War seen from here

Publish date 29-09-2022

by Simona Pagani

The war seen from here has the face of Irina, Natalia, Yehor. If it were a snapshot it would be a family photo in which someone is always missing. Fathers and sons left to fight, sisters who did not want to leave their husbands, grandparents too old to leave their homes. There are many images that overlap in my mind and that summarize this month lived together with people who, in a few days, lost everything without even understanding what was happening.

Roman, 9 years old, looks to the sky: he is playing football, yet, every time he passes a plane, he raises his eyes and follows him with his gaze until he walks away. Sasha's words: "After the war, if there is still a place to go back, I would like to go there with my family."

Tears that silently fall on the face of Nina, 73 from Donetsk, while her daughter tells of the month she lived under the bombings and the sound of sirens.

Olgha's words: "I ran away from a place where the sense of insecurity had become unbearable, now I am here and I feel safe and protected, yet this sense of insecurity does not leave me and is destroying me, I cannot send it away ".

The drawing of Natalia, 34 years old mother of 2 children. When asked to draw a tree, she lingers and then sketches a squirrel, small and lost in the middle of a white sheet. Natalia is the second time she has left her house because of the war: the tree is gone, only the squirrel is left. The sense of helplessness and guilt that pervades everyone: "What destroys us is that we are here, safe, while our people are dying to defend our country, and we can't do anything for them."

The puddles of Aliona, 30 years of Mariupol. With their 85-year-old mother, father and grandmother, they have seen their homes bombed and burned before their very eyes. They spent a month in the cellars, then they ran out of food and water. Like a rat at night, his father is a mechanical engineer who rises to the surface to look for water. They drank from the puddles, then they ended up too. After three days without water and food, they tried to leave the city, walking under the bombs. Aliona turned 30 today: she wears clothes that are not hers and she is in a country where she does not understand the language, but she has a beautiful smile. She is alive and her mother, father and grandmother are still with her.

Simona Pagani
NP Maggio 2022

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