How it feels when your homeland is attacked
Once again, thank you for sharing.
Pray for the Armenians of Artsakh as well. They are being ethnically cleansed by Azerbaijan and the west is silent: https://yuribezmenov.substack.com/p/artsakh-christian-armenian-genocide-azerbaijan
War may be part of humanity, but it still sucks. A hard-hitting, beautifully written post.
I always admired people who cross the pond with their little families, in hopes and dreams of a better future.
I've met a lot of refugees in my travels and it always made me appreciate just how fortunate I am to have been born where I was.
It takes guts and the road is full of danger.
I'm glad it worked out in your case.
Putin & his propaganda machine are the worst.
However, if you’re interested in learning more about the humorous history of Odesa, start with Ilf & Petrov. They are famous Soviet period writers from Odesa who wrote 12 Chairs & The Golden Calf together as well as a travelogue about a road trip through America which are all hilarious. There is a Mel Brooks adaptation of 12 Chairs that he did right before Blazing Saddles that is great. You can also watch a 2 part Soviet adaptation on YouTube which is cited as one of the first madcap comedy films which I think is even better.
Others major players in the “Odesa School of Humor” are Isaac Babel, Valentin Kataev & Eduard Bagritsky.
There is also a 50 year old humor festival called Humorina: https://www.nytimes.com/2013/04/02/world/europe/odessa-celebrates-april-fools-day.html?smid=nytcore-ios-share&referringSource=articleShare
As Psychotherapist, I've worked recently with refugee children from Ukraine. It was overwhelming
Thank you for bringing this back into the forefront of our minds Alex. As you said, it's far too easy to let it go because the whole thing is simply too hard for our minds to grasp from over here. It's great seeing the pictures of your family and makes the tragedy more real. You are all real people who left your real country which is now being attacked.
Alex, what a moving piece. This took me back to February of last year. Thank you for reminding everyone about why this fight is so important, and what's at stake for the people of Ukraine... and also the world.
More than 170,000 people have been killed in Ukraine. I don't know why you omitted that much larger number, even if only for context. Most of that number were civilians before Putin invaded, they didn't plan on being in the military, ever.
I was born in Tartu, Estonia (the Soviet Union at the time). I was one of the lucky ones who got to see its end and all the struggles that came with a new independent country trying to figure out its place in the world and make new trade and diplomatic connections. I live in Canada now, and I feel the same deep gratitude for all the good things we have, and our kids will have. Yes, nothing is perfect, but, in general, it does get better.
Why did your family leave Ukraine?
I grew up in East Germany and was part of the peaceful revolution. Then I lived 2 years in the US, super privileged as a white (though female) scientist at Caltech (Ha! Not far from you!). But I can't say with conviction that I experienced the US as a country of freedom and democracy. Yes, if you are among the privileged white males with an income, there's a pretty good degree of freedom for you. But everyone else? Not so much, I think. I constantly had (and still have) the feeling that the US was eerily similar to the regime I grew up in. They, too, told us that we live in the most wonderful democracy and have more freedom than all the other countries in the whole wide world, that our system is the best way to govern people, and we can count ourselves the happiest citizens on the planet. Same old propaganda.
My family and I are living on Gotland now. Russia isn't far away and Putin has been interested in our tiny island for a long time. The first time we visited here, I saw a Russian fighter jet. Air space violations by the Russians seems to be rather common.
The war in the Ukraine feels very close to many Europeans, but especially to people on this island.
I hope all of your parent's friends are uninjured. This fucking war can't end soon enough.
💛💙 I stand with Ukraine.💛💙 I give regularly to the World Central Kitchen fund and bought their cookbooks to gift this holiday season, "We Feed People" is a documentary about the amazing work they do. You and your family are pretty special too!
Thank you for once again bringing this to our attention.
My man, this is beautiful. Thanks for sharing so honestly. We all have something to be thankful for, but this is another level.
Poignant, thank you for sharing. I'm reminded to be grateful for what I have and I do think, now and then, about my ancestors who left everything they knew to come to the US. I do not know whether their lives were in danger. I do know that thought things would be better here. I do know that they left many of their friends, family, traditions, and language behind to fit in here. I wish I could hear their stories.