Picking up from my post this past Friday about Denmark and the Netherlands being highly bicycle centric, in a story of hope and solidarity this week that I heard on the BBC, Denmark has donated bicycles to Ukrainian refugees and their children as a welcome gift to the country.
As some of you may know who have been following the news, almost six months ago Russia, without cause, invaded Ukraine. The whole reason for this: Ukraine decided to become an independent state after the Soviet Union collapsed.
Ukraine’s decision to part ways with mother Russia occurred in 1991, an act that also was ratified by a referendum. Since that time, Russia and Ukraine have fought in many skirmishes and wars, the most prior war being in 2014, which resulted in Russia’s annexation (claiming) of the Crimean peninsula. Important to note, that war was also started by Russia.
With this 2022 invasion, the Russian military showed no mercy to residents or their children, which is why so many decided to flee. So far, 12 million people have allegedly escaped the war in Ukraine, 30,000 of which made their way to Denmark.
It’s unfortunate but true that many refugees from Ukraine (and other war-torn countries in the world) do not always meet with acceptance when they find a new place. That is why the story of Denmark welcoming Ukrainian refugees with the gift of bicycles is one of hope, acceptance, and solidarity.
Keep in mind these refugees most likely left everything they had behind but a few small possessions, not to mention their homes and family members who decided to stay in Ukraine and fight the Russian aggressors.
Bicycling is a universal language that most of us understand. It can really make us all the same, maybe even help to make the world a better place. And the gift of a bicycle to a child (and even to adults) is one that shows we are all mobile citizens of the world. And in Denmark, a country where most of its residents use bicycles to go everywhere and do everything, it is like saying “welcome, our home is your home, you’ll fit right in.”
Do you know any migrants or immigrants from another country? Have you shared the wonders of bicycling with them? If you have any stories to share with me, please do. And please like, share, and comment on this post.