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Nicky Marr: Some of us can do more than just worry about the situation in Ukraine

By Nicky Marr

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Nicky Marr - coach/writer/broadcaster...Picture: Callum Mackay..
Nicky Marr - coach/writer/broadcaster...Picture: Callum Mackay..

How has your week been? If it’s anything like mine you’ll have worked a lot, exercised a little, and caught up with friends and family. But everything you’ll have done will likely have been overlaid with unease, sadness and worry.

The situation in Ukraine is appalling and inescapable. If, by the time you are reading this, Putin has come to his senses, ordered the withdrawal of Russian troops from Ukraine, and reported himself to the International Criminal Court for war crimes, then we can relax. We can get back to worrying about Covid, climate change, and how hospitality businesses across the north are going to find enough staff for the coming tourist season.

But if, as I suspect, the war has escalated further, it’s difficult to know how to feel useful, and difficult not to become overwhelmed with feelings of helplessness, fear, and compassion. Is it enough to show solidarity with the people of Ukraine by adding a blue and yellow flag to your Facebook profile?

A dangerous, despotic, megalomaniac leader is exerting military strength over a neighbouring territory, killing and injuring hundreds, and displacing hundreds of thousands more.

Families are being ripped apart as women and children flee to safety while martial law requires able-bodied men to aid with resistance.

Fear is extending beyond Ukraine with threats from Putin to deploy his nuclear arsenal.

And yet, the world seems to be holding its collective breath, treading water while people die.

Yes, NATO is sending arms to Ukraine, and member countries are reinforcing their troops in eastern Europe. But beyond strong words of condemnation of the Russian President’s aggression, there’s little practical support for the oppressed nation.

It’s difficult to know how to feel useful, and not to become overwhelmed.
It’s difficult to know how to feel useful, and not to become overwhelmed.

Ukraine, despite best efforts since 2008, is not a member of NATO. And if NATO aren’t acting decisively (forgive me if things have changed since I wrote this) what can we do?

When my kids were little and became upset – as we all do – by atrocities and natural disasters across the world, we encouraged them to look for the helpers. For every tsunami or earthquake there would be a following army of humanitarian workers, people offering everything from first aid and clothing, food and water, to those trying to reunite families, provide shelter, and support the bereaved in their grief.

With every war, conflict, or act of terrorism the world over, the same thing follows.

Yes, horrendous things happen, and terrible people exist, but into the darkness come bright beacons of light, in the form of charities and aid workers.

Even from thousands of miles away, we can help, by supporting the helpers. Donate, if you can. Closer to home, Inverness Cathedral are collecting used or unwanted baby boxes to deliver to refugee camps in Poland; they’re also selling cakes and biscuits to fund the Ukrainian Red Cross. Other local charities and groups are offering similar.

Putin can’t be allowed to succeed; the international community mustn’t let that happen. But as individuals, those of us with the necessary resources can do more than just worry.

Click here to read more from Nicky Marr.

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