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  • Writer's pictureNery Duarte

Ukraine, June/22

"In the short term, there may be winners and losers in this war that we all dread. But that never can, nor never will justify the suffering, pain and loss of life your weapons will cause." Mother Teresa

Madrid, Spain; June/21: While visiting my daughter Andrea in Europe, I stopped in Madrid, where I saw the Guernica. It is the mural created by Pablo Picasso in memory of Guernica. This farming village suffered from the German Air Force's indiscriminate aerial bombing during the Spanish civil war while acting in support of Spanish dictator Franco. Picasso based his masterpiece on the events in the spring of 1937 when this farming town was obliterated, a village with no strategic military value. Air bombers dropped hundreds of explosive ordinances, reducing the village to rubble. It was an aerial saturation bombing over a civilian population designed to intimidate. The Guernica painting intensely portrays human suffering, death and dying.

Pidhaine, Kyiv; June/22: The Russian invasion of Ukraine was preceded by indiscriminate aerial bombing of dozens of communities that lay along the way from the Belarussian and Russian border towards Kyiv, the Ukrainian capital. Pidhaine is a farming village between Belarus and Kyiv and happened to be on the path of the Russian army. The aerial carpet bombing by the Russian air force was nondiscriminatory. Dozens and dozens of civilian homes and apartment buildings along the direction of the invading army were either obliterated or badly damaged. The loss of property, livestock and crops is indescribable. For a long-time, farmland will not bear crops until the unknown amounts of mines, and undetonated ordinances are cleared. None of the destroyed villages we passed by on our way to Chornobyl had significant military value, so I asked my relief team leader why an army would choose to do such indiscriminate destruction. "To inflict terror," he responded. After pausing, he added, "In a war, fear is the most pervasive weapon…." My attention reversed to the memories of the horror described by Vietnamese families who endured aerial carpet bombing performed by the US air force over their farming villages.

With Samaritan Purse's and Canadian donor's support, our rescue/relief unit has come to this community to provide relief. We are building shelters, repairing homes, providing agricultural supplies and food, and giving hope to those who bravely decided to stay behind mostly the elderly, the disabled, the vulnerable, and tragically the most affected.

"The LORD God has told us what is right and what he demands: 'See that justice is done, let mercy be your first concern, and humbly obey your God.'" Micah


Following is a picture gallery of my journey through Pidhaine:

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