Call them by name!
Publish date 05-09-2022
Not victims, but people. Because death is not commonplace.
Vanda Obiedkov was 91 years old. She survived the Holocaust, she was convinced that sooner or later she would go to her bed, surrounded by the love of her dear ones. She died in April in a basement in Mariupol, in the cold, without food and water. "My mom didn't deserve such a death," said her daughter Larissa, who is not at peace today.
Yelyzaveta and Sonia also lived in Mariupol. They were two child actresses, a boundless passion for the theater. They also had a part in a comedy inspired by the fantasy saga of The Chronicles of Narnia. They died on an unspecified day of the siege. Their bodies were never found.
Lyudmyla was a retired teacher known to everyone in Bucha. Alumni and her neighbors called her Aunt Lyuda: an affable woman, always with a smile. The Russians killed her on the morning of March 5 as she opened the door of her house. So about her sister Nina, disabled. Her body was found in the kitchen.
Roman and Serhiy were two brothers aged 43 and 46. Handyman, always available, especially Roman who was a blacksmith. They had taken the families away from the country to keep them safe. But they had stayed to not leave the dog alone and check the family homes. They died like this, hit by gunshots: the bodies abandoned in the garden.
During the Russian occupation of the suburbs of Kiev, life was also terrible for Volodymyr's family. No going out, no food and water, no heating. On March 4, Volodymyr tried to ask neighbors for help. "We have some bread, come and get it." The attempts of the mother and brother not to let him go were useless. "What do you want to happen, I'll be careful!" A few seconds. Neighbors hear shots. Volodymyr's body lying on the pavement.
Also in March, Tatiana and her parents had found a safe way to go to assist their grandparents and get some food. The route was secluded, through woods and railroad tracks. Impossible to attract attention. There were actually no problems for ten days. But on March 24th, there is a deafening noise just a few meters from home. "A very strong blow," says Tatiana. “We all ended up on the ground. My mom was silent. I called her, she didn't move. Then I saw her blood. '
Mrs Sukhenko was 50 years old, her husband Ihor 57, their son Oleksandr 25: quiet people, esteemed by everyone. Their bodies were found in a pit. Pass under the arms. Without a reason.
No explanation even for the death of Alisa who would have turned eight in June. He was in Okhtyrka kindergarten, hit by a rocket containing cluster bombs.
Polina, on the other hand, was attending the last year of elementary school in Kiev. She was shot and killed in the street with her parents. They were in their car, riddled in one of the many raids by Russian special forces.
How many deaths could we add to those of Vanda, Yelyzaveta and Sonia, of Lyudmyla, Roman and Serhiy, of Volodymyr and Tatiana, of the Sukhenko family, of Alisa and Polina! How much it is! The absurd accounting of the war is an abyss: intercepting the thousands and thousands of stories of pain and nonsense is like looking for a needle in a haystack. Yet every victim is a face, a story. When we can do that, let's call them by name. Let's not forget them!
We defend the dignity of those who are no longer there to the end. Because when death becomes commonplace, love ends ...
NP Maggio 2022