A couple of days ago, I went to the main train station in my city. There is an information point and legal and material help for refugees from the war in Ukraine. At the beginning of the war, there were not many people seeking help there — refugees were going to different places in southern and central Poland. But since a week or so ago, there are more and more refugees coming here as well.
I went there to ask if I can be of any help. People working/volunteering there told me that they already have enough people there to help refugees, but any help with dry foods, instant meals, and personal hygiene products would be appreciated. So I send the word around the family, and yesterday I took bags and bags and cartons upon cartons full of the wanted stuff there. I was also told that what they really need there are sweets for young children who come there — something to take their worries away, even if just for a minute. Obviously, there were a lot of candies and chocolates among the stuff I brought from my family.
And there were plenty of children there. Children with mothers. I didn’t see any men there — they stayed back to fight the invaders. Mothers and children were getting the help quickly and professionally there — with referrals for places to stay and care packages for the first days. But there was no mistaking the fear in children. Taken from the safety of their homes, the safety of their schools, the safety of their friends, the safety of their known world. Traveling with their mothers and just basic stuff that can be taken in a backpack, on the trains and buses to a foreign country. Not knowing the fate that will await them or their families that stayed behind. Real, palpable fear in their eyes and body language.
This is the war as well. There are no bombs falling around here, but those children are victims of war as well — even if they will get a safe home and warm meal for now. Or a candy or chocolate. They will be scarred for life from the fright of running away from their homes. From what was their whole childhood. War is hell on so many levels that it is beyond my understanding why is it still waged on. What kind of monster a does person need to be to send soldiers and bombs and artillery to attack a different nation? To kill some and make others run away. To create and instill fear in millions of people. To create a generation of children who will carry their scars on their minds and their souls for the rest of their lives.
And if I hear again any people talking bullshit about how those refugees have it good with all the care they receive, I will not get mad. I will invite them to come with me to the train station, to the refugees’ help center there, and see (and maybe even help) those scared children themselves. No one chooses to become a refugee, no one chooses to be frightened and scared. We, who have it so good, can only help in any way possible