On the occasion of Ukraine’s Independence Day, we asked Ukrainians living in Belgium the question: “What does independence mean to you?”
“An interesting philosophical question to which even half a year ago I would have given a mediocre answer of an ordinary 17-year-old teenager. But not now.
From February 24, 2022, I know exactly what independence is. It flows through my veins and through the veins of every Ukrainian because it is our essence.
Unfortunately, we, like no one else in the world, know that sometimes the most valuable thing – life – has to be given for the right to life. You ask, “Should it be so?” I will answer, “No.” You ask, “Will we obey?” And I will also answer no because our freedom is what makes us real. And we will really fight for it, for our families, for our children, for our dreams and future. I’ve known the words of the national anthem since I was a child, “We’ll lay down our souls and bodies for our freedom,” but only now have I really realised what it means. This is what independence is for me.”
“What do you think about every morning when you wake up? Work, what to cook for breakfast, gather the child for school, plans for the evening. A pleasant home routine, and you always know that you can change everything so that your life brings you the best! Life in Ukraine is all about having a choice. You always did what you wanted and always knew that there were no obstacles! Independence is freedom of action, freedom of thought, freedom to live as I want! And, we Ukrainians, have gone through a very conscious way to gain this freedom, and no matter what happens, this Independence is in our hearts and in our actions forever.”