The Italian writer Cousin Levi He stated that “in history and in life, one sometimes seems to glimpse a fierce law that says: to him who has, it will be given, and to him who does not have, it will be taken away.” The words of this Auschwitz survivor resonate more than ever when the steamroller of future takes ahead, and before their time, those who, defying the horror of history turned into a meat grinder, decide to leave everything to transform themselves into angels. guardians of the innocent who live under the storms of steel. People like Emma Igual, the director of the NGO Road to Relief, murdered in Ukraine while trying to assist civilians trapped on the front.
The death of the humanitarian worker and her partner, the Canadian volunteer Anthony “Tonko” Ihnat, it is a war crime. There’s no doubt. As little as the chances of the material authors becoming known, and even less, sitting on the dock of the accused at the International Criminal Court. However, the person most responsible for this and a long list of crimes committed on Ukrainian territory sits on the throne of the Kremlin, and we know his name: Vladimir Putin.
Emma was young in years, only 32 years old, but old in experiences lived on the dark side of humanity. Inspired by the experiences of her grandmother, an Austrian Holocaust survivor adopted by a Spanish family, after graduating from the prestigious University of Berkeley, where she could have easily chosen a much simpler, safer and more stable path, she decided to dedicate herself to help refugees and evicted people living badly in Greece, Myanmar, Morocco and Kenya.
His vocation to help others was so intense, brave and true that, shortly after the invasion of Ukraine, he decided to found the NGO Road to Relief together with the French Henri Camenen, “without any type of plan, no resources, no money. Without having made any prior collection,” he explained in an episode of the Diario de Ukraine podcast, on RTVE. It didn’t take long to turn a small humanitarian initiative into an organization with 25 volunteers dedicated to one of the most dangerous tasks: going into the battlefront and evacuating civilians trapped under the hail of shrapnel.
According to the organization, a few months after starting work they had already saved 1,300 people, 650 of them children, about 300 with disabilities. And, as the war dragged on, they expanded their work to distributing humanitarian aid among the many civilians, mostly elderly, who still refuse to leave their homes engulfed by total war. That’s what led her to settle in the city of Sloviansknear the Eastern Front.
Every exit towards the meat grinder in front of Bakhmut, where he died last Saturday, meant risking his life. Every minute spent in the devastated city of Chasiv Yar, where hundreds of civilians refuse to march despite being about 5 kilometers from the front line, was equivalent to buying handfuls of numbers in a lottery of violent death. However, Emma and her volunteers returned, time and time again.
In that city where the houses have become broken and blackened skeletons, where the asphalt is holey like a gigantic Gruyere cheese and death, fear and resilience run rampant, the vehicle in which Emma was traveling was hit by a Russian artillery shell, or by an anti-tank guided missile, according to the Ukrainian Prosecutor General’s Office. Something that, if confirmed, would show that the war crime was carried out with treachery.
Be that as it may, Emma Igual was murdered while doing her job helping the helpless in a war of aggression by the Russian State. Therefore, it is difficult to understand that the same Government that next Tuesday will grant him, posthumously, the Great Cross of Isabel the Catholichas a minister and general secretary of Podemos, Ione Belarrawho, after the death of the Spanish aid worker, regretted it on social networks but avoided condemning those who murdered her, or the fact that in the war in Ukraine there is an aggressor country and one that is attacked.
For her part, Emma’s double legacy can never be questioned. First, she leaves us with how much she made of her in her short life, opening a path to the true altar of benevolence, where only selfless spirits like hers live. A life to admire and that, without a doubt, will awaken the conscience of future volunteers, of whom the world greatly needs. And second, her murder is a reminder and new evidence of Russia’s war crimes. Wherever you are, Emma Same It will always be a humanitarian light to aspire to.