I work in a camera store. In Copenhagen, Denmark. We just had a man come in to pick up a lens he was getting repaired, its fixed. He chose an invoice for payment so he could send a transfer later. Why? He said he was on his way to Ukraine, as a photojournalist.
What happens when someone standing infront you says they are off to a war zone? Well for me, I froze. I didn’t know whether to carry on the conversation, wish him luck, say a prayer or what.
Only a few days ago I found out someone I went to school with, someone whose sister I know, whose brother I know, their parents were in Ukraine. They are Ukranian. For hours we shared the news, what for? I don't know, it wasnt gossip it was fear. We all had fear for what was happening, or could happen. Thankfully, they are now on their way home.
What about those who aren’t on their way home though? Or who are in their home, but not safe. Everyday we see images coming out in the news, we watch emotional tear jearking cries for help and statements of bravery and inspiration. What we don’t grasp is we only see that because people, like the man who came into my store, go there. They see it first hand so we can choose the little box on instagram or facebook to uncover the images they take. The little boxes that are there to warn us of distressing images or news. We see boxes of women making molotov cocktails, or women giving soldiers flower seeds. What we don't see, is the sounds, the photos that turned our blurry or just were not chosen to be published.
We sit at home drinking our tea, eating our biscuits watching it online saying how sad it is. We do this while a superpower invades, attacks, and smears another country. A country who has always fought for their independance and culture. A country who today has nowhere to hide while a superpower tries to take control.
This is by no way a piece to be taken beyond one person sitting here scared for a man she has barely met because he casually mentioned he was going to a warzone with his newly fixed camera lens.
We all are affected by this, whether we want to be or not. Whether we are directly affected or not, it is seeping into every home through our TV, through newspapers, through social media, through activists. It is there, and while everyone has an opinion and a comment there are people with more fear than us, more bravery than us.
For now, I thank whoever is out there that my schoolmates parents are safe. I also say a little hopeful prayer that the man I met today makes it back to find his invoice and a cup of coffee waiting for him at the store.