An American in U-Krane

I was sitting around my hotel the other day and I met an American named Tom who was in Ukraine looking to develop modular housing for refugees. Tom is perhaps your stereotypical Texan with a booming voice, colourful vocabulary, and no-nonsense attitude towards life. As a fellow humanitarian in Ukraine looking to help, Tom and I had lots to talk about and we soon became fast friends.

Every morning, Tom and I would sit together, have breakfast and numerous coffees and watch life in Kyiv walk by. One day after tucking into a great Bursa hotel breakfast, Tom started to philosophise about Ukraine, Texas style.”That was the best god damn scrambled eggs and bacon I have ever had! and I’m in Kyiv!”

“This ain’t Russia! This is Europe!”

I wholeheartedly agree with Tom as I believe that the story that is often missed in the press coverage of the war in places like Canada and the U.S. is how similar life is in Kyiv to life in any other western city. Everyone dresses nice, the food is top-notch, people are driving Teslas around all over the place and food delivery, ride sharing and Internet banking are all commonplace. 

There is a war raging in the East and Kyiv is under almost daily air bombardment by Russia but this is still Europe in all its forms. It is easy to get detached from reality in war time Ukraine when all you see is death and destruction of remote villages in your Instagram feed but if you heard air raid sirens 3 times a day in your town, your children were dying when their schools were bombed, and your fancy Tesla was stolen from your garage by an enemy soldier, you might relate better to why the Ukrainians need to win this war. 

This is not just any war, it is a war on all of us who believe in life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“Come to U-Krane or Shut Up!”

“If more of my friends in America came to U-Krane, they would be just like me and never want to leave!”  This is also true, in fact, I believe that if you, dear reader, came to Kyiv for 2 weeks and walked the beautiful tree lined streets past thousand year old gold domed churches and groups of children playing, you wouldn’t want to leave either.

“I ain’t gonna be popular among my friends when I get home!” exclaimed Tom; he does a lot of exclaiming, Texas style. “All my freinds are always asking me, Why the hell are you going to U-Krane?” and “Why are we spending all this money on the war there?” 

“I’m gonna tell these folks to shut up and stop talking about the war in U-Krane and whether we should be sending money until they come to U-Krane themselves!” “Then I’ll talk to them about supporting U-Krane!”

“God Damnit I want to get my guns!”

When we talked about the war, Tom almost jumped out of his seat and said “I’m so pissed off with the god damn U.S, government for not sending every god damn gun, bullet, tank and airplane we have to U-Krane!”  “These wonderful people are fighting a god damn war against a bunch of god damn murderers and we’re too chicken sh*it to give them everything they need to win!”

If Tom, your typical conservative, gun-toting Texan can come to Kyiv you can too, and if you do you, will understand why Ukraine is one of “us” and why we need to defend them just like we would defend a friendly neighbour, just like we defended Europe in 2 world wars. If more of us were like Tom, this war would be over and we could all go back to living our lives in peace, like we all deserve, especially  Ukrainians.

Slava UkrainiHeroiam Slava!