It seems trite to start with anything like “We are all Ukrainians now”. However, in so many ways, we are. We are all little people, doing our best to get on with our lives, looking after those dear to us.
Then life as we’ve known it explodes, and we are shattered into devastating uncertainties – precisely what’s happening to everyone in Ukraine.
To backtrack 60 years, my parents were remarkably open with me from my earliest days about social issues, e.g., cancer and smoking, sexuality, religion, racism, politics – local and world – and everything in between. I knew about the Holocaust, I knew about Anne Frank and so many other victims, I knew about the nuclear bombing of Japan, Yet I don’t recall ANYTHING about the Cuban Missile Crisis.
I do wonder – and now wish I’d asked them – if they’d decided to adopt media silence as far as I was concerned (I was only 6 years old but was already aware of the dangers of cigarettes and often cried myself to sleep thinking about mum’s smoking.
I was well-aware of the Malaysian/Indonesian war. I knew about the Korean war. I most certainly knew about the Vietnam war. And – unbeknownst to them – I had listened to a dramatisation of the Nuremberg Trials.
The only reason I can imagine is that, for them, it was an existential crisis, and they didn’t want me to know about it until it might have affected Australia.
And I weep for all Ukrainians, all of whom have been children, and for all and every Ukrainian child.