Friendship

At Manitoba Legislative
dedicated to victims of Holodomore
This past week there were news images of the dismantling of the friendship monument in Kyiv. A symbol to peace can’t stand strong when bullets mock its existence. Although I saw many monuments and statues during my travels over there, I don't remember this one and now, I guess it's too late.

Lenin, in Ukrainian village in 2004
I find it hard to believe that this monument even existed. After all, it’s not the first time that Mother Russia tried to destroy Ukraine. The Holodomor, a deliberate starving of Ukrainians back in the early thirties, proved that Russia had only contempt for its ‘friend’. 

A quick google, and I found other monuments supposedly dedicated to friendship but that only sneer at its meaning. North Korea and China have the Sino-Korean Friendship Bridge. No pedestrians allowed.

The Friendship Park between California and Mexico has in recent years morphed from being a picnic area to being controlled by U.S. Border Patrol watch.

Close to home, we have an International Peace Garden between Manitoba and North Dakota. Canada has the longest undefended border in the world. Too bad such a border cannot be taken for granted. Too bad that broken friendships can endanger so many lives. 

Friendships can evolve. There was a poem I learned as a child, “Make new friends, but keep the old. One is silver and the other gold.” (by Joseph Parry) Built on trust, friendships are fragile things that need more than symbolism to flourish.  Ukraine now has new friends and I’m proud of my country for being one of them.  

Without friends, I truly don't know where I would be. Can't choose your relatives, but friends are precious, indeed. Real friends don't need monuments, they just need a warm human hand.


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