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Memories of an ordinary volunteer fighter #1

Updated: Aug 14, 2022


We are starting a series of posts that are in fact a personal diary of Oleksa Melnyk, a Ukrainian volunteer fighter

This diary is a journey down memory lane through the true experiences and emotions of an ordinary person who sincerely shares all his thoughts, fears, and feelings. In these memoirs, you can share the author’s experience next to him, laugh, get angry or even cry along with him.

We want our friend’s stories to be read by as many people as possible because every like or comment of readers on their personal impressions will be a great moral support for the author of these stories.

Financial support can also be expressed by any transfer via PayPal to snovyda@gmail.com

His wife will spend the transferred funds on parcels to his place of service.

Now, we start his story with the memories dated February 24, 2022…

Enjoy your reading.

INTRODUCTION

For me, the war started at 5 am on February 24, 2022, with a prolonged thunder from afar. It was katsaps [a word used mainly by Ukrainians to refer to russians in a negative tone, "katsab" is a butcher in Tatar language — Ed.] who hit the airdrome near Kolomyia [a city in the West of Ukraine — Ed.].

“Natalia, get up, it’s started,” I said to my wife, pretending to be calm.

Of course, for Ukraine, this war began back in 2014, and its prerequisites were being formed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. And in general, our entire history is permeated with episodes of a fierce struggle for survival encircled by the distraught neighbors. But the most insane out of them was and is the alcoholic Ivan [in russian folklore, any character named Ivan is a symbol of stupidity and laziness — Ed.] Fortunately, such "Ivans" are now becoming extinct. They went to a suicide war, they committed an unprecedented act of auto genocide, and now they will either die out or be reborn into the previously enslaved nations of the russian state.

On the eve of a full-scale invasion, we joked that putin was trying to intimidate Europe, and all this was just a warlike gesture on the border. It was obvious that this war was unprofitable for him, and he would not gain anything from it. We were sure that there was some meaningful plan behind the accumulation of the russian troops on the border.

We saw humans behind these actions. Evil, greedy, cruel but human. However, every day of the war revealed to us the inhuman face of the enemy. And it turns out that this is not an international war, but an interspecific one. Katsaps are different from us in everything. But the most important difference is their lack of understanding of the priceless gift of life.

In their world, individuals have such low self-esteem that they are almost not afraid of their own death and therefore are not able to sympathize with other people’s pain and easily cause suffering to civilian Ukrainians. Without purpose, without sadistic pleasure, without self-benefit, but just because they can.

The actions of a child trampling an anthill or burning a tethered fly with a magnifying glass make more sense than the actions of the whole people of the russian federation. Either it fights, gives orders, or silently supports this cannibalistic regime.

DREAM 1. CHILDREN OF WAR

Video games and movies often avoid portraying children who have been victims of an armed conflict. This is considered bad manners, a cheap method of manipulating the emotions of the player/viewer. A gloomy character who lost a child/family and now takes revenge on the bad guys is such a hackneyed image that his eyes are reflexively rolled heavenward. And in general, we just want to hide from the thought that children can be injured, bloodied, raped, mutilated, and killed.

As a child, I accidentally saw a color-free WWII chronicle on TV. The half-naked body of a young woman with a deadly gaping mouth and empty eyes was laying on the ruins of a house, and a baby was crawling next to her, looking for a tit.

Then the little me had a tantrum. I was horrified by these images. The fear of the cold cruelty that could lead to such a state of affairs was growing. I was shaking, and then my mother, an ethnic russian, took my hand and said:

“Don’t worry. This baby is fine. The person who shot it then took that child with them, so the baby has survived to this day.”

This lie calmed me down and saved me. But this image has always been with me. And like a mantra, I repeated my mother’s words every time I thought about the fate of that baby.

Then in 2014, I saw the corpses of children from the Luhansk and Donetsk regions. And the real killers blamed us, Ukrainians, for this. Once again, I found myself face to face with a brutal reality. And my mother’s fiction no longer worked.

The full-scale invasion in 2022 gave us a new, unbearable image. Hapless six-year-old Tania Moroz spent six days in the arms of her dead mother in besieged Mariupol and died of dehydration. My daughter Dolia is now seven. She is a small person but also a whole world with her own experiences, desires, vision, and understanding. Tania Moroz from Mariupol was the same full-fledged world to herself and to her family. The katsaps destroyed this world. Without purpose, without sadistic pleasure, without self-benefit, but just because they can.

“Today, several dozen orphans born on February 24 were brought to Kolomyia. They all don’t have their parents anymore,” my wife said to me on the phone.

“You know, when this is over, I’d like to adopt a war orphan. What do you think?” I asked as I was walking on duty around the barrack at a Territorial Defence troop.

“I thought about it myself. Let’s do it. If only it would end,” Natalia burst into tears and made me feel the same.

This desire arose out of the survivor’s guilt. The Carpathian region did not suffer any significant losses but became a refuge for thousands of refugees from front-line regions. Every one of our friends has taken up volunteering and helping internally displaced persons. And I want to preserve and develop someone’s world, and therefore thank those people who took the brunt instead of me. Because in the end, these are all our children, Ukrainian, and someone still needs to raise them and prepare them for responsible independent adult life.



To support Oleksa and his family, one can use a Paypal:

snovyda@gmail.com



Ukrainian Text by Oleksa Melnyk, a volunteer fighter, translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Jun 14, 2022



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