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Published March 2022
By Helena Smrcek

Photo by Photo by Jordy Meow on Unsplash

Watching the horror in Ukraine unfold, I can’t help but travel down the memory lane and think of my own history. I was born in the occupied Czechoslovakia, taught Russian, and altered history lessons about our friends to the East and their liberating army, that prevented the evil imperialist from overtaking my homeland in 1968.

At that time, my mother was pregnant with me, and declined the offers of refuge from our Austrian relatives, for no one believed the occupation would last. The Russian base in my hometown never seemed weird to me. It was there before I was born. As I was growing up, my parents implemented rules. Never go to the forested areas on the outskirts of town, for the Russian military personnel had access, and things happened there. What things, they never told me. Never engage with any of the uniformed men, don’t stop by the concrete walls or peek into the compound through the gates.

Seventeen years later, when my parents finally secured an exit permit to Hungary, our family defected. We became UN refugees, seeking priceless freedom of thought, expression, and self-determination. Only then did I learn that the whispers of Prague Spring, Dubcek, Charta, and other terms my immature mind couldn’t comprehend were real. We lived Orwell’s 1984.

Watching the news today, my body experiences an uncontrollable physical response. My hands shake, and the blood pressure monitor flashes red every time I try to see if ‘calming my mind’ helps. My eyes fill with tears seeing kids with school bags, heading into the unknown, entering the life of refugees.

I think back to the Freedom Convoy, vaccine discussions, Covid restrictions and somehow all seems to pale in the light of the nuclear alert issued by a ruthless dictator. I shake my head at the newscaster questioning a Canadian-Ukrainian woman, if Ukraine experiences similar product hoarding as we did during the onset of the Covid pandemic. Her polite response was that Ukrainians have much greater issues to deal with. I wonder how many of us do understand what ‘demilitarization of Ukraine’ means. I believe that the correct term is genocide.

How many times did our society look back to 1936 and wondered why no one did anything to stop the maniac before things escalated to a world-wide conflict? Let us not repeat the same mistakes. This evil has to stop before the world changes for ever. The nuclear threat is real. A cornered dictator with nothing to lose no longer cares about the consequences.

But we are not powerless. The world suddenly unites as we see the aggression against a neighbour. Perhaps we needed a real enemy instead of an invisible virus. No one can dispute the existence of a rough head of state. He is real.

I’m moved to tears seeing the Ukrainian flags flown across the world, as people unite, denouncing a bully. Unprecedented actions had been taken by the international community. Our 21st century world does not want a repeat of a hundred-year-old history.

What blesses me the most is that Ukrainians are blatantly opened about their faith. They flog to churches, pray openly at the UN Security Council meetings, their leaders call out to our God. We need to set our differences aside, it no longer matters if we agree or disagree with our government policies, we need to stand for freedom. Everyone of us can relate on some level to such injustice, no matter what our denomination, race, or political leaning.

The saying goes: History repeats itself. Not this time. As Christians we need to unite and call to God to put a stop to this great evil. The loss of life on both sides is horrendous and unnecessary. God is not pleased, that I believe with all my heart.

As the Word of God instructs: “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things”. (Philippians 4:8, NIV) Think, but most of all pray, for our God is greater than any dictator, He is mighty and just. Miracles still happen, to this day.

About the author...
Helena Smrcek
, a journalist, author, and screenplay writer, believes in the power of a well-told story. Her readers can expect a captivating page-turner, filled with thrilling suspense, and heartwarming romance.

She started in publishing as a high school student, freelancing for her local newspaper. Her journalism carrier took off in 1999. Within three years Helena accumulated over 100 by-lines and interviewed Ann Graham Lotz, Carol Lewis, Cec Murphey, Kelita and others. Her stories, many of them covers, have been published in Canada, USA, Bermuda, New Zealand, and Australia. In 2002 she accepted a position at Listen Up TV, a current affairs program.

Helena became a founding member of Write!Canada, and The Word Guild, a Canadian national association of writers and editors. She is a graduate of Jerry Jenkin’s Craftsman Class, Act One, Donald Maass’ Fire in Fiction, Writer’s Police Academy, and several mentoring programs.

She regularly attends writers’ conferences and is a past or current member of such organizations as Word Weavers, American Christian Fiction Writers, Sisters in Crime, Toast Masters International, Boni, The Writer’s Guild, and others. Helena loves to participate in NaNoWriMo and hosts a writers’ group.

As an entrepreneur, she is familiar with marketing, branding, and social media. She has volunteered with YMCA, mentoring new Canadians pursuing their business dreams, and was an active member of her local Chamber of Commerce.

When not at her keyboard, Helena loves listening to audio books. Working on her hobby farm, and traveling. She lives in the Waterloo Region, Ontario, with her husband, two adult children, two dogs, several cats, and her favorite goat, Rosie.