We've all seen images of children clutching stuffed animals to distract them from the horrors of Putin's war on Ukraine. We've also observed glimmers of positivity amid the horrific destruction and loss of life that plays out on our television screens. In these heartrending, tumultuous times, artists share their talents in a surreal juxtaposition of entertainment with devastation. Pianist Davide Martello traveled 17 straight hours from Germany to the Polish-Ukrainian border with his piano in tow to play music for displaced refugees. Images of his instrument of peace being wheeled along war-torn streets imbued a dystopian backdrop with a modicum of promise. Another pianist performed Louis Armstrong's "What a Wonderful World" with grace and poise outside a Ukrainian train station, infusing a sense of light and optimism into a dark and desperate situation.
Generous acts of kindness remind us of the benevolent humanity that still exists in this world in spite of widespread divisiveness and tribalism. While the stressed-out, grief-stricken throngs of escapees milling about these performers don't necessarily stop to enjoy the show, I suspect this music, in stark contrast with the shelling and explosions with which they've had to contend, provides a temporary bit of respite.
A fire of determination burns in the eyes of these courageous citizens who stand united in their fight for democracy and the future of their homeland. Likewise, the glimpse of humanity with which writers endear their characters leads readers to become vested in seeing protagonists overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles. While the conflict's somber narrative plays out on the world stage, we hold our collective breaths in cautious optimism and root for the welfare of victims of this senseless war. Hopefully, our heartfelt sentiments are music to their weary ears.