I wish I could say ‘good day, good morning or good night,’ but sadly since the Russian invasion into my country I have not had a single good day, good night, or good morning. On the morning of the invasion, I was woken up with a voice message and text messages from my older sister who lives in Ukraine. I will never forget the way my heart stopped and my throat closed when I heard her say “it’s started, they’re bombing us”.
For most of you, the news of the Ukrainian invasion was shocking, upsetting but ultimately it did not affect your quality of life or that of your family. I am the only one from my family in Ireland, the rest are in Ukraine or America. I remember frantically calling my grandparents, my father and my sister all day asking what happened, why it happened and what was going on. There were tensions before the invasion but I thought they could avoid it, I really truly hoped they could avoid it.
My city is very central and is one of the closest to the Kyiv oblast, which has been heavily shelled and bombed in a futile attempt to capture our capital and assassinate our president. I always dreamed about being on RTÉ or the radio, I worked hard towards my journalism goals, but I didn’t expect that the reason my dreams would come true is that my people are suffering.
I’ve seen more dead bodies in a week than I have in my entire life, I can no longer sleep, eat or function as a human being. Ukrainian channels are running 24-hour marathons of only confirmed news, and for the first five to six days I had been glued. Every morning I text my family, not good morning but “Are you okay?”, “Are you safe?”, “Are you alive?”
I’m touched that the world has responded loudly to the unjust and inhumane Russian invasion of my country, the support has been overwhelming and very touching. Unfortunately as of right now nothing is certain, no one is truly safe, but the Ukrainian army has shown the world that we can and will fight the aggressor, we will send them back to where they came from and we will protect our independent country.
As of the latest news, my godmother and her young son are hiding in the metro with multiple families and daily there are bombs falling above them. This is not normal, and this is not what I expected in the 21st century in the first year we regained some normality since Covid-19. People keep asking if I need anything or if I’m okay and I feel so guilty because I’m here, I’m safe, my family are the ones suffering. My young cousins are the ones hiding in basements and bathtubs. I know I’ll wake up tomorrow morning, but do they?
I do my best to help inform people and help in any way that I can, I attended multiple protests in Dublin including the one on Saturday 5th. It is so touching to see how many Irish people stand in unity with my Ukrainian people, my brothers and sisters and my nation. I believe that the Ukraine will win, it’s not a question of “if” its a question of “when”, and I invite you all to have the biggest sesh of your life once this is all over, and Ukraine once again has its’ beautiful blue sky.