If Things Had Been Different

I was twatting about on the web late yesterday afternoon when I came across something which, for me at least, really put the current crisis into some perspective. Did you know that the Ukrainian city of Lviv considered bidding for the 2022 winter olympics? It ultimately withdrew it’s bid in 2014, but when you think about it, I find that rather profound: in another alternate reality, if things had unfolded just slightly differently, one of the cities we are now seeing being devastated so terribly could now be hosting the world’s biggest sporting event. While so far Lviv has been spared the worst of the violence, no doubt residents there are looking at other Ukrainian cities and fearing the worst.

I go up to the Olympic park quite regularly for strolls. I went up there yesterday, and the area really is flourishing. Yet that could have been Lviv: if history had played out just slightly differently, Lviv could have had a similar area of sports arenas and stadia; the daily reports coming from there could have been about world records and medal tables, not casualties, destruction and refugees. Instead, Ukrainian cities like Kyiv and Mariupol are now being laid to ruin. By the same token, if such barbarity can happen in such European cities, then it can also happen in London. After all, not long ago Lviv was a modern, vibrant city just as London is, with aspirations to put itself upon the world stage. And now look at it, fearing the prospect of being devastated by Russian bombs. Imagine that the cities were swapped, that Lviv, Kyiv or Mariupol now had the parks and the stadia, and that London was the city now being ruined; such an exchange of roles could have happened all too easily.

I say again, how the fuck can this be happening in 2022?

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