by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan
In February of 2022, the world was astounded when Russia’s Putin declared a ‘special military operation’ which turned out to be a full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
When the war broke out, the monotony of my daily life as a full-time housewife and homeschooling mother was broken.
I found myself watching every news outlet and listening to updates about what was happening on the other side of the world. And with every image and video I watched, I felt my heart breaking, my tears falling and my soul praying for the nation of Ukraine.I can still vividly remember visions of people on an exodus to neighboring countries, trying to escape the war; of burning and bombed buildings; of lifeless bodies on the streets.
But the most heartbreaking of all was seeing children being displaced and separated from their fathers who need to fight for their country.
One year ago, I’ve shed many tears for people I don’t know and a nation that is physically distant but badly needs my intercession and support.
One year after the war in Europe started, what happened? According to United Nations (UN) reports, thousands of civilians and soldiers have lost their lives. About 16 million have been displaced.
Half of Ukraine’s energy infrastructure has been destroyed or damaged. Forty percent of Ukraine’s population will continue to need humanitarian aid. And the world continues to suffer the economic effects of the war. It seems like the end is nowhere in sight. But the people of Ukraine, though hurting, are enduring. Some people in Russia are disagreeing and persistently fighting. The rest of the world lives on, grieving yet supporting and cheering for Ukraine’s victory. Love is celebrated every February. But the Ukraine-Russia war has displayed the opposite. It was a statement of hatred and terror, a declaration of injustice and greed. Hearts are broken, instead of beating. Experts say that the war will likely continue. It will be a long battle, a tedious one. They say that neither side is likely to gain a crucial advantage if the war continues along its current path.
Unfortunately, in the absence of any negotiations in which both sides will have to compromise, or give and take, the heartbreaking bloodshed will probably have to continue for some time.
What have I learned from this war after one year?
War is inevitable. We live in a world that is broken. People are innately selfish and greedy. We all have our own agenda and ideology. Therefore, misunderstanding is certain, and war is always at hand.
Given this, I learned that peace is a privilege. I grew up in the Philippines but am now based in South Korea.
In the 38 years of my life, I have only watched on news but never experienced myself being in the middle of a war. But my own country and the nation where I am now are both in constant threat of attacks.
South Korea is always on high alert against the North’s provocation. But so far, peace is still prevailing. But many people all over the world are in war-torn countries.
I can only imagine the anxiety, the fear, the frustration they are feeling and experiencing. I am grateful for the privilege of peace that I have been given and I pray that this peace transcends all nations and boundaries.
In February of 2023, the many issues of my life have overcome the news of the war in the European region.
I have stopped watching the news about it every day and only update myself every once in a while. But my compassion for the Ukrainian people, especially the next generation, lingers.
When I think about the suffering they had and continue to endure—losing their homes and their loved ones, my heart pains. But hope is still alive.
The war may linger but it will eventually end. Things will never be the same but everything will be alright.
As we commemorate the Ukraine-Russia conflict, I pray for peace to prevail. I pray for healing and restoration upon those who have been wounded physically, mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. I pray for reconciliation.
I pray for the war to cease.
There’s a saying that ‘only the dead have seen the end of war’. But I declare that even the living will see the end of this war. It may take time but it will come.
by Seneca Moraleda-Puguan