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Second anniversary of war in Ukraine sparks conversation around parallels between tragedy in Ukraine and Gaza

SANTA BARBARA, Calif.—As the war in Ukraine marked its second anniversary Saturday, World Dance For Humanity shared stories of resilience and highlighted the rich culture of the Ukrainian people through dance.

“Dance and music and World Dance For Humanity brings awareness to people that this conflict can be mediated through kindness…through not grieving, but appreciating life and truly discovering the culture that you might have not heard about before,” said Dasha Lobkl from the Ukrainian Women of Santa Barbara.

The need for humanitarian aid has become increasingly clear as over 10,000 Ukrainian civilians have been killed since Russia’s invasion in 2022.

“ What we see now is two years later, there's still over 10 million people who've been displaced, and those are millions that are displaced within Ukraine, people having moved from eastern to western Ukraine, and also people who've become refugees and have fled the country,” said Shelterbox USA President Kerri Murray.

And though the majority of people can agree that humanitarian aid is vital, many disagree as to whether sending Ukraine more military aid will be fruitful.

Local organizations like Code Pink and the Anti War Coalition say that despite the U.S. spending more than $113 billion dollars in military aid to Ukraine, the Ukrainians will only find peace through a permanent ceasefire.

“ I don't want the U.S. government to continue fomenting and feeding the war in Ukraine. And I also want the U.S. government to push for with all its leverage that it has —and it has tremendous amount of leverage— to bring about a diplomatic solution to this conflict,” said Central Coast Antiwar Coalition Co-Chair Omar Figueredo.

Many locals have pointed out similarities between what is happening in Ukraine and what is happening in Gaza.

“What I found a year ago in Ukraine is very similar. What people need today in Gaza to survive the winter months are basic things like sleeping mats. It's high thermal blankets. It's the cooking sets. It's tarpaulins. So very different locations of different crisis situations with some of the same needs—humanitarian needs and basic survival needs, particularly around shelter, are very similar,” said Kerri Murray from Shelterbox.

So far Shelterbox has helped over 120,000 displaced people in Ukraine over the last 2 years.

They plan to help over 5,500 displaced people with humanitarian aid they are sending out to Gaza by the end of this month.

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Mina Wahab

Arab-American producer & reporter with a mission to dig deep in interviews, share authentically, shed light on the issues that matter, and provoke deep thought.


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