Why You Should Turn off Your Christmas Lights for Ukraine

published on 21 December 2022

On the darkest day of the year, households and streets across the world will be turning off their lights at 20:00 local time in solidarity with Ukraine.

On the darkest day of the year, households and streets across the world will be turning off their lights at 20:00 local time in solidarity with Ukraine.

Whilst many look forward to longer days following the darkest day of the year, Ukraine faces a Christmas without electricity as over 10 million people have no light, heat and water as a result of Russia's continued illegal invasion. Since October, Russian forces have wreaked a humanitarian crisis upon Ukraine. As part of a $10 million fundraising drive for hospital generators in the country, the campaign An Hour For Ukraine will signify global participating nations' solidarity with President Volodymyr Zelenskyy and the people of Ukraine.

Russia wants to leave millions of people without light and heat in winter. But we have light and warmth inside. - Oleksandra Matviichuk

For 60 minutes from 20:00 local time, tonight on Wednesday 21 November, you can take part simply by turning off your Christmas lights anddonating to the UNITED24 initiative. The people of Ukraine will endure continued blackouts this festive season.

'When the light shuts off, you always take it as something out of the ordinary. But when you spend four, ten, twenty hours or even days without it, and you start to get used to the darkness – that’s the worst thing ever. This means that light is not the only thing they want to take away from you. They aim for everything that is part of your life. This is how we live in Ukraine right now – defending ourselves from the enemy who came to destroy us. That is why I am turning to you now, true friends of Ukraine. We need your support! Every doctor who is forced to operate in the dark. Every father and every mother who does everything to give their families what they need – even in the darkness. Every Ukrainian who has faith in freedom, despite the darkness. Together we will stop this war! Please search for new ways to help Ukraine! And thank you to everyone who cares about freedom!', says Zelenskyy.

Initiated by UNITED24, the global creative network 1 Granary, War Against War (an alternative media organisation), Ukranian parliament members and 500 MPs and MEPs as part of the United for Ukraine coalition, An Hour for Ukraine inspires both an act of solidarity and a moment of reflection for the world, spreading awareness that war still wages in the country. Human rights defender and Nobel Peace Prize winner Oleksandra Matviichuk explains that 'Christmas is coming, and Russia is shelling Ukrainian cities. Russia wants to leave millions of people without light and heat in winter. But we have light and warmth inside. We stand by supporting each other. Because now we feel, perhaps more than ever before, what it means to be human.'

Paris, New York, Sydney, Warsaw, Prague, Edinburgh, Liverpool, Reykjavik, Sofia, Ottawa, Helsinki are all participating. In London, Lambeth Palace will turn off their lights, with the Archbishop of Canterbury saying: 'May this small action be a sign that, even in the deepest darkness, the light of hope and love cannot be extinguished.' To add, The Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan said: 'Whilst we all prepare for Christmas festivities this hour of darkness reminds us all of the hardships and privations being faced by ordinary Ukrainians every day as they live without power, heat and water in freezing temperatures. On this shortest day and every day, London stands in solidarity with Ukraine.'

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