…Imagine you were a mother burying her little daughter “somewhere under the fifth oak tree in the third alley in the park” and crawling on the ruined cobblestone to a basement under the sounds of explosions because her younger son with serious injuries is waiting for her… Her daughter will never be there again. The Russians killed her.
…Imagine you were a young widow watching a coffin lid close over her beloved one, with whom she celebrated the wedding just a month ago, and then he went to defend his native land… She can still feel the warmth of his hands, she still wishes to wake up from a nightmare, but it’s not a nightmare. Her lover will never be there again. The Russians killed him.
…Imagine you were a child who has been under the debris of his own house for three days next to the corpses of his parents, who covered him with their bodies… His parents will never be there again. The Russians killed them.
…Imagine you were an elderly couple who have been building a house piece by piece for their whole lives, and today they are standing over its ruins and moaning in pain because their children, their granddaughter and their cat will be forever under the debris… They will never be there again. The Russians killed them.
…Imagine you were a woman who was being raped by a Russian motherf*cker for two days, and before that, he had killed her husband in front of her. Her husband will never be there again. The Russians killed him. And she will never be the same again. The Russians also killed a part of her.
…Imagine you were nine-month-pregnant with life-threatening injuries who may still be aware that the baby in her womb will never be born, will not move, will not have a toothless smile or rays of sunshine in the eyes. Nothing will ever be there again. The Russians killed both of them.
…Imagine you were going to get some bread in an occupied city, and you are shot by the Russian soldiers, just for fun, feel how a bullet is getting into your body, how the hot sticky blood is flowing out, how your Universe is being filled with the smell of iron, and it is shrinking, shrinking to a single spot on the asphalt, the Russians killed you.
…Imagine that this was you and your family who in an attempt to leave the city got run over by a Russian tank, got run over just for fun, and you feel how a huge force is cracking your bones and the bones of your children, feel how you are hearing the last beat of your own heart. The Russians killed you.
You will never be there again, the Russians killed all of you.
Multiply all these thousands and thousands of times, close your eyes and imagine, and let your soul shrink out of horror and pain.
Ukrainian Text by Vladyslava Luniova. Translated into English by Ukrainianvancouver team — Apr 2, 2022