Violence and Healing: We Can Not Give Up

Nikita ZinovievMarch 6, 2023Violence and HealingAwesome Moments
Violence and Healing: We Can Not Give Up

Artwork by Dominik Miñano, age 15

Violence is the use of physical force so as to injure, abuse, damage, or destroy.

Other definitions are also used, such as the World Health Organization's definition of violence as "the intentional use of physical force or power, threatened or actual, against oneself, another person, or against a group or community, which either results in or has a high likelihood of resulting in injury, death, psychological harm, maldevelopment, or deprivation.”

Ukrainians began to experience violence from Russian soldiers on February 24, 2022. Most of us woke up because of the loud explosions nearby at about 5:00 am. All the plans to go to school or work were left in our previous peaceful life. A lot of people had to leave their homes to save themselves.

There were innumerable traffic jams all over the country. The growing panic was seen and felt all over Ukraine. Nobody could believe that the war had started. However, destroyed buildings, tanks in the streets, flying helicopters in the sky, and the air alarm everywhere were extremely convincing. Burned cars and dead bodies looked like the scene of a thriller in the movies. Everybody hoped this film would be over in two hours or less.

My family and I live in Kyiv. There were a lot of people who did not want to leave the city. My parents and I were among them. The authorities had persuaded Ukrainians to prepare their emergency backpacks in case of possible “provocations” from our “brotherhood countries.” An interesting fact was that we packed the Go Bags a day before the war started. Luckily, my mother had listened to her intuition and put the most important things in our rucksacks. However, we did not want to leave the city despite the difficult circumstances. We did not want to go away even when we had to stand in line for 3-4 hours at the store to buy bread. Though the queues were mercilessly shot! How to go? Where to go? This is my city! The place I love! It seemed like a dream… It will not last long… I wanted to believe it so much!

There were air alarms 4-5 times during the night! Anxiety! Going to the shelter: basement, the corridor without the windows or subway stations. Each night was turning into a nightmare. The sound of death-bearing planes and helicopters and rockets caused fear and panic. Every day the situation became worse and more difficult. The lack of electricity, heat, and water especially affected our lives. Charging and using the phone was another challenge, and calling friends and relatives was a daily journey to places where we found a reliable connection.

My mother and I had to leave the city in March 2022. I had been away for six weeks and they were the worst ones. Let me skip telling you about them because this period was the most painful in my life. Seeing countless dead bodies everywhere around will stay in my memory forever.

In a very short period of time my mom and I were really eager to go back to our native city, which is mutilated and scarred, but so dear and beloved. We had to wait for our Ukrainian Armed Forces to drive the enemy away from the outskirts of the city, and until it was possible to return. The waiting time stretched incredibly long.

Luckily, our apartment was fine, though it was extremely intense to see all the destruction around. Numerous people all over the country had lost their homes. Nevertheless, all Ukrainians have combined their efforts to volunteer because it is important to help those who are in need. There are a lot of public organizations all over the country. They are working with the remaining youth and community residents to unite them and teach them how to engage in service activities. Volunteers are conducting events within the framework of the "Country of Free People." There are special centers that feed people hot food, distribute supplies, and share clothes for different seasons. Lots of people organize free master-classes for children of diverse age groups. There are a lot of board game clubs, English and German courses, music classes, ping-pong and fencing clubs, folk and ballroom dance classes, and many more. They are free and looking for support from donors and caring people to help out more children. Every "thank you" is like a battery that gives us strength to move forward!

Ukrainians are doing everything possible to bring our common Victory closer, and believe that this Victory is almost won. We will rebuild! Everything will be even better than it was. We hope we will become better than we were. And we will be free– we will be Ukraine!

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Nikita Zinoviev is ai eighth grade at the Logos School in Kiev, Ukraine. He is interested in the IT sphere and enjoys writing code on his computer. He is also interested in playing football, reading science books, playing computer games, and cooking.