My thoughts on Ukraine
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 01/06/2022 (246 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
“There but for the grace of God go I.”
Since Feb. 24, as I’ve watched the daily news about Ukraine unfolding, I’ve cringed, teared up, and thanked the heavens for having been born in Canada. How excruciating it is to see Russia’s unprovoked, barbaric invasiona and destruction of that country.
I am a proud first-generation Polish/Ukrainian Canadian. Ukraine is my parents’ country of birth. Mother emigrated as a five-year-old with her Ukrainian parents in 1905 and Father, Polish/Ukrainian by birth, arrived in Canada at age 20 around 1910.
My cousin Lorraine and I visited this land of our ancestors in 2001, the 10th anniversary of Ukraine gaining freedom from the yoke of the USSR.
It was most gratifying to walk the lands where our forebears once lived. They still grow great vegetable and fruit gardens, maintain ever-present flower beds alongside their houses, raise free-range chickens and flocks of geese, while cows graze nearby and grain fields extend beyond. Sound agricultural practices had clearly been instilled in those who ventured out to new lands, such as Canada, and painstakingly established homes and villages for us their children to grow in freedom and prosper.
That same indomitable spirit is fuelling Ukraine’s citizenry today. They are fiercely resolved to protect their land from Putin’s ruthless invaders — reminiscent of the snarling, marauding wild dogs in Barbados that descended in packs from the surrounding hills.
In today’s world gone mad, I strongly feel that Ukraine’s president, Wolodymyr Zelenskyy, deserves honorable mention of the highest order — as an exemplary man of the hour, and year.
Zelenskyy studied to become a lawyer but switched to being a comedic actor and gained a huge following in his four-year role as entertainer-president on a Ukrianian TV show. With wife Elena and family he has so much to live for, so much to give through the arts alone. But these days he heeds his calling as president to preserve democracy, to deal with the ugly side of humankind — the greed, the killing, the destabilization of the world order.
It brings one’s heart solace to see other governments and people from all walks of life providing ammunition or raising funds and offering shelter to beleaguered Ukrainians fleeing their beloved homeland. But it is not easy to stave off the perpetrator of this massacre while his finger flirts with the nuclear button.
One in six Manitobans are at least partly Ukrainian, and at a recent Jets hockey game in Winnipeg tears flowed freely when the Hoosli Men’s Choir sang Ukraine’s national anthem, Shche ne vmerla Ukraina (Ukraine has not died).
The world awaits the day the blue and yellow flag flies over Ukraine in peace.
“Slava Ukraini” – Glory to Ukraine.
St. Vital community correspondent
Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.