The “Russian Roulette” series from Vice News is a good way to get a handle on what has been going on in Ukraine over recent months. Simon Ostrovsky should get an award for sticking at it and getting the stories. If you only get your news via the BBC, then this is as good an opportunity as any to open your eyes a little more. At the time of writing the series is up to edition #68 so would require some serious time to catch up.
The air undressed them
A most poignant way to describe the loss and tragedy that is MH17. Already this atrocity is becoming a little lost in the deluge of news.
A week ago, some men broke into the shed at the bottom of my garden. It’s a nice shed, big, dry and warm. I use it for relaxation as it has a couple of comfy chairs where I enjoy reading on summer evenings. Of course, I was taken by surprise when the men broke in, but nothing prepared me for the shock when I realised the men were from the family next door! We have lived next to this family for years, we get on, are civil to each other and we watch over each other’s property when one of us is away.
Once I realised who these men were, I decided to go and talk to them, to ask them to leave, thinking there was some mistake or at least some rational explanation with an apology. Approaching the shed at the bottom of the garden, the men stopped whatever it was they were doing and stared at me, one was holding what looked like a crow bar. I decided to stop. I called out, asking what they thought they were doing. No answer. I called out again, asking them to leave, or I’ll call the police. Still no answer.
So I called the police, who came and looked at the situation and said, bizarrely, that they would ‘monitor it’. I told them these men were trespassing, and more to the point, told them that the men lived next door. Still, the Police refused to take decisive action, instead preferring a softer approach (whatever that means). By now, I was quite cross. These men had been in my shed for fours hours, going through my stuff and sitting in my chairs.
This situation went on for four days, at night one man would go home and the other would sleep in the shed. Meanwhile, the Police talked to next door to try and resolve the situation (next door would not talk to me). It turns out that next door believe that the shed belongs to them! I can’t quite get my head around this. I explain to the police that the shed is most definitely mine, it’s in my garden, I paid for it, built it and maintain it. This seemingly watertight case falls on deaf ears.
On day five of this ‘occupation’ I see some new activity at the bottom of the garden. The men are digging holes around my shed. This time I talk to one of my other neighbours. To my astonishment he fills me in on the missing news. Apparently, there is a rumour that the bottom of my garden used to belong to next door, long before I moved here. My neighbour has the gall to say that perhaps I should give them my shed as they did own the land in the past. I calmly point out that the land my shed is built on belongs to me now. I even have legal paperwork to prove it. This conversation leaves me exasperated and upset. How can something so blatantly wrong be seen as almost acceptable?
By the end of day five, it becomes clear what the men are doing, they have started to build a fence around my shed. Not only this, they have started to remove the fence separating my shed from their garden, so that my shed will soon be inside their garden.