Look at Donbass eyes
Original Article: Antifahist
In the RPD has recently started a project entitled "Look into the Donbass eyes “. Its initiator and author is Odessa journalist Irina Lashkevich, winner of the Oles Buzina prize in the category of "journalism of war" in 2016. Lashkevich, who participated in the investigation of the tragedy of the House of Trade Unions, was forced to to leave the Ukrainian territory. Now he lives and works in Donetsk. In his arsenal of thousands of images and reports on the Ukrainian punitive bombings against the localities of Donbass shows that, despite the war, life does not stop.
According to the published information, the idea of this project was born long ago, since the journalistic work is developed in the zone of conflict: "I have seen children and old people living under the bombings. I was always surprised by his eyes. Children in the front line can only speak as equals as adults. It would be strange if they spoke as children, it is not possible because they live in a solitary environment. I wanted to create a project that would reach adults from both sides. With the images of the front zone I want to show the most tragic side of the war. This war has ended the fate of hundreds of thousands of people whose lives changed irremediably with the first shot. "
"Before taking pictures I talk to the children. Each has its own history. The story of life on the front. Sometimes I have tears, I can not help it. How can you bear seeing a four-year-old girl who sings by inventing a letter that says "children of war, children of war"? When I asked who shot him, his mother, who was there with her, whispered, "It's better not to say anything or you'll start yelling." I have asked other children: "Will you speak to your children about this war?" "Do not. It is better that the children know nothing. May they live without war. "
Children can talk about soldiers for hours. The journalist is convinced: they are different. They love school and try to do everything they can to help their parents. They know what hunger is.
"An 8-year-old girl from Zaitsevo told me:" We were hungry. My mother would go and say she would bring something to eat. But he did not always come back with food. We did not get angry, it hurt to see that Mom was crying. I was happy when I brought a bundle of grain. " An 11-year-old boy in Alexandrovka said: "At night a mine struck the house, we ran in the snow to the neighbors' house. They have a good basement. The house burned completely .... When they bombed the school, the teacher told us to run to the shelter. Once, we were at home playing and, suddenly, began a bombing in broad daylight. My parents were not home, a neighbor took care of me. They destroyed the windows and shot me in the leg. " I will never forget the children of the town of Severniy, broken in pieces, when rains projectiles from Pesky. It should not be forgotten. My memory is marked, I dream of the war constantly, "continues Irina.
A couple of pictures represent what happens in the front area all day. The journalist explains that this is only the tip of the iceberg, but the story is a chronicle of pain. His pain had accumulated and led to the project "Look into the eyes of Donbass." Let us look at Donbass's eyes. The comments of the photographs are from the author, Irina Lashkevich.
"In 2015 the Grads worked." This girl from Zaitsevo, who was born in times of war, is called Katyusha. "The Grads of World War II were called Katyusha and that's why we call our daughter," says the girl's mother sadly. Now, during the bombing, Katya covers her ears. In the photo he showed me how he does it. He showed it and burst into tears. Katya's house has been bombed. "
"Yaroslav, from Alexandrovka, a village on the front line. One night a shell struck the house. The boy was injured in the leg. He falls asleep every night between the sound of shots. Yaroslav will never tell his children about the war. "Children should not know," are his words. Someone has decided that it is a separ, someone has decided that you can shoot Yaroslav. "
“Polinka, 3 years, Oktyabrsky (front zone), Donetsk. I remember arriving at the street of Paulina's house in 2015: it was completely shattered. His parents had to leave. The girl did not speak, but listened attentively. I do not doubt that he will speak to his children of war, who will never forget it. While there, the bombing began. Paulina continued eating some goodies. For her, bombing is the norm. They can send a portrait to some "hero of ATO," that his wife and children know something about their father's work.
"Bogdan, 4, Zaitsevo. Bogdan's house has been bombed. He remembers no other life than war. Reports of dead soldiers can always be added a phrase: destruction, broken destinies of hundreds of thousands of people. Someone has decided that Bogdan is a separ, someone has decided that Bogdan can be shot. "
"The brothers Daniel and Nikita, aged 7 and 11, Zaitsevo, Gorlovka. A bombed out district. They sound like adults. For the Ukrainian "patriots": from the bombings you have raised soldiers. Daniel and Nikita have learned to live in war, they know how to hide from the bombings. They have matured soon and do not see the Ukrainian news: the television is on the other side of their window, from where they see how the projectiles of Bajmutka and Artyomovsk fly. Maybe in a couple of years take the guns. The "television" on the other side of the window has been preparing them for that for three years. Someone decided that these brothers were separating and decided that they could be bombed.
"Olya, 8, Severniy, Donetsk. Olga studied in the school, the same one in which two children died in 2014. The bombing from Pesky began at four in the afternoon. The children were playing football when the shells fell. Their bodies were destroyed. Olya remembers that day, she will never forget it. Someone has decided that Olga is separ and can be shot.
Trudovsky is one of the most bombed areas. This is Sasha. I saw him with his grandmother at a local store. In the first photo he listens attentively to his grandmother, who talks about the bombing of the previous night. The second: the reaction to coming soldiers. "
"Valya, 11, Okyabrsky (Donetsk). Front line. Valya remembers the first day of the war, when the helicopters fired at the town. To the question of how children live the war replies: "time has stopped. I think I have not grown, as if I was still 9 years old. " Someone has decided that Valya is a separ, someone has decided that Valya can be shot.
"Do you know how old this girl is? Two years and a half. Nastya lives on the front line, Oktyabrsky, Donetsk. In his language he describes that he hides in the bathroom during the bombing. He was born when the war had already begun. War has always been a part of his life. They are children of war, who will relax when peace comes, but through whose eyes we see how our grandfathers survived the war. I think so. And I want to show who they shoot. Someone decided that Nastya is separ, someone decided that they could shoot him. "
"People usually ask me: why black and white images? The photos are what life is like. No smiles? It is not a coincidence and is not prepared. Before taking pictures, I ask the children to look into the eyes of those who are shooting them. The children take this request very seriously, they really look, as if they are facing the bad guys and understand what they are doing. They believe that these photos can bring peace. They are adult-veteran children, "Lashkevich wrote.
In the collection, consisting of several dozen photographs, there are older people. After all, the elders and children tell the truth. And they are equally defenseless. "I have recently been able to speak with the elderly of Oktyabrsky. They complain about the low pensions, of the bombings every night, they are tired of the war. But to the question of: what if Ukraine returns when the war is over ?, everyone responds with the same reaction: immediately they lose the smile and appear in their face the surprise and a resounding: no! We do not want them here. War is war, but Donetsk without Ukraine, "says Lashkevich.
"In this image, the couple Grigory and Olga Kolosova. They've been together half a century. The husband has 35 years of experience working in the mine. Every day, for 35 years in a row, his wife prayed and waited for him to return. Grigory has two medals at Work. In his hands, the medal of the Trade Unions and the record of production of coal. He does not understand why Ukraine has fallen so low that it buys coal in the United States. In Pesky they bombed and sacked his house. The couple lives in the front line, on a floor that falls apart. Grigory had a heart attack when they started bombing his house. Someone decided that these defenseless elders are separ, someone decided that for Ukraine they can be shot. "
"Grandma Zina is 86 years old. He lives in the Donetsk airport district. His house was hit by a bomb, which destroyed the doors and windows. Grandma Zina participated in the Great Patriotic War. She is a lonely person, who has been left alone with this war. He is afraid of not being able to reach the basement when the bombing begins, so he lies down and prays. Someone decided that Grandma Zina is separ, someone decided that they could shoot "
"I asked the best Donbass photographers, Dan Levy, to participate in the project. He is from Kramatorsk and usually works at the front line with the press service of the RPD army. He responded immediately and now we are working on a new project. Together we will go to the front area. Dan Levy is my teacher: in three months, with infinite patience, he has taught me the tricks of photography. It's easy to work with. I hope to capture the mood of the children, their character. I hope that attention is paid to Donbass. That Donbass that has begun to forget. But the population continues to live there. And they want peace, "concludes Irina.