It’s not only Ukraine as a place, as cities, villages, fields and buildings that I don’t want to see destroyed. I’m also deeply attached to the idea of Ukraine. To what Ukraine was starting to become in the past 8 years.
A real nation that was going to show the world that the nation-state is not dead.
A country that happily, openly and very loudly embraced and celebrated the Western Civilization even when the Western Civilization seemed eager to undo itself and drown in a sea of stupid, idiotic guilt.
Democracy without wokeness and socialism.
A sense of humor that the West painfully needs.
A desire to take pride in resilience and strength and not in snowflakery and mental issues.
Love of history without self-flagellation.
A real free press.
It was a long and bumpy road with a million setbacks like everything worth anything in life. But it was starting to happen. I had left Ukraine in 1998 because I didn’t believe this was going to happen in my lifetime. I didn’t think Ukrainians were going to abandon the USSR and shake off its totalitarian torpor.
But then they did.
Seeing the results of the painful, hard reforms being bombed to the ground hurts. The reforms aren’t vague conversations. I’m talking about buildings, roads, schools, bridges, factories, businesses, restaurants, stores. All that was built in recent years. The reforms were tangible, physical, you could see them and touch them. And now it’s all rubble and dust.
All of those buildings, hospitals, schools, and roads were the reason why Russians got rabid and invaded. You know which city stood out in terms of the reforms? Which city had experienced a miraculous transformation before the war? It was so amazing that I saw articles about it in the foreign press. Want to know the city’s name? It’s Mariupol. And look what the Russian envy and hatred did to it.