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Hello, World!

I know you’re watching us right now. Through Poland’s scared eyes. France’s uncertain gestures. Germany’s measured moves. Latvia’s nervous outcries. Hungary’s skeptical shrugs. Italy’s relaxed humming. Israel’s impenetrable silence. The USA and Canada’s distant shouts. And through the eyes of a hundred other countries, too. You’re watching awkwardly. Often, you lower your eyes. Especially, when we cover our children with our own bodies during yet another airstrike. And when you finally find the heart to raise your eyes again, you watch in amazement. All those glances exchanged, “What kind of place is this Ukraine, anyway? They pepper her with Grads, yet still, she stands. They blanket her with cruise missiles, yet still, she stands. They throw god damn tanks at her from all directions — yet still, she stands. Many tell her plainly, “I’m very sorry and deeply concerned, but…”

…to which she responds, “Now, that’s a shame — well, I’m off to shoot some planes, see ya.” Some try to rub the nuclear button in her face, but she just laughs and goes on making more Bandera smoothies [A freshly coined colloquial name for Molotov cocktail — Ed.]

The world is holding its breath, the world goes on panic buying of iodine — yet still, she stands. What kind of steel is this Ukraine made from? What is so special about the milk she has been nursed on? Or is it something about the food the thousands of volunteers feed her warriors?

You know, World, you really wouldn’t know. We ourselves haven’t, probably, known for real until now. We haven’t known we possess such power. Such fortitude, too; and such love. Even though they always have been there. Buried under the ruins of Sovok and Russki Mir, under the feathers of doves of peace and the branches of trees of love. They rested there, waiting to explode. But this explosion wouldn’t bring fear. Fear is what you are feeling right now, World. We feel something else entirely.

First of all, we are in rage. For every child murder. For each devastated life. Each ruined dream. This rage is what gives us strength.

Then, we feel freedom. For the first time. And for real. It feels most vivid and strong. It is bare, vulnerable and overwhelming at the same time. This freedom is what gives us strength.

Finally, we feel love. So much of it. The kind that makes the most distant people close. Everyone becomes your family. Millions of hands now are paving the road to victory, each one contributing its own bit. This love is what gives us strength.

Therefore, fear not, our dear World. We stand guard. And if you feel too shy to ask, we’ll give you the answer: yes, Spring will come — and it will come in blue and yellow colours. Regardless of whether you are fearful or not.

Stay strong, kittens!

March 8, 5:41 p.m.

Ukrainian Text by Olena Pshenychna. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team – Mar 27, 2022

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