Perhaps more than any other post, my recent post on the forced famine in Ukraine has really remained with me. When thinking about people living in impossible situations (picture Iraq or Syria), I try to put myself in the position of a father sending his children off to school, not knowing if they will return safely; of a husband seeing his wife off to market, carrying the same burden of possible finality; of the breadwinner living in a place in which the economy has been destroyed.
The following – taken from the author of the book Bloodlands – has struck me and is what has stuck with me:
First weeks of 1933: with starvation raging through Ukraine, Stalin closed the borders of the republic such that the starving couldn’t flee, and closed the cities such that the starving couldn’t beg. As of 14 January, citizens were required to carry internal passports. The sale of long distance tickets to peasants was banned.No food left to requisition, so none left to eat. No way to flee. Nothing left to do but die…in place.