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.
Heart-cry from Donetsk: "We exist and we are not a mirage and we are waiting for you..." Part 1
Heart-cry from Donetsk: "We exist and we are not a mirage and we are waiting for you..." Part 2
This is a full version of this heart-cry from Donetsk:
Still, as soon as my mum gets used to one fear, she develops another one. One day I took her to Kramatorsk to register to get Ukrainian pension. (Yes, first, we were getting Ukrainian pension as we did not have any other source of income. I refuse to work for the “republic” and I will never force myself to do this, and it has penetrated everywhere and even the most neutral companies are decorated with its “flags” and Zakharchenko’s portraits). I thought my mum would not survive that trip. First, her blood pressure went up when she saw “DPR” checkpoints and armed men. She had not seen them in Donetsk as when she went outside, she was in the courtyard only or in the basement. When we approached a Ukrainian checkpoint and saw a Ukrainian flag, she remembered all the propaganda lessons she had heard on TV and from our neighbours. "Honey, where are we going?! They are going to force us sing the anthem of Ukraine now, they are going to torture us... Valentyna has told me... Let’s go home..." It was extremely hard to persuade her to stay. I kept giving her pills and drops during the passport control, she did not let go of my had as “fearful Ukrainians” could kidnap me. We even thought about sending for the doctor, but, fortunately, she managed to overcome this.
Our poor grannies and mothers, what have they done to you?! Then, there was a difficult journey home and my mom still has not managed to overcome the fear of Ukrainians. This is why, half a year later, she would nor even hear about any trip to prolong her Ukrainian pension. We manage to survive due to sone freelance work my friends provide me with. And, unfortunately, my mum registered to get a “DPR” pension which is delivered to our home. Do you condemn us? Well, you probably have the right. But this is the only way we can survive.
By the way, as for assimilation. Very often those of us who continue living on the occupied territory, are accused of “Stockholm syndrome”. I will speak for myself and those who surround me. During the first year we still lived in “our Donetsk”, though it was shelled and we had to hide in bomb shelters. It looked as if the war ousted this so-called “DPR” to the background and a person’s life and helping each other was in the foreground. During short ceasefires, for people like me, Donetsk continued without the “people’s republic”, but with our native streets, “Donbas Arena”, botannic garden, forged figures park. It looked like “DPR” and its “citizens” and we lived in parallel worlds and met only on the level of everyday problems. They had their life and we had ours. We still believed that soon it would all be over. We were busy with survival, our relatives’ health, and attempts to realize what was going on around us.
The turning point happened a year later. Last spring you could already see that a lot of people have clarified their position. Some people just grew tired of fighting, their immunity faded. Even originally pro-Ukrainian residents of Donetsk started perceiving their ideological surrounding calmly: they started going to festivals, they feel comfortably under hoisted “DPR” flags, they conduct “politically correct” conversations and concentrate only on positive moments, ignoring all the negative ones. One of friends of mine, let us name her “Sveta”, says: “I am exhaused by vain hopes that we will be liberated and they keep tormenting us with these “DPR” ideas at work and on TV. I have just put up with this and with the idea that it will last forever; I stopped stuffing my head with stupid ideas and thoughts and, you know, I feel harmony now.” Sveta became like the others around her, she became like the others, one of many.
Sveta and the like were hooked on their love to the native city: everyone who is here is a real Donetsk resident who deserves to be honoured, and those who left the are traitors, who will never understand those who still live there. We do not force you join the “Donetsk republic” movement (the leading organization) but let us do something good for our city together if you love Donetsk. This technology worked and it was not surprising as Ukraine, on its part, did not offer any message to counterfight this one, it could offer only screams accusing the Donbas residents of life under the occupants’ rule. No one cared who really supported them in Donetsk and who did not. A lot of people had grown absolutely exhausted and failed to resist at that time, so, when they put up with the situation they felt relieved. I understand them and I even used to envy them at the beginning. Because I was tired myself: you wake up and you immediately look on the internet — what if the Airport had been liberated. But it had not. You go to bed and look through the news again — what if...
However, a year later the reaction changed completely and turned into rejecting all the things connected with “DPR” even for people who doubt its illegal status. This was a total breakoff, sometimes burning all the bridges for coming back. We decided as well. We have our harmony and our reality too: we do not live in parallel or virtual Donetsk, we do live in an occupied Donetsk now. We understand that we are necessary here and now and this gives us power to hope.
So, I have written it and revealed my soul to you. I will press “Send” now, save the text in the cloud and delete it from my post and from my computer... Tomorrow, after I make sure that you got the letter, I will delete it from the cloud as well. And I will proceed with living my life. The life in occupation... Just remember that we exist, we are not a mirage and we are waiting for you...”
The letter ended with the words “If you want to publish the letter, use a false name and surname as we cannot use our real ones. Or just sign it “A phantom from Donetsk”.
However, this is not a phantom. This is a real person...
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