In these most up-to-date years of battle, loads has modified. In Mariupol, there was a neighborhood heart referred to as Halabuda — a spot the place Japanese and pc literacy have been taught, the place e-book launches and concert events have been held, the place individuals discovered to be businessmen and proactive residents, the place they painted, sang and developed initiatives for an environmentally pleasant metropolis. After a brutal monthslong siege led to the Russian seize of the town within the spring of 2022, Halabuda needed to relocate. Immediately in Cherkasy, a metropolis in central Ukraine, it’s the place individuals restore drones.

There’s a lot extra left unrealized. Extra destinies that performed out as heroic in battle, however whose bearers can not do the issues they might have been fated to: write books, open eating places or uncover a treatment for Alzheimer’s illness. Their smiles now exist solely in pictures.

Among the many issues which have modified, maybe, is the will to inform the world what the Russians have completed and are doing to Ukrainians, up to now and right this moment. It was once so vivid, so resonant, making a second self for me — a self with tales of slain mates and pictures of mass burials, together with a agency conviction that each demise, each sorrow have to be advised, documented and avenged.

That feeling is gone. There are nonetheless the tales, pictures and convictions. However I don’t wish to inform the world about it anymore. The world is literate. It has entry to the web, to the information; it will possibly see all the pieces itself. I’m grateful to the hundreds, maybe tens of millions of individuals to whom we don’t have to clarify or present something anymore. They merely stood by us in Lithuania and Australia, Britain and Norway, the US and Morocco, Japan and Estonia. I used to be fortunate sufficient to know a few of them by identify. I used to be fortunate sufficient to fulfill them — fearless and type individuals — in Kyiv, Kharkiv, Lviv and even in locations the place the entrance line is a kilometer away.

Then again, nothing has modified, probably not. We have now the identical sense of readability that we had in 2014. The identical religion, the identical love, the identical rage. Do I wish to return to my prewar self, the one I used to be in 2013? No, I don’t. I don’t wish to discover myself again among the many lies about “one individuals” from which genocide, battle and homicide will sprout once more. I don’t wish to be again within the time when Russia’s assault was inevitable. I need us to win and there to be no battle.


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