I was born and grew up in Minsk, Belarus. That’s where I spent nights playing Prince of Persia. That’s where I’d wait in front of a bakery nearby for the smell of freshly basked Narochansky bread. That’s also the place where our family went to peaceful protests on the streets, even then back in the 90s heavily suppressed by an armed regime with a brutal force.
I was surrounded by incredible friends from all over. Nobody cared if it was Belarus, Ukraine or Russia, or any other place in the world. We didn’t have much, but what we did have, we valued enormously. I remember us collecting chocolate wrapping paper, reading dictionaries together, discussing books, playing hockey outside, dreaming about the bright future while looking at the sky, together.
Today, people in Ukraine can’t do that. I’ve been dozens of times in Ukraine, and I have very close friends in this wonderful country — incredibly kind and passionate people who want nothing but a better world for their families and the people around them. Some of us at Smashing have Ukrainian origins, and we have close connections to our Ukrainian friends and colleagues.
It’s shocking and horrifying to see the streets of Ukraine being shelled, civil homes being bombed, people hiding in shelters, people leaving their homes, families torn apart. We need to be united in our fight against the war, for democracy, for those dreams that children are entitled to have when they are growing up. It’s our obligation to help as much as we can. We all are Ukraine, and Ukraine needs our help, now.
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