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When the Light at Home was On

by Katya H.


If you ask most people to tell you their story, they will start by telling you where they were born. I’m constantly asked about my birthplace while filling in forms in banks, hospitals, hotels, and every time I show my Ukrainian passport, that line is there. No matter where or how it happens, it hurts me, and I am not proud.

I was born in Moscow, a city which would later give orders to terrorise the country that raised me. I grew up in Irpin, a Ukrainian town that became famous worldwide not for its beautiful woods and parks, unfortunately, but for the photo of a broken bridge and dozens of citizens gathered beneath it. I spent the brightest years of my youth in Kyiv, the capital of Ukraine, which, while I am writing this, is being plunged into darkness by the Moscow regime, striking at the Ukrainian energy system. As you can see, my birthplace is destroying the home of my heart, and I’m experiencing a kind of self-destruction. I want to lay low, get lost in the streets of Dublin where I hear dozens of languages and see varied outfits - jeans, tracksuits, hijab, tuxedos, and Indian saris. But I know that, to learn the lessons of history, you need to reflect on the past.

I’m writing to you from Dublin, which is getting ready to welcome 2023. Passing by cosy houses and windows where Irish people are joyfully preparing for Christmas, I can’t help but recall my home when a warm light was still on.

I ask myself now - what is home?


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