like the right fit for you.
Look around you. We are all more vulnerable than we care to admit. And we are all more deeply connected than we ever knew.