In a world comprised of incalculable particles, molecules and other sophisticated complexities, it’s astonishing to me how we as man can fall so easily to the croon of war. A trumpet blasts and bombs begin. Barbarism follows like a seething shadow.
In a world that paints the sky with brilliant pastels as the sun lays itself to rest, only to then rise again kissing the heavens with mesmeric butterscotch and marigold — how is it that we can be so angry, so petty, and brash?
The cruelty of man isn’t limited to the battlegrounds of war, but it is highlighted by it.
When I was a paramedic, I once responded to a call that came in from a passing motorist, they called because they saw someone laying in the middle of the road just off the main drag — when dispatch asked if the caller would wait around for EMS (medics) to arrive, they explained that they couldn’t… they had things in the oven, and had to get going. Apathy sometimes cuddles with cruelty.
When I arrived on scene, my eyes were greeted by an uneasy sight — a man was indeed lain on the roadway. He had been beaten viciously and seemingly without restraint. Both eyes were swollen shut, his jaw dislocated and horribly fractured. One of his hands bent in a direction it was never designed for. Both legs were broken and we suspected his pelvis was too. Both my partner and I required a uniform change after working on this man from roadway to trauma room. The sanguineous stains on our navy-blue shirts told the story of an impressionistic indifference of man.
We would find out after the passage of many months that that man was beaten by a roving gang of adolescent miscreants. Why? Because he was walking alone that day. And of course he was alone, he was homeless — he wasn’t even beaten for money — as if that’s somehow more justifiable.
The malice of man toward man is something that I will never truly understand, even though I have observed it with tremendous repetition.
Like many of you, I am sure, my eyes have been glued to the screen of whatever device may be resting in front of my face, and with incredulity I watch in sadness and dismay at yet another flagrant example of man’s innate proclivity for cruelty. Images are shown of young and old alike, hunkered together in baron cement spaces now turned into communal bedrooms and dining halls. There is a weariness behind many of their stricken expressions. A silent plea emanates from their gaze through to our screens — an unspoken wish of cessation — a wish that meanders along the bomb laden streets and among the rubble of humble homes that once stood tall and proud. It is a wayfarer wish that seemingly no genie nor country can answer. And this sad tale only furthers in despair when learning that the sanctions being levied against a tyrant are first and foremost hurting the unostentatious people of Russia. People are quickly losing access to food and basic necessities without ne’re a bomb dropped on their homes. Two groups of people mirroring one another in perfect symmetry and juxtaposition.
I sit here in Canada, my privileged fingers striking keys to form story, and outside of that, I feel completely useless. My heart aches for the people of Ukraine. Men and women who are old enough to be many of our grandparents are now holding the cold steel of weaponry instead of grandchildren… what an absolutely shattering image to see.
There is also pride; pride in a humble people standing up to a red giant. A true unification of ideologies and backgrounds, bound by way of unrequested war. A frightful way to birth unity.
My girlfriend’s youngest has type 1 Diabetes. She was diagnosed only a couple of years ago. Getting her access to medicine is merely as arduous as getting into our car (that has fuel), driving a gentle twenty minutes, and going into the drug store where our order is already waiting and available. I can’t help but ponder on those in the Ukraine and now, Russia too, where none of the aforementioned is a reality… a deeply sobering contemplation.
To the people of Ukraine, I wish to say this: I reside in a small, diminutive little town in western Canada. The population here is a supplicatory six-hundred people, I want you to know that I see you. My heart and my mind are with you. Though intangibles such as “thoughts and prayers” are often castigated in the online realm, I am a firm believer that sometimes knowing that you are not alone, be it by thoughts or wishes, is sometimes just enough to get you through to tomorrow. And oh, how I wish that there be a tomorrow for you.
I am but one man, aging and out of shape, a mind in tatters from prior commitments, so though these are just words, they are also lettered droplets of my very being for you to know and see, touch and feel.
I am not a religious man, so, saying that I will pray for you feels disingenuous, but ever since that 24th day in February, when word came forth that bombs fell and tanks trundled across your sovereign borders, I have not stopped thinking of you. I am enraged for you. Enraged in knowing that hubris is what guides these bombs and bullets, and all it would take is a simple moment of modesty to end it all — but in yet another shining example of man’s wickedness, men in suits choke on dialogue and distilled water over your future. Perhaps man is both cruel and inept…
But it is YOU, Ukraine, that has shown me that man is also capable of something more, something splendid and divine — resilience — man is resilient if nothing else. It’s how we went from caves to stars, and it is my belief that even amidst tragedy and unspeakable wrong, the light and endurance of your people will outshine any wicked that man can muster. You are brilliant and you are brave. You are courageous and you are unwavering. You… are Ukraine!