Air assistance

Islanders applaud Ukrainian president’s pleas for help

MANITULIN—As the war in Ukraine continues to rage, President Volodymyr Zelensky is scrambling to secure even more needed aid, including weapons of war and the installation of a no-fly zone over his beleaguered country. He made an appeal to Canada on March 15 with an address to parliament. (President Zelensky addressed national lawmakers across the Western world and their allies digitally. Over the weekend, he addressed the Israeli parliament.)

Expositor readers know the Manitoulin Canadian-Ukraine Szewczyk family well, and they asked for their reaction to Mr. Zelensky’s speech.

John Szewczyk was very impressed with the Ukrainian leader’s speech and agreed that more help was needed. However, it stops short at the establishment of a no-fly zone. “I don’t trust Russian President (Vladimir) Putin for a single second,” he said. “This evil autocrat has shown time and time again that you can’t believe everything he says, and he will stop at nothing to bring down countries. I don’t think we can take the risk of starting a world war .The events in Ukraine are devastating me and I am afraid for the cousins ​​I have there.I have contacted the Ukrainian Red Cross for information, but have not received any news, which is understandable. My heart breaks for the people of Ukraine.

Luba (Szewczyk) Switzer is full of praise for the Ukrainian leader. “President Zelensky made all Ukrainians proud in 2019 when he refused to be bullied,” she explained. “He has excelled ever since. His leadership and determination only strengthened Ukrainian resolve. Slava Ukraina and President Zelensky. The world is with you.

Ms. Switzer’s sister, Natalie, is not only proud of Mr. Zelensky, but she puts her anger at Russia to good use and her heartbreaking love for the Ukrainian people. Like all members of her family, she donated funds for the global humanitarian effort, but also participated in the Sudbury Ukrainian Rally and started a merchandise drive. She collected three large boxes of emergency woolen blankets, medical supplies, diapers, baby food, toys, dog food and treats, clothing, non-perishable food and expired medicine . This material will be transported to the Ukrainian Center in Sudbury where it will be sorted and shipped to Hamilton, then to Poland and Czechoslovakia.

His respect for President Zelensky is immense. Speaking about her reaction to his speech, she said, “His words are not only powerful but also empowering. As he speaks from the bottom of his heart and asks for help, he also reminds us how fragile our freedom and democracy are and to never take them for granted because what happened in Ukraine could happen in any country at any time. I am grateful for the courage and inspiring leadership of Zelensky who united the world in support of Ukraine.

Jen Hearn from Sudbury is one of Natalie’s best friends. She too was impressed with his speech to the Canadian Parliament and said, “If you haven’t had a chance to listen to President Zelensky’s speech to our country, I urge you to do so. . He asks Canadians to imagine a world where bombs and missiles have been fired at our home and our homeland, like the bombardments that occur daily across Ukraine. His speech optimized the fate of the Ukrainian people and the strength and courage it takes every day to get through this horrible war. I pray for Ukrainians as they fight for their land, their language and their freedom. Glory to Ukraine.”

Lorne (Kostuik) Kostik of Manitowaning was quick to phone the author of Szewczyk’s Expositor article last week, saying, “I watched President Zelensky’s video call to governments from Britain, Canada and the United States, but reading The Expositor brought him home. I read it twice. Words are insufficient. I do not know what to say.

“Unfortunately, the Ukrainian people, the Russian people, the whole world are all suffering,” Kostik said. “The God of heaven and earth is watching. There will be accounting.

For more than 40 years, Mr. Szewczyk has been a good friend of Rick Taylor of Foleyet. Mr Taylor immediately posted The Expositor’s Szewczyk article on Facebook as soon as he read it. He watched President Zelensky’s Canadian and American speeches. “Zelensky wants Canada and the United States to care about the Ukrainian people,” he told The Expositor. “What if 300 of our children were killed and innocent people died, but the bombs still fell? Everyday. And yes, thank you for your support, weapons, equipment, humanitarian aid and sanctions. Thank you for all you’ve done, but that hasn’t stopped the explosions and death.

“The bombs keep falling and Ukrainians keep dying,” Taylor said. “It’s not enough. Ukraine asks Canada and the United States to take action to end the threat in the air. Zelensky received applause, many hands clapping, but no one reached a pen to make it happen. Putin broke all ethics by disguising his ambitions with false words. He outright lied about his intentions and always blamed the West for his transgressions against Russia. NATO is the culprit? If so, why doesn’t he attack NATO? Ukraine has never attacked Russia. Szewczyk’s interview makes it clear that Ukrainians are not Russians. Putin didn’t no claims on their ethnicity because of what the Russians have done in the past, and this is explained in the article because it happened long before the creation of NATO And imagine the image of the father of Johnny Szewczyk, if he was alive, voluntarily returning to fight for his country?

“It says a lot because young Russian soldiers have not understood why they are fighting in Ukraine against a neighbor who has done them no harm,” Taylor said. “This war will not benefit Putin and will be a historic disaster. This will not benefit the Russian people. Russia will become a hungry, more isolated, cold and insensitive land that no one will trust anymore. Because of one man.

Val Caron’s Lynn Filion and her husband Moe are also great friends of Mr. Szewczyk and Ms. Filion also posted last week’s Expositor post on Facebook. “I was in tears even before President Zelensky started his speech,” she said. “I could feel the urgency of it all. I felt like I was saying, ‘This is it. This is an opportunity for me to tell Canadians firsthand the horrors in Ukraine. One couldn’t help but notice the desperation in his voice as he referred to the attacks on our country’s monuments, asking us to imagine how we would feel. He managed to touch our heartstrings while keeping a brave face for his people. He’s a real leader. »

Mr. Szewczyk had long conversations with other members of his family. Sister-in-law Miriam Bardswich of Cobourg is an avid traveller, a retired teacher and writer and the co-author of 12 student books. “There have been great leaders, even beloved ones, in history,” she told The Expositor. “One thinks of Winston Churchill, Nelson Mandela and Augustus Caesar, who ushered in 200 years of relative peace. But there were also despots who increased their power at the expense of others: Hitler, Stalin, Genghis Khan and others. Now there is Putin threatening not only the Ukrainian people but also his own. Ukrainian President Zelensky and his people stand against the tyrant. He is the hero of our time.

Toni (Bardswich) Nelson is another sister-in-law of Mr. Szewczyk. She is a retired CPA, contributor to Patch, an Orange County online newspaper, community advocate, and philanthropic volunteer who lives in Capistrano Beach, Calif., with her husband, Garry. “This universe sometimes uses unlikely heroes to do great things. Zelensky fits the paradigm – an outspoken actor and comedian who has established himself as an extraordinary leader with an immense talent for pleasing not just his own people, but millions of us around the world. I was very impressed with his speech to the US Congress. Rarely do we hear someone speak with such passion and verse, hitting all of our emotional triggers, urging us to show up for peace. I love his U24 concept. Imagine a world where sane, peace-loving nations unite, promising to show up within 24 hours to help each other during man-made or natural disasters. Zelensky’s heartfelt appeal contrasts so much with Putin’s diabolical bullying and blatant disregard for basic human rights. I pray that the world will rally to his side and not fade away once compassion fatigue sets in. If the rest of us have an ounce of the courage of the Ukrainian people, Putin will eventually be ruined. It’s a high stakes match between David and Goliath. David gives me hope. And Zelensky’s first name? Volodymyr? It means king of peace.