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Yesterday I was supposed to write about the two villages I visited the other day, as part of my blog series dedicated to discovering all the Dutch provinces. I woke up feeling depleted, with a sore throat and pain all over my body (the Covid test was negative), but I was still determined to work on my articles. Then I saw the news: “Russia invades Ukraine”. It was not unexpected, because of the recent developments, and because, as any respectable anxious person, I always expect the worst. Though, it’s one thing to expect something awful and another to see it happening. It’s difficult to comprehend how at the moment where our part of the world is right now, civilisation-wise, such barbaric things can still happen, and we let it.

Hearing the sirens and watching the tanks raised my anxiety level to very high, and I couldn’t go on with my day as planned. Instead, I lay on the couch all day long, taking paracetamol and watching the news, with the occasional break for random videos on YouTube (but soon I realised I couldn’t follow them, so I stayed with the news).

” How about tomorrow?”. I was thinking.” What shall I do tomorrow? How can one continue life as usual when the war comes almost at its door?”. I felt speechless, I couldn’t say or do anything. I might be living in the Netherlands, but my native country, Romania, shares a border with Ukraine, and my family and friends are even closer to the war. While browsing social media, I noticed some accounts didn’t mention the situation at all, others showed their support for the Ukrainian people, some sharing information about how to help. I am a blogger from the Netherlands, writing about travel and lifestyle. I’m no political analyst, no specialist in anything that would give me any reason to talk about the war. No one comes to this blog for political or military analysis. Posting a flag and a few words on a social media account seems of no impact. Continuing writing about my usual subjects, with no mention of the horrible acts unfolding at our door, didn’t seem right either.

Photo by Olga Subach on Unsplash

Last night I dreamt I joined a large group of Europeans who went to Ukraine to help them fight. My Russian friends were there too, with us. Unfortunately, I’m afraid I wouldn’t be of much use if I would try that in real life. I might wish I could do something about it, but I am powerless.

If I would have any other job, I would continue doing it as usual; no company will stop its wheels because there is war close by. Not yet, at least. The obvious solution would be to continue what I was doing until now. The question is: how do I find the resources, the motivation? How does anyone find the motivation to go on with their daily tasks in this situation? How can I write about beautiful villages in the Netherlands while some people slept in a metro station last night, frightened?

The thing is, this is not my first time facing this dilemma. There was always some war happening in the world, permanent humanitarian crisis, animals being mistreated. I used to watch the news only once or twice a month, because every time I did so I felt like crying. The torment of writing about travel or great restaurants while there are so many terrible things happening in the world was a recurrent problem for me. Constantly, I would get worked up in my mind that instead of fighting for change, fighting for a cause, I’m writing silly articles. After much deliberation (and because I realised I can fight for causes in better ways), I’ve made a choice, a while back: like Dolores, the robot-gone-crazy from Westworld, I would choose to see the beauty in this world; I would share that beauty. I would focus on beautiful places and people who bring beauty to the world. Occasionally, I would write about the causes I cared for (environment, animal rights), but only to present solutions, not to show the horrors and point fingers.

Now, when the war is threatening to enter my bubble of safety, becoming an even closer reality, is very hard to stand by that decision. How long can one avoid the disarray of the world, when it’s almost entering their house? Thinking about us continuing the normal life makes me think about a documentary I watched about the WWII, where they were showing how, while Hitler was busy starting the war, people of Europe, including Germany, would sunbathe and enjoy their holiday, undisturbed (or at least it seemed that way in the images). It was a bit of a shock to see how people looked undisturbed by the unimaginable things happening next to them. For me, it seemed that they should have known, they should have understood the gravity of the situation and do something to stop it. Look at us now: we know, we understand, but what can we do? Apart from donating or protesting against it? We still have to go on with our jobs, our routines, our “silly” little lives. We have to accept that we are merely pawns in the game and go on (such a cliché, but so very true).

When the pandemic started in 2020, I also felt blocked. It was very hard for me to continue with business as usual. I know I’m insignificant in the grand scheme of things and most probably no one cares about what I’m writing, but it’s important to me. Back then, I started my pandemic stories series, and my pandemic journal. It helped my creative self to get over the moment. I’m thinking if I can do something similarly now, to feel I’m doing something, but nothing comes to mind. If you have any ideas, please send them to me.

I will perhaps decide to continue with my regular articles, as long as I’m still able to do it, after a little break, to wait for the shock to dissipate. Maybe I will just stay silent, blocked, speechless. I’ll continue to support my Ukrainian and Russian friends (Russians are upset too about what their president is doing) if they need my support. And I’ll watch the news, helpless, terrified and angry, like most of us.

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  1. I totally agree, especially with the part where you say that life always runs in parallel with atrocities committed at every second somewhere in the world. Life runs in parallel with death, it is a fact. It takes effort to enjoy it when you are aware of all the horrible things happening. Even at times of peace.

    But wars are next level atrocities, especially at this age in the human evolution. And to watch them on your phone? How strange is that? 🙁 So yes, we are hugely affected even if it is not us in the frontline. That’s how empathy works. That is what it means to be a human being.

    For this, I must say it is disturbing for me to digest normal social media content right now – another point I found interesting and relevant in your article. Even if for some of us social media is a job. It is indeed a very visible job, so maybe that is the thing.

    It is easy to jump to conclusions, thinking that someone doesn’t care about the war because they don’t share war related content right now. But I don’t think this deserves attention. Attention should be on ways to help. Blaming others for not helping is a waste of energy. You can decide later how you want to translate to yourself their implication of lack thereof.

    Thanks for the article, it really tackled some contemporary aspects related to this (horrible) situation…

    • Thanks for sharing your opinion! Indeed, we should focus on ways to help instead of policing who is doing or not doing the “right” thing.


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