Joy, hope and aspirations have been stripped away in the blink of an eye. How they must long for the routine – the mundane and the predictability of knowing day will follow night and things will be the same, they will be safe.
Whilst the plight of Ukrainians now, today, is real and acute, the ramifications reach further and wider. Other significant refugee crises such as those in Afghanistan and Yemen have faded into the background. Swathes of Africa continue to endure famine and poverty and are very likely to drop off the public radar.
However, at the very bottom of the well of public sympathy – the nadir of support and empathy – are the Russian people.
Several years ago I spent a number of days in Moscow. I walked a lot, sailed on the river and saw first hand the very different lives of the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’. I visited the iconic buildings which are symbols of fear and power, such as the Lubyanka and the Kremlin.
Overwhelmingly the people I met were kind, courteous and keen to try their (often excellent) English skills. I only had to pull out a map and someone stopped to help! I wonder where they are now? What do they know? What do they think? Will London and the wish-list of every tourist coming west ever happen again or will (for the most part) blameless and civilised people be forever globally vilified?
Written by: Diana McQueen