Thoughts from Kyiv — morning March 10, 2022

Yesterday’s bombing of the maternity hospital in Mariupol was a turning point. Too many emotions. Too much evil. So much determination. This has to be the last time!

My wife and I have four children. Our house (dacha) has now become shelter to two other families, so children are everywhere. Our youngest guest is 14 months old. She is truly beautiful.

How many children will not be born because of this evil war? How many mothers will raise their young without fathers? How many children will die?

How many times in our history has that question been asked? And each time, we survive.

The window I am facing looks out at the rolling hills of Kyiv oblast. Just a dusting of snow. Soon the storks will return and the cherry trees will bloom.

This land has buried more dead in war and terror than any other. Mongols, Tsars, Holodomor, World War II… Bodies. Dead. Killed. Children unborn. Perhaps that is why the earth is so black.

The terrors and wars that Ukrainians have faced throughout our history have scattered us throughout the world. We are a global nation.

But wherever Ukrainians live, they have a home. It is here. That must never change.

Yesterday was the birthday of Taras Shevchenko — Ukraine’s national poet. Shevchenko’s figure has been recreated in 1300 monuments throughout the world. Shevchenko represents what we were and what we’ve become: serfs who gained freedom. He lived here. He is buried here. Home.

Yesterday, my friend and former student Оксана Булава posted a call to our ancestors: simple men and women who farmed this land on which we walk, who once drank the water which now gives us life, who breathed the air of freedom that transcends our genes… You, the Cossacks of our past! We pray for your help and guidance. We ask for your strength in our battle against the evil that has attacked that which is most sacred: our unborn children and the mothers who carry them.

We will survive (yet again). Because this nation is invincible. But why must it always be accompanied by so much sacrifice? Why must our children die?

Why is the earth around Kyiv so black?

* Thoughts from Kyiv is a series of flash essays by Mychailo Wynnyckyj from February 2022

Author: Mychailo Wynnyckyj, Social Scientist, Public Intellectual. Academic Development Officer, Professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy

Illustration: Olga Protasova, plasticine panel fragment

Content Editor: Maryna Korchaka

Program Directors: Julia Ovcharenko and Demyan Om Dyakov Slavitsky