The best option for saving Ukraine is if citizens unite with coordinated action using absolute and unconditional non-violence and lawfulness. This is a story of that.
It was a normal Sunday morning for Kaetya. She was with Grandmama at the farmers market at the central square of their town. They got eggs from their favorite farmer who lives just outside of town, and fruits and vegetables from the farmers who live in the valley next to theirs and bring their goods in big trucks.
After the market, they went back home and Grandmama got out her pots and pans and she and Kaetya made some tea and snacks. Then, the other older ladies from the neighborhood stopped by to drink tea and eat snacks and laugh and tell stories. Kaetya always liked to be around Grandmama's friends. They were the oldest, wisest, strongest people she knew, and she loved the beautiful scarves they wore on their heads and around their necks. At the end of the night, Kaetya went back home to her parents.
The next weekend, she went to Grandmama's again and they went to the market in the morning to get the eggs and fruit and vegetables. This time, not all the farmers were there, and at the square, Kaetya saw some men dressed all in green and they were holding guns and they were not smiling. She didn’t know what that was about, so she looked at Grandmama. Grandmama was looking at the men too, and she also was not smiling. Kaetya didn’t like that, but she didn’t say anything.
When they got back to Grandmama’s, they got out a pot and made some tea and the older neighbor ladies stopped by. They didn't seem as happy as they normally were. Kaetya heard them talking about the unknown men in green that were at the square. They also talked about stories from long ago that weren’t happy ones. Some of the old ladies frowned and talked quietly, and some of the old ladies were loud and had other expressions on their faces. It seemed that they all were very concerned about the men in green, but none of them were quite sure what to do. This made Kaetya frown too, because she liked the wise old ladies with their beautiful scarves and she wanted them to smile and laugh again. In fact, on the inside, Kaetya felt even worse than a frown, but she didn’t say anything.
The old ladies left, and after a while, because she was still feeling bad, Kaetya went up to Grandmama and stood there. Kaetya wasn’t sure what to say, so she just said something. Grandmama looked at her, and paused, and gave her a warm hug, and then they sat down. Grandmama talked about how a leader in the country next door to theirs wanted to run the town where Kaetya and Grandmama and the old ladies lived, and also the countryside where their favorite farmer lived, and even the valley where the fruit and vegetable farmers lived. And that's why the unknown men in green were at the square with their guns. Kaetya could tell from Grandmama’s voice and face that this was a bad thing.
After their talk, Kaetya went to take a nap. She felt bad as she thought about the unknown men in green with their guns and frowns, and Grandmama and the old ladies and how they looked and sounded unhappy too, and also about the farmers who didn't show up at the square. She knew that it all was happening because of the leader from the country next door. She knew she wanted things to change, but she was just a little girl and wasn’t sure what she could do to help.
Kaetya soon fell asleep and during her nap, she was blessed to dream about good things. She had dreams about the beautiful scarves and the wise old strong ladies and the pots and pans they used to make the delicious food that they shared with the others. She dreamed about the unknown men in the square, but they weren’t dressed in green and they didn’t have guns and they didn’t have frowns. Now they were smiling because they were back at home and happy to instead be playing with their own children and families. And she even dreamed of the leader of the country next door and knew that he would listen to her, if only he could somehow hear how much she wanted things to be better.
When Kaetya woke up, she knew what she wanted to do. She went up to Grandmama, but wasn’t sure how to say it, so she just said something. Kaetya said she wanted to make things better and she wanted to borrow one of Grandmama’s beautiful scarves. She said that if the unknown men at the square were going to have to wear all green and hold guns in their hands and frown, then Kaetya was going to use one of Grandmama’s scarves and wear it on her hand and try to smile and try to help make things better. She also wanted to borrow some of Grandmama’s pots and pans, because she wanted to make a noise so that the leader in the other country next door would hear her and realize how much she wanted things better. And she wanted to do it today, just before supper.
Grandmama got an odd look on her face and wasn't sure what to say. But little Kaetya kept looking at her. Kaetya felt something different inside and she thought to herself that this might be how the wise old strong ladies felt when they told their best stories. Soon enough, Grandmama smiled and she went into her bedroom to get a scarf and went into the cupboard to get some pots and pans.
At 6pm, Kaetya and Grandmama went outside. Kaetya banged on a pan for a minute and it was loud, and then stopped and it was quiet. So, she banged on it again for another minute and it was loud, but then stopped again and it was quiet. She knew that the leader in the country next door couldn’t actually hear her banging her pan, but doing it made her feel a little better anyway.
So, she offered Grandmama one and together they started banging pots and pans for a couple more minutes. Then the neighbor man came out and asked what was happening. Kaetya told him why she was doing what she was doing. The neighbor looked at Kaetya, but wasn’t sure what to say. Then he looked at Grandmama and she smiled at him. Then he looked back at Kaetya and soon he smiled at her. He asked if he could join in, and Kaetya handed him two covers and together they started banging pots and pans and covers together. Another minute later, the neighbor's wife poked her head out their front door and looked at them. He called to his wife and said something and soon she came outside with another set of pots and pans and joined in. These pans were big and made a loud low sound.
Ten minutes passed and then they stopped because Grandmama said supper was almost ready and it was time to go in. They all went in, except Kaetya, who sat outside for just a little bit longer. She thought about how it was just her at the beginning, and when she didn’t bang on the pot it was very quiet, but when she did bang on it, other people noticed and it soon turned into two people and then into four people. She realized that when starting out, some one is better than no one, and doing something is better than nothing.
After supper, Kaetya told Grandmama that she wanted to come back the next evening and do the same thing. In fact, she even wanted to knock on the neighbors’ doors tonight, all the way down the block, and tell them that they can join in tomorrow too. Grandmama paused and wasn't sure what to say, but then she smiled and said OK.
So, a little while later, Kaetya and Grandmama went and knocked on all the neighbors’ doors and explained what they were going to do tomorrow and why they were going to do it. Some of the neighbors frowned, and some of them weren't sure what to say, and some of the neighbors smiled, and some even said they knew others who might like to join in. By the time they reached the end of the block, Kaetya was quite happy, because she again realized that some one is better than no one, and doing something is better than nothing.
She then went home to her parents and told them what she wanted to do. Grandmama had already told them, and they smiled and gave her a warm hug. When she went to sleep that night, she wore Grandmama’s scarf on her hand and she thought and dreamed of beautiful things again. When she woke up for school in the morning, she knew what else she wanted to do.
That day at school, before the bell rang in each class, she somehow stood up and told her friends and classmates what she was going to do and asked them to join her. They had also seen and heard about the men in green with guns and frowns in the square. And like the neighbors the night before, when she asked them to join her, some of her classmates frowned, and some didn’t know what to say, and some of them smiled, and some of them knew others who might come along too.
After school, Kaetya went over to Grandmama’s and together they made snacks with the pots and pans. Just before 6pm, four of her friends and classmates showed up. One of them had a big pot and some of them had little pans and one forgot to bring anything at all, so Kaetya gave him something to use. They ate the snacks and at 6pm, they went outside because it was time. Kaetya listened and listened, but she didn't hear anything. So, she started banging her pan. And then her friends started banging theirs too. It was loud! And it was fun!
She looked down the block, and soon enough she saw a neighbor come out and wave at Kaetya and her friends and then he banged on his pan. And then another neighbor too. Kaetya was smiling and Grandmama was smiling and the kids were smiling. After a couple more minutes, some of the old ladies from the neighborhood came by, and they began smiling too. After 10 minutes they all stopped banging their pans, and some of them started talking with each other and eventually everyone went back inside their homes.
The next day at school, some of the kids who weren't at Grandmama’s said they heard people banging pans on their block too. Now, even more kids said they wanted to join in. Kaetya knew Grandmama didn’t have enough snacks for everyone, so they all agreed to do it at their own homes on their own blocks. After school, they talked about it as they walked home on the sidewalks and road home in the buses. They even mentioned it to people along the way.
At home, they each told their parents what they wanted to do. Then all of them, at the same time and on their own blocks, wore a scarf or handkerchief on a hand and they banged on their pots and pans. Later, someone knocked on Grandmama’s door and asked if she wanted to join in the next night. She smiled brightly and said yes she certainly would. Then someone called Kaetya’s parents to talk to them about all the good things happening. They said that people even started bringing flowers to the unknown men in green, because everyone knew that they didn’t really want to be there either. They were frowning because they missed their families, but they started to smile a little bit when people brought them flowers.
The next day, people were joining in from all around the town and countryside, including the farmers in the valley nearby. After another night and then another night of banging on their pots and pans together, it was happening in cities and towns and villages all across her country. People in other countries even joined in: a scarf on a hand to show you wanted to make things better, and a pot or a pan to bang on and make yourself heard.
It seemed to Kaetya that almost no one wanted the unknown men in green to be in the town square, and that almost everyone wanted the leader next door to leave alone Kaetya and her Grandmama and the old ladies and the neighbors and the schoolkids and the farmers and everyone else. And Kaetya knew that if the leader were to do that, then someday, since they actually were neighbors, Grandmama could have him over for tea and snacks and he could have some flowers and maybe he would smile too.
And this is how Kaetya tried to help save Ukraine. And you can help too, because when trying to make things better, some one is better than no one, and doing something is better than doing nothing.
This original work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.