The television boomed with an explosion of cries, yells, and terrifying noises. It was only the start of the crisis in Ukraine, and I had no idea where this would go. While my father’s worried expression concerned me, it wasn’t the only thing on my mind. All my life, I have grown up knowing myself as an American with immigrant parents. I never thought to explore the countries my parents came from. I would hear my father say, “I’m from Odessa. It’s on the Black Sea,” in a thick accent, every time we met someone new. I would take pride in knowing the roots of my family, but did I really know? The answer is no. I did not know. I remember 2014 like it was just yesterday. There would be a news story about Ukraine every single day in the morning about Euromaidan, President Putin, little green men, and violence consuming the region. Now, with presidential candidates, terrorist attacks, and new innovations flooding the daily news, I have seen very few stories about Ukraine. Obviously, this is a typical reaction that occurs with major news events. After the initial all-encompassing media coverage, there is a slow decline, and eventually the novelty wears off and there is no coverage. I’d just like to be the first to say that Ukrainian people deserve more. Just think about it, as of today, according to the United Nations, about 10,000 people have died, and more than 20,000 injured. According to Across the World Adoptions, every 2.2 seconds, an orphan in Ukraine becomes too old to stay in an orphanage, and is left with no family. Oh yes, and one more thing..the war is still going on!
I used to be confused about the actual situation in Ukraine. I could hardly understand the politics, Putin’s reasoning, and what former President Yanukovych did. I dedicated months of research this year to have a deeper understanding of these things. I concluded that the geopolitical, economical, and historical importance of the country made it appeal to Putin. He wanted to stop Ukraine from joining the EU and NATO, fearing the expansion of U.S. military bases, but what price was he willing to pay? The people were furious, especially those in the West who felt strongly about joining the EU and NATO. The result was thousands of Euromaidan protests, and even worse, a war. It’s a shame that people are now suffering all throughout Ukraine. My stomach hurts at the thought of the wounded, and the children whose parents died, and are now in orphanages. The conditions are still terrible, and the news doesn’t seem to be capturing any of it.
For now, my priority is to spread awareness of this very real and current issue. If it is possible for there to be a positive of the dreadful situation in Ukraine, it is that I have a better understanding of my roots and what it means when my father proudly claims his heritage. Ukraine’s predicament is absolutely terrible and isn’t being addressed in the Western media as much as I think it should be. For now, the most important thing is to work together and aid Ukraine. Even a small donation will make a difference.