Magical Cure

We are doing care packages for the homeless at church, so I went to the Dollar Store to get a bunch of stuff. I’m mentioning this not in order to show off my charitable contributions but to explain why it took me 15 minutes to get checked out.

The cashier asked about my Ukrainian badge, I started to explain, and gradually the whole line and people at the next cash register joined in the conversation. Everybody is very supportive and well-informed. A woman started praying for Ukraine to be accepted in the NATO. I said that the NATO should be so lucky for Ukraine to accept it. People cheered. It was really good. God bless American people.

By the way, the situation at the front line got much better, so now I’m cured. I still can’t hear with the impacted ear but everything else magically improved overnight. My health, apparently, is in the hands of the Ukrainian Armed Forces.

What Really Happened at the UEFA Game in Paris

There was a UEFA Champions League game at the Stade de France in Paris yesterday. The game was delayed as the police massed attendees outside, turning them into sitting ducks for gangs of marauders. Police stood by indifferently as gangs of 20-30 young men assaulted attendees, stole their wallets and phones, and sexually molested young girls. Stade de France is located in Saint-Denis, which is a heavily immigrant area. Young men who might be second or third generation but still not remotely integrated form these gangs and terrorize anybody they come in touch with.

At the UEFA game, police pepper-sprayed the attendees who were trying to get away from the harassment by these gangs. But there was absolutely no reaction to anything that the marauders did in plain view.

This isn’t even being reported. All you see in the reports is that the game was delayed because the fans are somehow to blame. That the fans were assaulted and robbed en masse doesn’t get mentioned. That young girls were molested nobody cares about “in the age of #MeToo.” Chances are, if you know nobody who went to the game, you won’t even find out about this.

The problem with these roving gangs of hooligans in France has gotten worse over the past 15 years but the only thing that’s changed is that nobody even talks about it anymore. I remember reading an account by a Ukrainian traveler in France 15 years ago where a small group of young immigrant men harassed passengers on a train and nobody dared to make a peep except for the skinny female Ukrainian traveler. Everybody else seemed to think they deserved the mistreatment.

The Luckiest Children

Being around people right now feels like being rubbed with sandpaper on all sides. Company – especially the kind that requires a lot of effort – is torture. But I had to take Klara to a backyard party at her new friend’s house. Everybody there was a complete stranger. These are lovely people but I’d rather pick cucumbers in a field all day (yes, I have that experience from the Soviet kolkhoz) than make small talk at this moment in my life.

In any case, though, Klara had an amazing time. I looked at her and the other kids and thought, these are the luckiest children in the history of the world. Swings, a trampoline, a slip-and-slide, sprinklers, baby deer walking around, hot dogs, apricots, cherries, and nobody yelled at them or tried to edit their behavior in any way all evening.

It’s funny how one can be in great discomfort yet simultaneously extremely happy for somebody else to the point that the discomfort no longer matters. I’m observing American childhood from the sidelines, and it’s a great experience.