What are the little joys of military life?

Old woman at the train station in Kyiv. Photo Pryadko Denys UNIAN

The war has been going on for almost two years now, and despite the existential threat and total mobilisation of society, there are bright moments, happiness and joy. Birth of children, marriage, recovery, liberation from occupation, return of relatives from the war, and even personal achievements or everyday trifles are all reasons to enjoy positive moments. The human psyche is quite flexible, so Ukrainians quickly adapted to the conditions dictated by uncertain wartime. As they often say, life goes on, and you should be able to enjoy every moment of happiness. Especially when it comes to children, who should be distanced from the horrific realities as much as possible and distracted as much as possible in order not to traumatise them and prevent problems in the future.

After Russia’s invasion, the country did not freeze in anticipation of the inevitable. On the contrary, the society mustered all its strength to resist and help the army hold back the offensive and, in some places, destroy the enemy in a way that had never been done before. No one was sure what would happen tomorrow – there was only the here and now. And it was the realisation of this simple fact that changed everyone. The value system underwent a dramatic shift. You need very little to be happy, and you should make the most of life and enjoy every hour and day you live.

Only after understanding this can one fully comprehend the fact that in a country where the largest war since the Second World War is taking place, coffee shops, restaurants, shopping and entertainment centres, delivery services, online shopping, books are still open, and new publishing houses are being established. In general, the country seems to continue to live as before. But this is not the case – everyone understands that the above is critical to the economy and, therefore, to the country’s life and its ability to resist the enemy.

No one is saying that we should throw loud parties or lavish banquets, but restaurateurs and entertainment business owners are among the most active volunteers and always join in to support the Armed Forces. And this is true of most conscious businesses, which are fully aware that there is a war going on and that Ukrainians should be provided with conditions that give them a sense of “normalcy, ” albeit ephemeral. Of course, there are always exceptions and negative cases, but in general, the service and entertainment sector functions to compensate for the depressing atmosphere of reality.

Acceptance or “escape” from reality

The inability to influence the tectonic shifts in the country and to protect themselves from daily threats encourage the majority of the population to keep the negative in a kind of “crisis” bubble that does not allow them to completely lose heart, give up and accept the tragedy of truly historic proportions, which is very depressing and overwhelming. Therefore, this isolation of the “bad” and the attempt to live is only a defence mechanism that allows you to withstand all the trials and find yourself where you are most useful.

Even a banal morning ritual, such as buying coffee at your favourite coffee shop or having dinner in a cosy restaurant, is worth a lot. And for parents with children, it is important to continue to try to create conditions for the kids that could distract them from the tragedy, total uncertainty and a sense of threat. This can’t be done by just sitting at home or walking on the playground – visits to entertainment centres or other public facilities help to maintain a somewhat healthy atmosphere in the family and give children the childhood that the Russians are stealing from them. But they are also stealing children – hundreds of thousands of children taken to Russia, torn away from their families and separated from their parents, are almost impossible to bring back home.

And many will never see their father, mother, husband, wife, son or daughter, friend or relative again, those who were taken by the war, who gave their lives in the confrontation with the enemy. They will no longer feel joy. Those grieving for the loss either “close” themselves or, on the contrary, are present as much as possible where they are most useful: in the army, volunteering, social or public life. It all depends on the character and support. And it is then that the feelings become more acute and the realisation comes that we should appreciate everything that life gives us.

Instead of a conclusion!

The war takes tens and hundreds of lives every day. The enemy launches devastating attacks on civilians, destroys civilian and critical infrastructure, and destroys cultural and historical monuments. The aggressor is wiping out entire towns and villages – what was written in books about the Nazis during the Second World War, Ukrainians see with their own eyes in the performance of those who foaming at the mouth “condemned” the crimes of the past, thus equating the concepts of “Nazism = racism”. However, racism is a much more dangerous phenomenon in today’s context, as it poses more global threats, thus not provoking a decisive response from the civilised world, which, although it has issued a declarative condemnation, is still inclined to “feed” the Kremlin tyrant with concessions and concessions that only increase Putin’s appetite and encourage him to commit even more daring acts and crimes.

A series of wars of aggression and the dictator’s public statements about his plans to restore Russia’s former “power” by conquering and destroying its neighbours are unfortunately perceived with a certain amount of scepticism in the world. While Ukraine is experiencing the full fury of the Kremlin’s bloody machine, Western partners (fortunately, not all of them) are hesitating to support and help, believing that Putin will stop at what he has won and will not go further, i.e., to other countries. However, as history teaches us (and some people don’t), dictators have never stopped at what they have achieved, and it is only a matter of time before the war of aggression continues. Putin has very little of it left, and this motivates him to move at a rapid pace to fulfil his own sick and perverted dream of going down in history by destroying global peace.

SRT Fondas
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