Blowin’ in the Wind

March 20, the 25th day since Russia invaded Ukraine, and the war rages on. Closing in on four weeks and the images of destruction accumulate, worsening, disturbing.  Each morning I wake to read the BBC news feed on the latest developments, peruse the stories in the Globe and on the CBC, scroll through Facebook. Today Bohdan shared yet another collage of the devastation, this set from  Mariupol. The scenes are unimaginable.

Olga too is consumed by the war, following events, reading the stories of bravery, of determination, of courage, of heartbreak. We just finished listening to Andre Rieu introduce a Ukrainian singer at a March 1st concert in the Netherlands. “Music puts people together”, he said. “If the world would make music together the world  will be a better place.” The problem is that Putin is tone deaf and sings from his own sheets.

Olga discovered a Spotify playlist of songs about the war in Ukraine, some new, some original songs of the partisan army, some remakes to capture a new generation. Occasionally she sings along with the words, taught by her father who fought in the insurgent army for an independent Ukraine, as tears roll down her cheek. I don’t understand the language, yet the anguish, the commitment, the sorrow is clear.

Daily images of the atrocities confound a belief in progress, of learning from our past, of faith in the process. The Peter, Paul and Mary version of Blowin’ in the Wind is the song on continual play in my mind.

How many roads must a man walk down
Before you call him a man?

How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand?

Yes, and how many times must the cannonballs fly
Before they’re forever banned?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many years must a mountain exist
Before it is washed to the sea?

And how many years can some people exist
Before they’re allowed to be free?

Yes, and how many times can a man turn his head
And pretend that he just doesn’t see?

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Yes, and how many times must a man look up
Before he can see the sky?

And how many ears must one man have
Before he can hear people cry?

Yes, and how many deaths will it take ’til he knows
That too many people have died?

Dead bodies are placed into a mass grave on the outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine, on March 9. (Evgeniy Maloletka/AP)

The answer, my friend, is blowin’ in the wind
The answer is blowin’ in the wind

Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq, Palestine, Georgia, Yugoslavia, Syria.


And how many times must we sing this sad song,

Before the music is no longer played?

The answer, dear world, is take some action now,

The answer is take some action now.

One thought on “Blowin’ in the Wind

  1. This piece gives me gooseflesh, especially as I have just finished watching the BBC coverage of events in Ukraine. Your selection of photographs is apt – as are the words that accompany them. They will form my earworm for the rest of the evening.

    Liked by 1 person

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