The Light in Their Hearts


Viktoriya Zamkova

Where there is light there is hope, but what happens when the lights go out? What happens when power is taken away from your home? Do you let hope leave with it or do you hold onto whatever is left of that hope? For the people of Ukraine, the answer is clear. Despite the extremely dark and cold conditions under which they have to live, they choose to remain hopeful in the face of adversity. Due to the power outages from Russian missile strikes, there’s no light in their homes, but there’s light in their hearts.

November 26, 2022, marked the 90th anniversary of the Holodomor Famine, as a result of which an estimated 3.5 million to 7 million Ukrainians died. The word Holodomor means “death by hunger”. This genocide of the Ukrainian people was at the hands of Joseph Stalin and the Soviet Union in the late 1920s, its sole purpose being to prevent Ukraine from seeking independence. On this year’s significant commemoration day, many Ukrainians lit candles and pointed out the connection between the tragedy of the past and the reality of the present. Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine took place on February 24, 2022, but the war began in 2014 after Russia annexed the Ukrainian city of Crimea. The last nine months of war have resulted in thousands of deaths on both sides, and the number of casualties continues to grow.

On the day of the Holodomor Memorial, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky promised that the past will not translate into the future: Ukraine will never be silenced by Russia again, and the Ukrainian people will fight for their right to exist until their very last breath. In his Instagram post, he wrote, “Once they wanted to destroy us with hunger, now – with darkness and cold.” He added that Ukraine “cannot be broken” and that it “will conquer death again”, noting that Russia can try to take power away, but it will never be able to put out the fire that burns in every Ukrainian heart. The nation’s love for its country is more powerful than any missile.

I am proud to be Ukrainian and even more proud of my country and its people. My friends and family who still live in Ukraine say that even though it is dark and cold, their current situation is nothing compared to the suffering they would have to undergo if they surrendered to

History shows that the Russian government has a reputation for attempting to control Ukraine, but its efforts will never amount to anything. Ukraine will live on even in the darkest of times because unlike Russia, it is fighting for something meaningful and worthwhile – its freedom.