from me & gaba in poland: two simple things you can do to support ukraine
hello my loves.
if you’re in a hurry, just scroll down. there’s a link to a big, legit and trustable crowdfunding campaign to aid ukraine, sent to us by my really good, smart friend gaba kulka in poland. please donate, even if it’s only $10-20. please also consider supporting the Kyiv Independent here on patreon. you’re already a patron of ME, just click and change the world a little okay.
i kiss you.
i am exhausted.
i have been meaning to post this for a few days, but sad to say, it’s not like ukraine is an issue that is going to go away anytime soon.
i have been – for reasons out of my control – at a very low personal ebb, you may have picked up on that from social media. it is, once again, stuff that i have to leave at the private-door for the good of all beings, but suffice to say: i’ve had the roughest week of my life since april 2020, and that shit was BAD! remember?
i am, however, feeling a new kind of resilience.
i feel i’ve hit my rock bottom, no further down can i head, and there is nowhere to go but … up.
i feel i am more able to help.
i am over the worst of the bad.
the light is at the end of the tunnel.
and given what i have gone through in the past two years, i am not as internally flappable as i used to be.
the darkness of others, the darkness of the world, the violence everywhere….it seems less threatening, for some reason.
the atrocities that human beings are able to inflict on other human beings can still leave me feeling aghast, but the atrocities can no longer pierce to the core of my heart and leave me bleeding and gasping for breath.
this is a new place for me.
i’ve remained empathetic, and feel more compassionate than ever, but i am no longer kept awake at night, restfulness and peace of mind getting gnawed away and destroyed by the darknesses i’ve seen during the day.
i have seen things in the last few years that have destroyed me. unfathomable things. things that i never could have imagined.
perhaps you have, too.
but instead of these things bringing me to the bottom of the well, i’m looking up into the bright light of day.
instead, i feel like i am looking on the darkness of the world – and those things, wars, abuses, and people around me who are lost in the dark and unable to find the exit door to the light – with a new level of love and acceptance. sometimes i feel pity, but mostly i just feel a new level of love.
love for the violent men who are lost. compassion for the putins and the trumps, compassion for the guy who just called me a cunt and kicked the side of my car in … because he was drunk (and high?).
even him. all of them.
they are scared. they are freaked. i see them. i see the fear in people – men, especially – in a way i never have before. it’s all so clear at the moment.
i look around and see all this violence, and i just see scared little children in grown-people bodies. aching for love, aching in pain, warped and twisted and flailing and going about everything all wrong. unable to reach what they most crave.
i love them all.
i also know when to drive the car away when the drunk guy is kicking it. it’s not like i’m sticking around to give him a fucking hug. ( i owe you guys a longer blog about this story. but not now).
i wonder if this is true for any of you, too.
i wonder if any of you feel stronger because of what you have had to weather in the past few years, or if you feel broken down and less able to cope. i see both things happening in my friends. on the one hand, a tough determination and a new kind of integrity. on the other hand, sometimes, a breakdown of the basic fabric, and an inability to keep heart and soul together. a lot of duct-taping of the heart, a lot of leaking.
i look at the global situation and i know one thing: i am in new zealand. i am not in ukraine, i am not in myanmar, i am not in afgahnistan.
i am so safe. my kid is – relative to many kids in the world – so safe.
there are those who woke up a few weeks ago to peace, and who are now waking up to war. to destroyed homes. to rubble. to sudden flight. to unanswerable questions.
a million people send me this clip of a little ukrainian girl singing “let it go” in a shelter.
if you saw my tour, you’ll know why. and know why it brings me to tears.
it wasn’t the song itself….
it was the applause.
it was the encouragement. the love.
it was her smile at the end, being celebrated by all the people in that shelter.
she is ash’s age.
right now, if you are in Ukraine, please know that we are sending all our love.
i am sure that all of you – my patrons, who are People of the Internet – are all already inundated with news, stories, and harrowing, unforgettable images from the senseless destruction of life, property and peace over there.
we are just a little community of 10,000 or so people.
i have been wondering: what can we do?
i could make the usual speeches and send you links to the red cross and the UNHCR and hope for the best, as we watch our checkbooks flow to the larger and more established aid and relief charities. but then i thought about gaba.
gaba kulka is one of my old-school touring musician friends. she lives in poland and we have kept up with each other – on stages, in person, on the internet – for a very long time.
she writer crazy-intelligent punk-cabaret-type songs, speaks better fucking english than i do even thought it’s her second language, and has a daughter, matylda, who is almost exactly ash’s age.
she and i have been comparing notes as musician-moms since the babies came. we’ve had a beautiful, slowly flowering friendship, and i treasure her. we have phoned each other every couple of months since the pandemic started, and checked in on one another’s mental health. we joke with each other. we mourn with each other. we compare notes about our weird kids.
here we are, performing and hanging out together in 2012:
i have been listening to the pain in gaba’s voice about the political situation over there.
so when the invasion of ukraine happened, i called her.
she told me that she and her husband were literally at the supermarket, buying nappies, buckwheat and other simple supplies for the refugees that were flooding into poland. she told me that friends in the neighborhood were converting their homes into apartments to house the people landing on their doorsteps. fuck.
my first reaction was to want to cover her grocery bill. and to ask her if those friends needed cash. to to ask if we could send her money, to spend on these immediate issues in her neighborhood. but she’s one person, and a busy mom, not a fucking charity. i could not ask her to do this.
so i took a deep breath and asked her what, very specifically, we could do to help.
us. right here and now.
this community: what could WE do to help?
after thinking about it for a week, this is what she wrote:
Ever since the Russian army’s aggression on Ukraine, Polish people started mobilising at every level to help our eastern neighbours, and that feels like a beacon of hope in this grim time.
But even though the countless, grassroots efforts have been uplifting, they have also been really hard to get my head around, and this fragmentation has become an increasing problem – it may feel overwhelming right now, to find the exact right place where you should put your energy and money.
What we need is better communication, and a more centralized system of support for people affected by this war.
That’s why my first thought went to nonprofits that I’d already known for years, who already have the know-how – most of all Fundacja Ocalenie, who has been working with and providing help to refugees in Poland for many years.
Luckily some people have it together, and know that combining efforts is the way to go: There is a huge fundraiser, Together For Ukraine:
It is based on one of the largest fundraising platforms in Poland.
The organizations benefiting from the fundraiser include Fundacja Ocalenie, Polskie Forum Migracyjne, Homo Faber, Fundacja Dialog and many more.
They post frequent and helpful updates documenting how some of the funds are already put to use.
As an addition: if someone likes to know very precisely what their money buys. Here are two verified fundraisers that gather money for 1) tactical first aid kits https://zrzutka.pl/dlaukrainy and 2) bulletproof vests and helmets https://zrzutka.pl/pomocukrainie The links come from the Euromaidan-Warszawa organisation, which has been active since 2013.
Please consider supporting them.
I really trust Gaba, and I hope you trust who I trust, so please consider sending your money over in that direction. I just donated $500.
Like I said above, even if you can only donate $10, it will mean a great deal to the cause that you took the time to do it, and it will send a message of people-power.
If you donate, leave us a comment here, and we will praise and love you.
and another thing, and possibly even more important….for a more sustainable future in the NEWS department:
THE KYIV INDEPENDENT is on Patreon – one of the only independent media outlets in the country. I supported them last week and I cannot tell you how good it feels to be able to know that my dollars are literally keeping real, honest journalism funded in ukraine.
this is a super powerful place to put your money, and you can become a patron for a dollar. even if you’ve been cutting back on patronage lately (and i know there’s been a lot of belt-tightening lately), this is different.
this is revolutionary beyonf art and music. this is giving funding, a voice, a megaphone to a press that really, really needs the support.
i became the 3,249th patron last week….
, they are are now up to OVER 6,000 PATRONS, bringing in about $67,914/month. it’s amazing.
the newspaper is in ENGLISH. your funding will help then with bills, internet access, office costs, reportage, security, translators, photographers….you name it…..everything you can imagine. this is incredible.
please become a patron of these guys alongside me:
and that, my friends, is all for now.
i am doing a HUGE film project tomorrow, top secret, and i should be writing more next week when i get over being cosmically exhausted.
i love you all so much.
hang in there.
and if you need me to say it
whatever it is….
LET IT GO.
——THE NEVER-ENDING AS ALWAYS———
1. if you are a patron and new to my work, don’t forget your patronage allows you access to ALL of my patreon releases to date. HERE is the link to download my latest big solo record, “There Will Be No Intermission”, and HERE is a link to download the PDF of the art/essay book that goes with it.
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3. see All the Things (over 150 of them) i’ve made so far on patreon:
4. JOIN THE SHADOWBOX COMMUNITY FORUM, find your people, and discuss everything: https://forum.theshadowbox.net/
5. new to my music and TOTALLY OVERWHELMED? TAKE A WALK THROUGH AMANDALANDA….we made a basic list of my greatest hits n stuff (at least up until a few years ago, this desperately needs updating) on this lovely page: http://amandalanda.amandapalmer.net/
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