My colleague called it doomscolling. I knew straight away what she meant.
It’s the thing that we both, along with a large portion of other Finns, have been doing incessantly for the past two weeks. While I sit here comfortably in my warm home, somewhere out there, there is a 6-year-old girl crying for her mother, stuck under the rubble of a building bombed by the Russians. She dies alone, slowly. Thirsty, scared and suffocating.
People on Twitter are promoting their books, Instagrammers are promoting their shiny lives, Facebookers are facebooking.
Russians are bombing children’s hospitals, daycare centers, and children who are trying to run to freedom while holding their mothers’ hands. Another little girl died on the street and lay there covered by her own coat. Meanwhile, a father rushed his 2-year-old to the hospital that wasn’t bombed yet, but it was too late.
Russians fired and bombed during ceasefire, multiple times. They put live mines on evacuation routes and then later used the routes for their own army’s entrance.
I’m no war reporter. I’m sitting comfortably on my couch, safe for now, drinking tea and doomscrolling. 74 % of Finns are worried about the military threat Russia poses and over half believe it probable that the war will spread to other European countries and that we, too, will have to defend ourselves against Russia. Our only crime is that we are geographically situated too close for comfort.
We have a long border with Russia and we have been independent for 105 years now. The last time they attacked us was during World War II: many of my grandmother’s generation are still alive to remember it.
Raising two sons, I’m anxious to know when Russia will strike our peaceful, tiny country. Will it be now or later? Should I pack an evacuation bag? Or will my boys be army-aged by then? Am I raising them only to be force-fed to a war machine when they are in their teens? Where can we flee?
The last time I faced this kind of evil was when I visited Paris in 2015 and the Bataclan attacks happened during the exact same weekend. I was safe at my friend’s place, but we could hear the sirens outside and it felt like the whole city was a big funeral. I haven’t been back there since then.
This time, it feels like a horror movie that just goes on and on. When will the monster stop? Why can’t anyone catch him? He’s a murderer.
When Ukraine was invaded 2 weeks ago, it was mind-boggling to learn how out of the loop the Russian public had been all these decades; while the rest of the world had been making progress, they were still stuck in the Cold War. How was it even possible to create such censorship in a country where the borders were open and people travelled regularly? They have their own social media and there’s a language barrier, but are they really in such a bubble that they think Putin is the good guy?
Since then, information has started to spread. 10 000 Russians have been jailed after they risked their freedom to protest the war. They even jailed protesting children.
Basic education is such an important thing. It could prevent war or cause war.
Let’s talk a little about why you should care. Yes, you, over there far, far away. The conflict in Ukraine started years ago and I didn’t pay attention to it earlier, either. Nor did I follow other wars this intensely. It’s normal: we can’t worry about everything, so if it’s far enough from us, we ignore it. It’s how we humans protect ourselves. But some reporters have stated that this is already the beginning of World War III and it could turn nuclear.
Did you know that Europe’s largest nuclear plant was invaded by Russians and set on fire, while the operators begged the invaders to stop, in the name of everyone’s safety?
Did you know that Russians cut off Chernobyl’s power supply and now it is possibly leaking radioactive material into its surroundings? It’s like a suicide mission.
Some Russian soldiers have surrendered, having been duped into the army by false pretenses; lost, and missing home. I feel sorry for their mothers, and also sorry for the mothers whose children are victims of the attacks. Imagine having a child that needs treatment for a serious disease and now they have to flee. Imagine giving birth when – boom – a bomb is dropped on the building.
I’m no journalist and I’m simply retelling bits I’ve read that have stuck with me. I try to restrict my doomscolling to reliable sources (like BBC and the Finnish equivalent, Yle) and I don’t watch social media users’ own content. I don’t want to spread bad information. But I also feel I can’t keep quiet because that is part of the problem in Russia: not knowing what is really going on. I have some friends with Russian roots and I’m careful not to blame this on the people. The country needs help to form a democracy, if we all get out of this hostage situation alive.
Europe is being attacked and Ukrainian children are suffering the most. Who even noticed the IPCC report?