We live in a permanent state of horror, disbelief, and abhorrence for almost two weeks. And I've already seen hundreds if not thousands of burning houses, wounded ordinary people, and destroyed neighborhoods by the Russian army. I cannot express the utter shock, anger, and sadness I feel. But it's what I saw today that finally broke me, touched me to the core. A family, father, mother, and their two kids with a dog trying to flee. A bomb falls directly on them. You can still hear the dog barking after the family is instantly killed in the video. The children appear to be of the same age as my own. Their baggage is next to them, intact on the street. The kids still have their backpacks on them, and their winter coats are carefully buttoned up. Two water bottles lay a bit farther, with some blood on them.
I learned from Twitter that the mother's name is Tatyana Perebeynos, and she worked for an IT startup in Irpen, Kyiv oblast. They couldn't leave earlier because of her sick mother. The picture here is from the before-the-war edition of google maps and is taken at the exact place where the attack was geolocalized. The family was fleeing through what they believed was a safe evacuation corridor for civilians. The Russian army didn't cease the shelling, however. I can't stop thinking about the final moments of this family. How did they finally decide to leave? Where did they intend to go? How did the kids choose what to pack in their small backpacks and what to leave behind them, knowing that they might never see their home or toys again? How did they calm their scared dog? We will never know. What we know is that the shame and disgrace will stay with those who support Putin's regime and this senseless war. What we also know is that the war is not over, and there are things we can do to help. Places where to donate, are at your fingertips. More sanctions can and should be activated. And most importantly, liberty and democracy can still win.
Kids asked today why there is a war. What can I say? Some people have lost all hope, they are like empty shells with no light inside, and in their darkness, they seek power, they want to take control of others, and when they don't get what they want, they try to hurt as many people as they can. One of these is the current president of the Russian Federation, who prefers to murder people rather than respect them. But the disease is widespread. The seeds of this darkness can be detectable in every attempt to dominate others, to humiliate others, and in every attempt to destroy everything around when one is losing. What we see now is an amplified zoom on the darkness of a bully who has become world-level powerful but feels threatened. In his final act of domination, he would prefer to see the world burn rather than let go. But there is hope. The strong opposition to Russian aggression of Ukraine that the free people are manifesting all over the world, including in Russia, gives hope. Let us hope, the governments follow and the war ceases quickly. Only genuine democracy and respect for everyone can protect us from the rise of powerful bullies. That's the message I think I will deliver tonight to my kids. And I genuinely hope that that's the last time they have to ask why there is a war.
P.S. It turns out that the father of the family is alive. Here is a video where he provides more explanation of what happened exactly.