|Statue of poet Taras Shevchenko|
on Lugansk university campus.
Vovo is the director of an important NGO in Lugansk. His only crime is fighting for local government transparency and citizen participation in accordance with Ukrainian law. A loyal Ukrainian professional, educated, informed and compassionate, Vovo is considered a "fascist."
"It is not safe. It's the way it is now." He is matter of fact. He covers any fear with a touch of stoicism, so like a Ukrainian in the face of danger. He shows no anger, only understanding of the situation he is in, that his country is in. "It's the way it is now."
Vovo cannot do his work, cannot live openly, cannot meet with friends, can't be with his family and loved ones, because a bunch of pro-Russian terrorists, armed and violent, have taken over his city and designated him an enemy. Many of his friends and colleagues have been hurt and jailed. Hundreds of people have disappeared, some of whom Vovo knew.
I want Vovo to be able to go home again. I want ordinary people of eastern Ukraine to be safe. I want my friends who are feeding and caring for the young Ukrainian soldiers to stop worrying about gunfire, tanks and death. "I weep for these young men, most only 19 years old. They are still children, and they are under fire, looking death in the eye," wrote my friend Olga.
Once some stability returns, then I hope that good people are chosen to lead local transition governments that were occupied by the separatists, and I pray that president Petro Poroshenko will support them.
|Ancient fertility goddesses from an archeological dig, in |
a sculpture garden on the campus, a hidden treasure trove
|Happier times. Taking a seminar|
break to enjoy spring on campus,
|The Starobelsk branch of the Lugansk Taras Shevshenko|
National University. My friend Natalia teaches English there.