I met Igir in the kitchen this morning, busily making a pot of coffee for everyone, breakfast for Daria and cereal for himself, and couldn’t help but notice as he skipped into place at each point of duty—how vibrant he seemed. ‘Pani Amber, I have the most exciting news! I have heard from my parents, and they are safe after a very dangerous road,’ he burst out suddenly with news that came through all in one breath. I gave him such a hug, which he cheerfully accepted.
Igir’s parents were able to escape from a town near Kharkiv in occupied Ukraine.* They are in their early sixties, in good health and Igir is their only child. The road they had to travel was mined on either side with undetonated bombs placed there by the Russian Army. It’s the width of the vehicle that determines whether you die or break out. A car, for example, will have more of a chance at this than a bus or military transportation. This is designed to keep civilians in and humanitarian aid out.
He said he was on the phone with them throughout yesterday. He was radiant. His parents made it back to their apartment, which has not suffered much damage, and his mother was of two minds about coming to Poland. ‘What about our things?’ she asked. ‘We’ll buy new things,’ he reassured. ‘Mama’, he consoled her, ‘We have each other, our lives. We have to begin again and remember that the most important thing is each other, our lives.’ He says this a lot: ‘Our lives.’
‘I told her this, Pani Amber, and she agreed. She said okay, they will come.’
The car is in Daria’s name so they can’t cross through Russian territory into Lithuania; they must come by way of another border, in this case, Poland.
Igir was beside himself with joy. And that was even before I revealed we had one more room available: Room 7. It’s small but has a double bed, a private shower and a lovely view.
To see the upsurge in his excitement was quite something to behold. It’s a day of noticing how the human spirit can overcome its obstacles.
We are looking at renting a small house here in the village for an overflow of residents. We are creating an artist’s studio for those who express themselves in this way. We are providing two sewing machines for others who are professional seamstresses. One of our mothers makes wedding dresses.
Yes, to weddings, painting, drawing, dancing, writing plays, reading poetry, making movies, studying Polish—yes, to this; yes, to the human spirit which will not be defeated by the scourge of war.
G. sent me a link to an article in the European Journal of Psychoanalysis. I admit at first it did upset me. But then I came back to center and realised that engaging in a political argument with another who attempts to psychologise it is a trap. As hair raising as this article reads, it’s important that it be read. It represents a serious and dangerous breakdown of human ethics, of a moral code in peril.
And I would ask from all of us reading this today to consider that Ukraine is not the only place in the world suffering from the disruption and chaos of war.
How do we, as individuals, keep an eye on our code of conduct?