Jan Lindelöf: ”We simply couldn't imagine then what is going on”
More than ten years ago I got to know a person from Ukraine. She had found love in Kristianstad. She left her parents, her sister and her friends to come here. She didn't speak any Swedish, but she knew a little English, so my wife and I were able to communicate to some extent from the very beginning.
She had trainee positions in local firms, and a few years ago she found a permanent job. At present she is on maternity leave, she and her husband now have a little son.
”My friend is very worried about her family who are still there”Jan Lindelöf
My friend's parents and sister have been here a few times, and we've got to know them well. With my friend as interpreter we were able to talk to them about the situation in their home town, about how they live, about the social situation and a lot more.
I understood that there was still a lot of corruption in the country, but welfare had increased. Sometimes they were able to go away on holiday.
”I knew that the country was encircled by Russian troops”Jan Lindelöf
We took them round in Kristianstad, and we showed them the memorial to Filip Orlik, the 18th century Ukrainian head of state. He lived for three years in Kristianstad with his family and his government. Our friends from Ukraine knew all about him.
”There have been several hundred people taking part each time”Jan Lindelöf
Now there is all-out war in the country. My friend is very worried about her family who are still there. Nobody in the family wants to flee, even although they are welcome to come to her/us in Kristianstad. Her parents think they are too old. Her sister has a permanent job, but will lose it if she flees. She also wants to stay close to her husband.
I am chairman of the Kristianstad UN society, a society that approves of UN as a peace-keeping organisation. When Russia started its war against Ukraine on 24th February it came as a surprise to me, although I knew that the country was encircled by Russian troops.
”Our engagement means a lot for people who have fled to Kristianstad,”Jan LIndelöf
I was extremely angry that an independent country not far from us has been invaded by a world power. When the question arose if we in the UN society should do anything, we had no difficulty in agreeing on Saturday manifestations , which we have now held four times outside Galleria Boulevard.
The slogan was ”Russia out of Ukraine!”. There have been several hundred people taking part each time. They have been able to listen to information and stories from both experts, authors and people who have lived in Ukraine and know the country well. We play the Ukrainian national anthem. After the meetings people want to talk.
”When I follow developments with dead and injured people, people fleeing , buildings that have been destroyed and so on, I feel helpless. I want to do something!”Jan Lindelöf
My friend and her family appreciate what my UN society is doing for Ukraine. I know that our engagement means a lot for people who have fled to Kristianstad, but also for many here who want to show their solidarity with a country close to us which is at war.
When I follow developments with dead and injured people, people fleeing , buildings that have been destroyed and so on, I feel helpless. I want to do something! Slava Ukraini!