Let’s paint the sky yellow and blue

The colour seems to have drained from the world.

I would usually be sitting down full of ideas for a column by now, but this week I find myself uniquely at a loss for words. Normally I would probably use my column to fly the flag as a former student representative in Dublin to encourage voting in the upcoming student elections, but it seems difficult to justify flying those colours at this moment.

That’s not because international students aren’t facing a deepening housing crisis and ever-rising costs associated with attending university here; we certainly are. But with the situation in Ukraine developing into more and more of a horror story every day, I think the focus is rightly elsewhere.

However, unlike a student election, I could not be accused of being an expert in the Russian invasion of Ukraine. At best I am a deeply uncomfortable observer. What’s more is that I am both ashamed and thankful to know that when it all becomes too much to read about, I can simply turn off my phone or close my laptop and get away. Those truly effected by this crisis enjoy no such luxury.

To even write or to speak almost feels wrong when I know I am under no immediate threat

In such hard times it can be difficult to know what to do or what to say. Sure, I can extend my empathy as a human to the people of Ukraine, but that may be the height of my ability, and it seems so insignificant in the context of war. To even write or to speak almost feels wrong when I know I am under no immediate threat.

And so, like many others, this leaves me with a question. I want to do something to help, but what can I really do to make a difference? A donation to help the wounded and the displaced is a good place to start; but will that bring back the colour we have lost as this dark cloud looms across the sky?

Then, just a few days ago, a solidarity protest with the people of Ukraine took place at the Grote Markt, attended by many locals, students, and Ukrainian speakers. A protest might seem small, but a little bit of solidarity goes a long way. Elevating the voices of those effected is what’s truly important now and such actions are a perfect way to start. That’s how we’ll get our colour back.

If the sky is grey; we’ll paint it yellow and blue.

NIALL TORRIS

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