Donetsk has been in the news a lot recently. A Lot! BBC in England devoted a show on racism and one former English football player even stated here that one might return in a coffin by going to Ukraine. Then, after Ukraine lost to France last Friday night, some Ukrainian politicians claimed here that Donetsk was unpatriotic and should not have hosted 2 of Ukraine’s games.
In July I will celebrate 2 years of living in Donetsk. I have lived in 3 cities in this country and each of them has its own charm and beauty. I have never lived in western Ukraine, but have visited there several times and have enjoyed the beauty there.
I have loved Donetsk from the day I moved here. It reminds me much of the area where I grew up in Lone Star, Texas. Lots of industry with hard working people who are typically underpaid.
I live in the center of town with one of the most beautiful walking boulevards I have ever seen. And the people are warm and hospitable in many ways. So, I have grown weary of reading all the bad press about Donetsk and Ukraine. I have become like a parent who will defend a child in the face of adversity!
So, I was very proud of Donetsk yesterday when I attended the fan zone last night and witnessed thousands of Ukrainians who stood for over 2 hours, watching our team take on England. Throughout the game, Ukraine fans chanted “Ukraine”. Check out the video Donetsk vs England.
Tuesday afternoon I took a walk around the city to see how English fans were doing. I had great conversations with several people who were well pleased with their time in Donetsk (this was before the match). I even met a couple of Brits who drove from England to Donetsk, via the southern route of Ukraine. Their one complaint was with the hotels and their decision to raise prices 4-5 times more than usual.
After the match I learned about some British fans who staged a “parade” in response to the English footballer who said don’t go to Ukraine. I read the story this morning here with a smile of vindication on my face. After all, I am a proud “parent” who loves my “child”, this city called Donetsk.