In Ukraine people, mainly women and children, are leaving their homes. This means leaving, probably forever, the private spaces in which they have constructed lives. It means leaving carefully planned gardens, or collections of books or objects, of projects of home decoration on which thought and labour was expended, of knives, sieves, pots and cookery books. For children it means leaving all those toys and books that can’t be carried. In short all the everyday things that people make from their lives. It means ruptures, perhaps permanent, in personal friendships and acquaintances, with those left behind to fight, with playmates, with cousins. It means the loss of familiar landscapes with their distinctive weather and their animals and plants. And then a trudge through danger and the possibility of instant death to put oneself at the mercy of strangers, as an object perhaps of their solidarity, but also of their pity. Paths trodden by other refugees, by Palestinians, Syrians, Afghans, Iraqis, Sudanese and Somalis in the recent past, by many in Ethiopia right now.
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