Unfortunately, bad things still happen, even when they go unreported in the news or are not discussed by most people.
In the din of bad news, you may hear very little about the war in Ukraine. Don’t be fooled into thinking that it is because Ukraine is doing better, fighting Russia. They are not. Innocent people die every day. Homes are bombed, and missiles fly where children are playing.
Just this morning, there were multiple explosions from massive Russian air strikes all across Ukraine. Most brutal were the hits on the town of Kharkiv, where Novi currently has a team of five people working. Five people are confirmed dead, several residential buildings were destroyed, a gas pipeline was set on fire, and “now the rescuers are trying to dismantle the rubble to find people under it,” said the mayor of Kharkiv, Ihor Terekhov.
We are in Kharkiv
Yesterday, our team spent hours with children in a school that has yet to be destroyed. The children laughed and enjoyed a day of playful activities. They made self-portraits the size of themselves. After their portraits were done, they spent time marking the places on their bodies where they felt joy, fear, anger, and sadness. In the end, they filled their portraits with cutout hands and hearts, symbolizing the helping hands and the good times in their lives. Our team reported of lots of fun and children feeling loved and seen. A sentiment many of them stated was: “Why do you come here, where it is dangerous to be? Nobody ever comes to see us here.”
Our actions spoke loudly in Kharkiv. We went there, despite the danger. Why did we go? Because those children matter. To love is to act, as Victor Hugo said. We showed our love in dedicated action.
Do not turn away
When the world is quiet about atrocities, we are not just passive. We are actively helping the oppressors by not shedding light on their heinous deeds. Therefore, we need to keep speaking of the terrible acts of terrorism Russia is committing in Ukraine. What Putin and his followers want is for the world to forget and stop caring. We need to keep speaking of crimes against humanity wherever they are happening, in Ukraine and elsewhere. We must not be so overwhelmed that we decide to turn away. Then, the tyrants won, and the innocent lost.
Bertolt Brecht said in his poem When Evil-Doing Comes Like Falling Rain:
" The first time it was reported that our friends were being butchered, there was a cry of horror.
Then, a hundred were butchered. But when a thousand were butchered, and there was no end to the butchery, a blanket of silence spread.
When evil-doing comes like falling rain, nobody calls out, ‘Stop!
’When crimes begin to pile up, they become invisible.
When suffering becomes unendurable, the cries are no longer heard.
The cries, too, fall like rain in summer."
Sometimes, I feel like turning away so I am not confronted with injustice. It is not happening to me, so why should I care so much?
They are like me, and that is why I should care. I must ask myself: What if it had been me? What if it had been my child, home, country, and future?
The Golden Rule is clear:
Do to others what you would have them do to you.
What does this mean to you?
Hanna is from Kharkiv. Last week, she went back to her war-torn home.
Last month, my wife Hanna and I moved to a city called Ivano Frankivsk in western Ukraine after working with Novi for the previous two years