The president is in uniform, children carry rifles, and Molotov cocktail recipes become a household item. As millions of Ukrainians migrate and contribute to one of the largest growing diasporas, those who have suited up to defend their home are confronted with a dichotomous world.
While the tension with Russia has been ever-present since Ukraine’s independence, many in the West probably could barely point out Kyiv on a map. Diasporans who have fled war and conflict therefore represent not only a global voice for their country, but also a beacon of hope for rebuilding and mobilizing to help their compatriots who brave the storm back home.
“Ukrainians abroad advocate for providing Ukrainian defenders with protective equipment, weapons, and defensive systems, gather millions of dollars in humanitarian and military aid, and support a well-developed network of credible volunteer organizations,” said Anton Pechenkin, coordinator of the UCMC press center in a panel discussion on the Ukrainian diaspora.
Diasporans and their efforts are seen and heard around the world, and make their way to Ukraine where those who remain continue to face increasing dichotomies in their daily lives. Remnants of cities which attracted tourists not long ago shine through the rubble, and those who live under bombs still manage to crack a smile or juggle a football. Traditional folkloric garments are traded in for camouflage and stuffed animals for weapons. Trains are flooded with those trying to escape, while other Ukrainians refuse to leave.
For this month’s series Diasporas and Dichotomies, IMAGO’s photographers urge us to see the varying truths that lie behind the image of war and conflict, which lives parallel to the persistent human spirit to keep-calm-and-carry-on.