When the bombs drop my mind zones out.
I can’t think. I can’t sleep.
As a child I had a recurring nightmare from the early Iraq wars. I’d dream that enemy tanks and soldiers were a few streets from my house. I’d hide under my bed, waiting for them to kick down my front door.
Many of these wild fantasies came from all the war books I read, and war movies my older brother made me watch.
Fiction can look like reality for a child.
Then in the early 2000s I watched the war break out in Afghanistan. I remember the first night.
We sat around our TV watching the bombs drop like it was a reality tv show. I ate popcorn. Even though the war was due to a terrorist event, I didn’t like it.
War never seems to solve the problems it promises to fix. We know that now about the Afghanistan War
The Ukrainian Sweetheart
My garage door broke a few days ago. I’ve become the child that didn’t get his favorite flavor of ice cream. Tantrums every day.
Then war broke out in the Ukraine. Suddenly my stupid little garage door seems so dumb. That’s what war does. It puts things in perspective.
I don’t live in a warzone. My family is safe. I don’t have coroni.
One of my best friends is married to a Ukrainian woman. Things aren’t so great for him.
His wife is one of the kindest people I know. She’s spent most of her life living in the Ukraine. When my friend went to visit the country on holiday he met her. It was one of those love at first sight moments.
She eventually moved to Australia and got to experience the freedom and nature we Aussies take for granted.
When their first child arrived I was so happy. He was in his 50s when they had her. His wife was a lot younger.
Many people said behind his back “he’s too old to be a dad. He’ll be a blind grandpa by the time she graduates.”
They brought her to the office. She had her dad’s eyes and her mother was proud. Before long they had a second child together.
While both children are born in Australia, they stay close to their Ukrainian roots. The rest of the family is back in Ukraine.
For the years leading up to the war my friend always told me about the situation they lived in.
“They’re on the brink of war. Her parents have had bombs explode near their house many times.”
To try and help, my friend traveled to Ukraine. He bought them a new house away from the center of the violence. (The whole house-buying process is one I’ll leave for another day. Let’s just say it’s not ‘easy.’)
They settled in their new home.
But things didn’t change that much. He always told me “it’s only a matter of time until war comes.”
His in-laws unfortunately have never been able to leave the country.
When the war broke out I messaged him. As you can imagine he and his wife are both devastated.
All humans around the world want is peace despite our differences.
War is a powerful reminder
Russian podcaster Lex Fridman demonstrates how we should behave in a war.
I stayed up all night talking to people in Ukraine and Russia. I will travel to Russia and Ukraine. I will speak to citizens and leaders, including Putin. War is pain. My words are useless. I send my love, it’s all I have.
While there’s nothing many of us can do as innocent people lose their lives, we can choose love during these moments.
War isn’t worth the cost. War isn’t welcome. Human lives are too valuable. Power corrupts all, even those with good intentions.
It’s vital we share our thoughts and tell world leaders that we do not want war — that’s where I slightly disagree with Lex.
Words do have power. Public words we write online communicate better than our quiet thoughts nobody hears.
If we say nothing, war lives on. Maybe war is inevitable but hopelessness is never the answer to a hard problem.
My friend’s wife and family have been devastated already by the war that’s taken place. We can only hope that they make it out of the warzone before the bombs reach their front door.
We must send our thoughts to the Ukrainian people. This is a time in history to be grateful for peace.
Peace should never be taken for granted.