EXCUSE THE PESSIMISM
Surely none of us are aware of how quickly and abruptly our lives can change. We may assume that an accident or sudden illness can turn our destiny 180 degrees; but to imagine that a war in European territory, just over 2,500 kilometers from our country and about to reach the first quarter of the 21st century, has destroyed the lives of millions of Ukrainians, is cruelly intolerable. On a daily basis, television, radio, newspapers and social networks inform us of the course of the war and its dramatic consequences, translated into death, destruction, pain and rage. Thousands of stories of anonymous beings who flee, not everyone can, from what until just over three weeks ago was their home. There where they had a future to go. People who had their lives in order: teachers, farmers, masons, doctors, carpenters and countless other professions who honestly earned their wages. Citizens who contributed to the progress of their country. That is the case of Oleksandr Abramenko, a five-time Olympian in the specialty of acrobatic skiing and flag bearer for his country at the recent Winter Olympics held in Beijing, where he also won the silver medal, being the only Ukrainian athlete to win a metal. The photograph that illustrates this post recently went viral, and in which the athlete is seen accompanied by Alexandra, his wife, and Dimitry, their son, just two years old. Abramenko, who will turn 34 in May, is a native of Mikolayiv, on the shores of the Black Sea, where the Meridonial Bug, an important river in Eastern Europe with more than 800 kilometers in length, flows. The airport and fuel depots were attacked by Russian missiles on February 25 and the city was besieged on March 3.
Abramenko spent the night with his family inside the car in the underground parking lot of the building where they live for fear of being bombed. I have searched for news about him and his family and since then nothing has been heard from them. This does not have to be bad news, it has simply become another story that filled a few pages and then was forgotten. Like that of Nikita Fedotov, a Ukrainian soccer goalkeeper who played for a season and a half in Extremadura's Montijo and who was on trial with Fuenlabrada, and where bureaucratic problems prevented him from being signed by the second division team from Madrid. It was learned that he joined the army of his country to defend Dnipro, his city, a population of almost a million inhabitants located in the eastern part of the country, about 500 kilometers from the Russian border. They are stories that have visibility. As should the more than three million Ukrainians who have fled the country or the 15,000 dead, 100 of them children. Although, as the Soviet dictator Stalin said in his day: “a single death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”. When Abramenko got the silver medal, he was hugged by the Russian Burov, who had won the bronze. Something impossible to repeat today. Sport often gives us images that allow us to reconcile with the human being. Despite this, every day I find it harder to believe in us as a species. You will excuse my pessimism.