18 May 2022

Events like these restore faith in humanity

The Gazette tends to be seen as a hyperlocal paper full of stories about tabletop sales and town council meetings – and that’s what it is, in the main.

It might not be the most earth-shattering of news, but these things matter to people; they’re the events that make our little world go around.

But sometimes we need to look at the bigger picture. And for people in Ukraine right now, their world has been suddenly, and horrifically, upended in the space of just days. You’d have to be pretty stone-hearted not to resonate with this, and indeed, people across our region, like people right around the country, have been asking what they can do to help. Others have been admirably answering the call, swiftly organising donation drop-off points and even people to drive supplies to the region. These efforts have been rapidly escalating, so we’ve done our best to pull together what we knew when we went to press yesterday.

It’s easy to watch the news and doom-scroll on social media, and get the impression that the majority of people are awful – but events like these bring it home that terrible people tend to be in the minority, albeit an often vocal minority.

But it only takes one terrible person to be in a position of ultimate power. As Bill Jardine says in his column this week (page 10), wars always seem to be started by old men who sit in comfort miles from the front line, while they’re fought by young men, many of whom barely understand the reasons why they’re there. This is a tragedy for the Russian people too – they don’t want this war, and thousands of their menfolk are being sent to their deaths – and for what?

I’m also struggling to comprehend the fact that Volodymyr Zelensky, Ukraine’s president, is about my age and wouldn’t look out of place in the Withernsea AFC veterans’ team. He has a young family and has gone from being a comedy actor playing a president, to a real-life wartime leader, practically overnight.

How this will play out, I can only guess at. And, while we may ultimately feel powerless in the face of such needless brutality, even at a local level, and no matter how small, our efforts really can help.

We send our love and solidarity to the people of Ukraine.