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We are alive!

“Aren’t you afraid to die?” They will ask.

“Aren’t you afraid you’re already dying?” I will answer.

Only three months ago, I would leave my apartment having checked whether I’d taken my mask. Today I am checking whether I have my helmet, body armor, and rifle. Only two years ago, Ukrainians were afraid to go outside — they tried to avoid the risk of getting sick. Now hundreds of thousands of Mykolaiv citizens are staying in the town despite being shelled by russian artillery every night. Long nights under the shining of the Milky Way, with the sounds of shell launching, whistling, and it's hitting something — a perfect time to ruminate. Here you irreversibly start thinking about death. But with the same vigor, you enjoy your life.

That cult of safety we’d been living in until recently is, as a matter of fact, nothing but a cult of death — a long-lasting, boring, and grey one. All over the world, millions of men are dying slowly and boringly in comfortable offices. Somewhere in the depths of their souls, they are lured by death, so they look for it in alcohol, drugs, and speeding. But this kind of end is void and ultimate because it emerges out of egoism, weakness, and despair.

Yes, to feel the taste of the life you have to gaze into the eyes of death. But only when you’re ready to sacrifice yourself for something bigger than you are. The life of a man is measured in the total amount of his decisions and actions, and not by the total amount of years he’s lived. Is it frightening to die? It is frightening to meet God and to realize that you have wasted time given by Him. That you don’t have enough deeds behind you. That you haven’t done anything for God, who had given this life to you.

Here, in Ukraine, we are not fighting against the Russian Federation or Putin. We are fighting against Evil. The modern russian state, its government, and its "special operation" are built on lies. The devil is the father of lies. The absolute worst things existing in this world all started with lies. The most repulsive thing is that all Russian crimes are happening under the slogans of “spirituality”. A long time ago, their so-called “church” had turned into a governmental structure aimed to consecrate the slaughters and console the souls of murderers. This is not a crime against Ukraine. This is a crime against Christ.

The fact that we are fighting against evil does not mean that we all became virtuous automatically. The fact that putin has his opponents does not mean that these opponents are all now on the side of good automatically. The devil has two arms. There are powers who love talking about tolerance, nonviolence, and human rights. And love doing nothing. On the way to the office, they would donate the amount of money spent on coffee to the foundation for the children from Popasna — but then continue making money on Russian oil. Obviously, only to build a safe world of freedom, tolerance and equity. Or an alternative world of conservative family values. The slogans are irrelevant. The fruits are relevant. “You will know them by their fruits”.

The full-scale war has been going on in Ukraine for three months now. And the western world is living its normal everyday life. The news and Ukrainian refugees on the streets remind Europe that there is a great war going on. But soon these bourgeois citizens will be tired of the war on TV because scenes from Bucha and Mariupol are not good for their digestion. The urge to persuade Ukrainians to negotiate with Putin for peace whatever it takes will rise, for they can’t stand a 10% price increase. And there would be politicians eager to tell everyone that Ukrainians are also guilty of something, so they have to pay by giving something up. And the war? Well, it is somewhere far away. It will never come to their own streets because there is no reason for that.

A sad irony: even after 2014 many people in Ukraine had the same delusion. Until February 24, woken up by explosions in their towns. I don’t know whether these rockets will be launched from the russian Federation territory. But I am sure, that someday it will happen in Hungary, Germany, and Italy. Because unpunished evil will grow.

Russia is ruining our cities and our homes. Thousands of children are mutilated. Every day, hundreds of fighters are dying on the battlefield. But Ukraine is not the one dying. Old Europe is. Here, in the regions of Donbas, Kherson, Zaporizhzhia, and Kharkiv, a new life is being born. Here a new world is being born, where words about freedom are not senseless because this freedom is consecrated with blood. Where the true values are bravery and mutual support. Where hundreds of men and women are ready to sacrifice themselves for their children’s right to be themselves and to live the way they want.

The lie will dissolve. The evil will devour itself. Let the dead bury the dead. For we are alive and will continue to live!

Ukrainian Text by Andrii Rybalko, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Jun 16, 2022

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