I was recently asked what I would say in The Hague, when giving testimony on war crimes. I didn’t know what to say.
Probably because we’ve seen so many stories…hundreds. For example, there’s this girl who has since grown up who watched her mother’s death. Shrapnel struck her head and she died instantly. The girl, the very young girl, saw it all with her own eyes. Or, in another case, the man whose wife and son were blown to pieces all over the block. There’s also the elderly woman who lost a leg and an arm, and her own brother who lives in Dnepropetrovsk told her over the phone she’s lying and that they are “separatists” and therefore it’s her own fault. There are also invisible stories, too many to count. Each time I write about these stories, people write in comments the war has nothing to do with them.
As far as I am concerned, the war has everything to do with them.
These are our cancer patients. Whom we look after. Naturally, nobody can say why the swelling began. It’s a whole universe of causes. Rich, beautiful, young, famous, all burn out and no amount of money can save them. And they are not in the midst of any war. This is a serious illness with which humanity has not learned to fight. But we always encounter cases where someone needed to start treatment, but had to hide in cellars because of shells. Or had to go to a doctor, but couldn’t because of shells. And when it’s not about the shells, it’s about struggling to survive. Health care system barely copes, in spite of all the aid the Republics are getting. There’s always something lacking. Hospitals are full, there are long waiting lists. And no, this is not just stress. People have been living there for six years, in isolation, with tiny salaries. Awaiting the big world’s decision. Simple, ordinary people who don’t know what tomorrow will bring. They don’t know how to live. But life goes on, time flies and, alas, nothing changes. All of these Normandy Fours, Fives, Dozens…they have no impact on ordinary lives. Shelling continues, people struggle to survive, the world does not recognize. There is no work, salaries and benefits are minimal, but the prices are like everywhere else…
So, as you might imagine, this post will be about one of our cancer “girls”. About Viktoria. My most recent post about her was during the summer.