Darya Mazitova, Vysochanskyi Lyceum no. 2, Vysokyi Village, Kharkiv region
In the "One Day" essay competition, her work took 3rd place
Teacher - Kiva Yana
War... A terrible, ominous and insidious word. For me, it is the word that brings only death, devastation, pain, loss, a cry of despair and hopelessness. I know about the war from books, movies and stories told by adults. But could I comprehend it with all my soul and with all my mind?!
Existence in wartime far not always can be conscious or mindful. People can hear in the news about the beginning of the war, but at the same time can be too young to understand the gravity of the situation or simply to start to fear.
They do not see tanks on the street, do not hear explosions around the corner, so they continue to live their lives, reassuring themselves that this most terrible war is taking place somewhere far from their world. This event exists in their understanding as some kind of a story, a legend, an epic that somewhere, hundreds of kilometres from them, people die and live a life worse than death.
And there is far not always an understanding that those people are exactly the same as you. The same bodies and souls, which have their own story, love, feelings, life, and are now fighting three hundred kilometres from us.
The war burst into my carefree life on the day when my parents gave shelter to an IDP family from Donetsk in our house (at that time I was attending elementary school). We had a mother and two children about my age, who settled at our place.
What I did not like about them was their silent manner, lack of interest in what interested me. Against my background of a carefree, screaming and rejoicing girl, they looked gloomy. They ate reluctantly, played little with the toys I brought, sat and looked at the blank page of a book’s flyleaf, trying to replace the picture that hung in their memory with a relief of the book paper.
They desperately tried to find in my toys the same naivety and carelessness of mine that shone in my mind, which did not understand anything.
I continued to live the same way as before (after all, childhood is the golden time). While for these unfortunate children, the realization of the entire horror of the war came at once, instantly, without warning. At that very moment when, having come home from school, they realized that they had nowhere to go. There was no home left. Just flames and ashes were in its place.
These children became eyewitnesses, or rather participants, of this tragedy. They felt and saw it. They were scared and cried. What can I say about myself? Seven years have passed since the time when those IDPs moved to us, but I still cannot take seriously the whole reality of what is happening in eastern Ukraine.
Maybe because of my lack of interest in this, maybe because of the small amount of information about the war in my environment. Maybe due to the fact that I personally did not see all that horror. Is it for better or worse? It is really difficult to say. On the one hand, I blindly continue to live in my calm microworld, unable to show sincere sympathy, compassion for people.
On the other hand, my calmness spares me morally and preserves my essential life. Should I be happy about my blindness or blame myself for it? What to do? Unfortunately, I do not know. Is this good or bad? You be the judges.
The events of recent years have probably changed my understanding of happiness. Perhaps in my soul I also feel very worried and suffer, thinking about the terrible consequences of the war. After all, life is such that very often we have to hide our true feelings, our soul, and our emotions. One thing that I know for sure is that I have a clear idea of what happiness is. Can I call myself happy? Surely, the concept of happiness is individual for each person.
For some, happiness is waking up with the aim of going to your favorite lucrative work. For others, happiness is to wake up in an embrace with your loved one. Maybe happiness is about waking up to the quiet voices of your parents’ talking heard from the kitchen. And for some people, happiness is to wake up in a calm world where no one saw or remembered what the unfortunate mother and her early grown-up children saw.
So, is not that happiness? Returning home under a clear sky not covered with a thick blanket of smoke. In the opportunity to walk on soft ground, not covered with soot and ash. Happiness is listening to distant singing of birds instead of sounds of exploding shells. It is living in peace and tranquillity. That is what happiness is for me.
When quoting a story, a reference to the source – the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation – is mandatory, as follows:
The Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation https://civilvoicesmuseum.org/