One of 112 Channel journalists got a letter from an old friend of his who lives in occupied Donetsk. One day he had phoned her to ask if she was fine and she told him that it was difficult to tell about everything via telephone. “Why don’t you write about it?”, asked he. So she did... We do not disclose the author’s name, of course as it can be dangerous.
This is a full version of this heart-cry from Donetsk:
We exist, we are not a myth or a mirage. We search for this combination of blue and yellow while walking along streets. Here’s a couple: she’s wearing sky-blue jeans ans he’s wearing a wheat-coloured T-shirt... We used to be so outraged when we saw someone writing on the walls of our houses, but now we are happy to read “Donetsk is Ukraine” and “DPR equals evil” on these walls. We buy all the magnets with tridents which are still left in shops and explain shop assistants that “it is just for fun”. We still hope and we still believe... How many of us are there? I think, quite a lot. How many, at least approximately? I do not know. We gather only in small groups of three or four people at a time. If there is a bigger number of people it will be louder (and the neighbours will hear) and it will look suspicious (and the neightbours will notice it). Still, I know that several people gather at my friend’s summer house and another friend of mine has learnt about such a “circle” as well recently. We dream of meeting all together but it is impossible now. It is impossible even to meet “in person” though we do this sometimes. This is why we “meet” on social networks in closed communities and use our nicknames. However, you cannot be sure that some “Vira the Ukrainian” is not a traitor from “DPR” ministry of state security” or some quiet “Vasya Vasya” does not write down your reaction to what “Vira” is calling for. We have learnt all the nuances of such kind of communication since 2014.
We delete all the private messages immediately. Before we go outside, we eliminate all suspicious things from our telephones. We keep all our flash memories outside the flat and one of them, which I keep at home “just in case” is hidden in such secret places that I do not always remember myself where I put it last time. We switch off the doorbell not to shudder every time someone presses it. It the people from the maintenance office come and ask for something, my neighbour telephones me on my mobile. Or I phone her on hers. You are extremely lucky if your neighbour shares your views.
Your house is really your castle now. You cherish your little world there, you can think freely and listen to and watch whatever you want in the headphones. Whenever you leave it, you feel like a shrimp without a shell. All those things hurt you: three-coloured surroundings, rubles in your wallet, conversations of the crowds around you. “Have you read what Zakharchenko replied to Kharkiv residents? He is so smart, isn’t he? We are going to get Russian passports soon and no one will care about this Ukraine any more. Russia has not let us down and it never will...” You curse to yourself and pass by. Half a year ago I could answer them something, for example “How stupid you are, ladies”, but I decided not to react after a series of winter arrests. We all have our duties here and we do not tell others about them. For example, our men “get naughty” sometimes and draw patriotic posters in the streets. It may seem stupid to someone, but in our situation this is also a demonstration of our position.
There is a notice board in my house. Since August 2014, someone used to write the slogan “Glory to Ukraine!” on the ads about turning hot water off or on the ads asking people to join the “militants’ army”. I used to answer back writing the reply “Glory to Heroes!” in block letters.
Whenever residents of our house would notice that, they would tear those ads off and workers of the maintenance office would put up new ones. And again someone would write “Glory to Ukraine!” on them. One day I did not have a pen to write reply: “Glory to Heroes!”, but as I was coming back from a shop I noticed that someone had already written it.
This is really incredible. First, you understand that some “soulmate” comes into your house (you reject the idea that he or she can be one of your neighbours as a person should be mad to betray themselves in such a way) and later you realize that there are at least two people who do this, besides you. We do not know each other personally but we exist and this is an immense moral support.
One day a “police officer” went around all the flats trying to find witnesses (It wasn’t you? - No, it wasn’t. - What about him? - Oh, I don’t think so). After that, our exchange of patriotic slogans stopped.
Later, my daughter came to visit me (she has been on “big land”, in Ukraine for more than a year). We plunged in memories and I asked her: “Do you remember, someone wrote patriotic slogans on the ads in our house?” - “It was me, mom”. I was ready to kill her as I had had no idea that I had been exchanging slogans with my daughter. She could be captured and sent “to the basement” (usually, militants torture their victims in basements of administrative buildings). I had learnt long before that who was the third person in our “correspondence”, it was one of my neighbours. She is a senior lady without any idea of guerrilla warfare. She did not hear me coming downstairs and I caught her in the act when she was writing the slogan. I was surprised immensely when I discovered who it was and so was she.
Heart-cry from Donetsk: "We exist and we are not a mirage and we are waiting for you..." Part 2
New service "Explain Ukraine". This is a daily mailout of three articles which were written about the situation in the Donbas by Donbas journalists and translated into English. Honest vision of people who work in the field is unbiased and fresh which is crucial in the world which is full of desinformation and propaganda. We try to share this vision in out daily mailout. You can subscribe here.