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Ukraine flag over Kharkiv

More than eight months after the Russian invasion, the war in Ukraine continues. Here are some updates; for earlier news see this post: friendshousemoscow.org/news-about-ukraine/

War and the Peace Testimony

Eight Quaker agencies have signed a joint statement on the Peace Testimony and the war in Ukraine. The statement notes that the Quaker vocation as a peace church is “to seek and make real the peaceful alternatives to armed conflict, and to ensure that the long-lasting human costs of war are not forgotten or neglected.” Read more about it here: Quakers united in opposition to war | Quakers in Britain

The Peace Testimony is discussed by Don Rowe in The Friend magazine: “The invasion of Ukraine, and the actions of terrorist groups, present us with a challenge: would we be prepared to fight those who will not be persuaded by argument? Do we support the military when, under UN resolution, it acts to prevent genocide? This problem has faced Christians for centuries…” More here: Fighting talk: Don Rowe’s Thought for the week | The Friend

The online Meeting for Worship

Ever since the war began, FHM has been hosting a daily online Meeting for Worship to hold Ukraine in the Light. At the beginning there were 400 to 500 participants each day, from 15 different countries. As weeks and months have drawn out, numbers have gradually diminished but about 70 people continue to attend frequently. Julie Harlow tells the ongoing story of the meeting in an article here, reproduced by kind permission of Western Friend magazine.

The meeting starts at 9:00 am Pacific US time, (which is 12 noon Eastern US, 5:00 pm (GMT) in the UK, 6:00 pm in France and so on). Here are the Zoom details to attend the meeting:

Meeting ID: 416 500 5614 Passcode: 182805

Support for Ukraine in eastern Europe

Friends in some of the countries surrounding Ukraine are working to support Ukrainian people who are suffering as a result of the war. For an update on what is happening, see here: Fundraising for Quaker work to support Ukrainian refugees | FWCC-EMES (fwccemes.org)

and a report by Tim Gee (the general secretary of FWCC) on the “sparse but spirited” group of Friends in eastern Europe and what they are doing (Making waves: Tim Gee visits Friends bordering Russia and Ukraine | The Friend, paywall).

Activities by Friends in Estonia included a fundraising concert in which Dale Andrew (from Paris Meeting) performed accompanied by Estonian pianist Andrus Rannaaare – more details here: Quakers hold concert for war refugees | The Friend (free to read article)

FHM is pleased to support two projects in Estonia that are working with refugees from Ukraine: Alternatives to Violence (AVP) workshops to bring together Ukrainian refugees with citizens of Estonia who are ethnically Russian; and provision of books and used computers for refugee children.

See: AVP and Books for Estonia

Samizdat born again…

In Russia, mass protests against the war, like the ones that took place in February and March, were quickly stifled by new laws. However, there are Russians who are continuing to protest their government’s war. Many of those protests take the form of anonymous street art; graffiti, stencils, and stickers have flooded cities all over the country. The artists then share their work on social media channels, where one finds photographs of thousands of art actions and even some practical advice…

In March, acting from what he described as feelings of deep sorrow, one sculptor from St. Petersburg began to equip his miniature plasticine figures with protest signs. He installed them, and photographed them, in various locations in the city. He then invited others to join him. The result has been a collective effort involving more than 900 artists in several different Russian cities The project is called the “Wee Little Protest.” The artists make plasticine, clay or paper dolls who carry signs protesting the war. The little “protestors” each stand about six inches tall; they now number over 5,000; they even have their very own Instagram channel, “malenkiy piket” (small picket): Malenkiy_piket1 (@malenkiy_piket) • Instagram photos and videos

For more information, and photos, see here.