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  • Dariia Pasko

I may wake up an orphan

TRIGGER WARNING – This article contains information about violence, sexual assault and references to the nature of war. Some readers may find the article disturbing.

OPINION DISCLAIMER – the opinions expressed in this publication are those of the author. They so not purport to reflect the opinions or views of the Caper Times

Borodyanka, near Kyiv. My friend's grandmother lives there. He lives in Germany and cannot take her there -

30th of November, 2013 was Saturday. I was glad that there finally was a weekend and we did not have to go to school. I was 11 and I hated doing homework on Saturdays, but I had to. Otherwise, I could not join a movie night with my family. Who knew that Saturday nights will never be the same now.

Watching the news during dinner felt different. I was a kid and did not really understand what they were saying but it was not good. My dad was more involved than usual. He was angry and devastated. As it later turned out, that day, the biggest revolution in Ukrainian history began. The biggest is not the author’s exaggeration. You will realize what I mean when you will be done reading the article. It started with beating peaceful protesters by armed police officers. 84 people got to the hospital and 17 of them were students, just like you and I now.

But why it is such a big deal now? Canada is helping by sending money and weapons. Yes, it does. Do Canadians know what is going on? They definitely do, but they do not understand.

I started studying at CBU online in September 2020. I moved to Sydney a year later. I was so happy and proud of myself that I managed all the exams, had good grades, and got the study permit approved. Going abroad gave me confidence in my future. Even though it is a small town, I found many advantages in being a part of the Cape Breton community. After a couple months, I knew a lot of people on campus and got my work permit. Living in a country where you do not feel like a stranger and can connect with about a million other Ukrainians felt awesome. It looked like a dream. I was sharing my experience and stories with my family literally every day. We did not feel the distance, they were not concerned or worried about me. The feeling of safety and certainty was ubiquitous, but today it switched to ubiquitous fear of death. They knew that I was safe, but now I do not know if I will ever hear their voice again.

The worst part is that Russian soldiers, who keep attacking Ukraine, did not even know they were going, on whom they were shooting. The videos where Ukrainians ask Russians “Why did you come here?” are viral and the answer is always the same: “We did not know, nobody told us”. Their mothers could not find them for months and now they are calling the Ukrainian hotline to see if their loved ones are dead. So who is responsible for that?

Soldiers saving the child after the attack in Irpen -

Vladimir Putin, was asked to participate in negotiations to peacefully solve the conflict in the Eastern part of Ukraine. The world was talking to the president again and again, but he continued the occupation of our territories. We got to see his real self after those words at one of the recent press conferences: “whether you like it or not, be patient my beauty”. The phrase has several meanings (including rape), but in his context, it meant that even if Ukraine does not like the armistice agreement, it should follow it. How ironic the propaganda is. Ukraine never broke Minsk agreements (which were supposed to resolve the conflict). The president is still saying that Ukraine is attacking Russia and Putin is “protecting Russian citizens”. That was the official reason for every Russian invasion and it is stated in Putin’s essay about the “Historical unity of Russians and Ukrainians”.

“Ukraine and Russia have developed as a single economic system over decades and centuries. The profound cooperation we had 30 years ago is an example for the European Union to look up to. We are natural complementary economic partners. Such a close relationship can strengthen competitive advantages, increasing the potential of both countries.”

“In essence, Ukraine's ruling circles decided to justify their country's independence through the denial of its past, however, except for border issues. They began to mythologize and rewrite history, edit out everything that united us, and refer to the period when Ukraine was part of the Russian Empire and the Soviet Union as an occupation. The common tragedy of collectivization and famine of the early 1930s was portrayed as the genocide of the Ukrainian people.”

The essay is available to the public and it only proves how wrong this war is and that it should not be like that. Ukrainians should not sleep in the bathrooms, because it is the safest place in the house, where walls will not fall in case of the attacks; Ukrainians should not be grabbing kids and a backpack to run away from Russian soldiers; Ukrainians should not be living in the metro station because it is safer there than at home; Ukrainians should not collect glass bottles to make Molotov cocktails to burn Russian troops; Ukrainians should not wrap the windows with tape before attacks, because after they usually break. Nobody should do that. Nobody should ever experience that.

How taking care of children now looks like -;;

Civilians suffer the most. They are being shot while carrying food and water for their families. 28 kids were brutally killed. The whole family (mother, father and 2 kids) were executed during evacuation by Russian soldiers in Irpen, near Kyiv. Kindergartens, houses, nuclear power stations, cars, ambulances and other infrastructural and civilian objects are constantly under attack. So we all have to fight, no matter how old we are. People in Ukraine are now national heroes: a Russian APC was stolen by local citizens in Kyiv; another APC was stolen and uploaded for sale online; 13 Ukrainian border guards heroically protected Snake Island. When the Russian military ship was warning about the attack – they replied: “F*** you” and kept fighting. It became a nationwide meme. Russians capture them only after they run out of ammo; locals stop troops by standing on their knees; citizens who leave “notes” for attackers saying – "go away" or "welcome to hell". Except for what you see in the news, there are also marauders and saboteurs who try to spread panic, but Ukrainians catch them and arrest them. Ukrainians abroad collect money, food, equipment to help their country. The whole world is trying to influence Russia by cutting it from SWIFT, sanctions, rupture of diplomatic relations, and isolation from the rest of the world.

People trying to leave Kharkiv -

Why other countries like the USA cannot also send their soldiers to help Ukraine? Probably because it does not work like that and countries had to sign agreements before doing anything, right? We did that in 1994 in Budapest with USA, UK and Russia. Before signing the memorandum, Ukraine was the third country in the world by amount of nuclear weapon stockpile. However, after signing the Budapest Memorandum, we had to give that away. Ukraine was ready to become a modern country and did not need bombs and guns to protect its peace. But, as you can see, the agreement was broken multiple times by the country which signed it.

I want to address the CBU community first. I am the only Ukrainian student on campus. I appreciate any help and support from other students, faculty, and staff. If you want to help Ukrainian armed forces - at least read verified sources, do not spread fakes, and try to understand the minimum of what our nation is going through. The shift of values changed my life forever. What is the point to have a car if you cannot go anywhere? What is the point to have a house if you cannot live in it? What is the point of friendship if you do not care about each other when it is needed the most? Why are civilians suffering when they just live in their homes?

I tried to put all my knowledge and experience into this paper because I grew up under threat of attack and constant fear. If you have any questions or want to know more, talk in person – do not hesitate to contact me. My aim is to make you realize that everything is not that simple and people are fighting to have a home.

You can reach out to me by email - or call +1-902-578-96-04

Editor's note : for additional information you can refer to the following links

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