There is a section from a poem by Somali/British poet Warsan Shire that is often shared in times of global atrocity.
The words are;
"I held an atlas in my lap, ran my fingers across the whole world, and whispered where does it hurt? It answered, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere."
They are words I can't help thinking of in regards to the situation in Ukraine, which seems to grow worse by the day.
Here at home, the suffering of the Ukrainian people has sent ripples of shock and sadness throughout every corner of Australia.
While we feel helpless, there is an overwhelming global push for peace; iconic landmarks illuminated in blue and yellow, brave protesters out in the streets, singers and musicians taking up their instruments to play the music of Ukraine.
In our regional communities the gestures are there too, though they might be smaller in scale; a church service, a community barbecue, a candle-lit vigil, a grandmother making wearable emblems of sunflowers, the flower of Ukraine.
In the multicultural melting pot of Wollongong, where post World War Two immigrants came to settle from all over the world, a service was held in the Ukrainian church, where Father Simon Ckuj simply told his congregation, "We are filled with sadness."
Among the crowd was Anastasiya, who is from both Russian and Ukrainian heritage. She said, "I've lost so many tears... I don't know if I can cry anymore. Every bomb which is falling now is bombing my heart."
Also there was Yuliya Malcolm, whose family is from neighbouring Belarus.
"I'm here to support my friends from Ukraine, I'm here to show my people don't want war."
Beside her was her Australian husband, Andrew, whose mother and stepfather were killed in the MH17 crash.
In Newcastle, childcare worker Olya Hamiwka is desperately worried about her sister who has two disabled children in wheelchairs, and is unable to flee her home in Ukraine.
Olya says she tries to find joy and solace in the children in her care by teaching them Ukrainian songs.
"I never wanted them to see Ukraine at war. I want them to see happy Ukraine. They can say 'I love you' in Ukraine."
On the Far South Coast of NSW Candelo wool farmer Tabitha Bilaniwskyj-Zarins worries for her family and friends in the villages of Trebukhive and Brovary, eastern gateways to Kyiv.
"It deeply affects me and it deeply worries me, as I know it does many people connected to Ukraine in my small rural community here. Everyone is asking 'how is your family?' 'How are the children?' And I feel helpless."
Seventy-two-year-old Sandra Newling of Tamworth, in NSW's north east, has been making felt sunflowers, Ukraine's national emblem, to give to people to wear. She said making them helps her deal with the anxiety of knowing what is happening there.
Subscribers of The Northern Daily Leader can read her story here.
In the NSW Central West city of Orange, Valeriy Gurskyy fears for his many friends and relatives in Ukraine, and for those defending the country.
"They're going to resist or they're going to die. It's their land."
In Mudgee, a young mother booked and paid for accommodation in a Ukrainian home on Airbnb as a way of directly helping at least one local family.
The grateful mother on the other side of the world, whose husband is out fighting, said "All I can ask now is that my kids don't know war".
Subscribers of The Mudgee Guardian can read that story here.
As the bombs fall in Ukraine and we are bombarded with images of violence, horror and tragedy, it is some comfort to witness the collective will of people to bring back peace, everywhere, everywhere, everywhere.
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