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The End of the Year as we Know It

(Friday morning sunrise in Izmail)

On Friday morning, Dec 29, The Russian Federation launched about 110 missiles at Ukraine. Maternity hospitals, educational institutions, shopping centers, high-rise buildings, private houses, commercial warehouses, and parking lots. Kyiv, Lviv, Odesa, Dnepr, Kharkiv, Zaporizhzhia, and other cities. Russia hit with almost everything it has in its arsenal: Daggers, S-300s, cruise missiles, UAVs. Strategic bombers launched X-101/X-505. As a result, there are dead and wounded. The air defense forces managed to destroy 27 Shahed attack drones and 87 X-101/X-555/X-55 cruise missiles. All this is taken from "Fact News," in Ukraine. For the whole article in Ukrainian or Russian click here.  The massive strike was apparently in response to the Ukrainian destruction of the Russian warship, Novocherkassk, 3 days ago.

(Varya runs on the beach in Bulgaria in summer)

This morning Dec 30, at sunrise, in Izmail, I looked to the east, toward Odesa where daybreak seemed to explode. View the port of Izmail above and a second photo showing tall cranes. In yesterday's bombing, Izmail was spared. The city of Odesa, on the other hand, has designated today as a "Day of mourning." 

(Music Club where we teach guitar and sing)

Someone wrote to me to ask how we are doing with "Putin's escalating madness?" I know that indiscriminate bombing never works. People only become more resistant, passionate, and patriotic. (read Malcolm Gladwell's oddly named but well-written The Bomber Mafia.) 

The other question is "What to do?" 

(Three teens outside our Center for Creative Activities)

It's often simple. Take the shelter when you need to, and when you don't, do what you do best. And we are. We are shaping the feelings and memories of this war for people displaced by it. Instead of knowing only loss, grief, and anger, parents and their children are restarting their lives, building friendships, and experiencing life together. 

To remind me of this, our families, and the best of the past year, I chose several photos. A new year is coming. Like everyone I know, I also hope and pray for an end to Russian aggression, freedom for Ukraine, and peace.

Robert Gamble

(Olya at the Christmas Party)


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