Exhibition "Ukraine: a War Diary of Lives",
Orewa Estuary Art Center, New Zealand
Speech at the 'Fundraising Ukrainian Lunch and Art Auction' event
Kia ora koutou!
I have a pleasure to be Kateryna’s husband. It takes a lot of effort and time to engage various people here in Aotearoa and overseas to make exhibitions and events like this actually happen. And so first I want to praise Katia’s dedication and organisational skills. Please join me in applauding her humble leadership.
As my wife mentioned, all of this would not be possible without compassionate and supportive Kiwis, but vitally – many united, determined, selfless, resilient, and creative Ukrainians, among whom – children. Some artworks at this auction were painted by our younger ones, who expressed their feelings about Ukraine through their talent.
There are more than 3 million children displaced from their homes in Ukraine by the onslaught of Z-Russians. Try to imagine the horrors of everyday missile strikes and raids of drones, destruction of entire towns by artillery fire, assaulting tank shooting straight at your house, and brutal invaders thirsty for violence. Imagine there is no safe harbour from this in your country. And think of your children or grandchildren facing that Armageddon. More than 2 million kids had to flee their homeland to foreign countries for the sake of safety. That’s twice as many as all children in New Zealand – just imagine a future if all little and young Kiwis had left these lands for one-and-a-half years and counting. Only officially proved, more than 19,000 children in Ukraine were kidnapped by Russians. The number of kids deported with parents is probably more than 200,000, while the Russian Federation was boasting about 744,000 Ukrainian kids just this April. More than 1,000 children are wounded and 500 killed by the assault of the Russian World just in Ukraine to date.
These are not mere war statistics – this is a deliberate genocide of Ukrainians by Muscovites, who deny the very existence of Ukraine as a distinctive nation and state, yet again over hundreds of years. Kidnapped children are often separated from their parents and are put for illegal adoption and re-education in the ideology of ruscism, some become victims of carnal abuse. In the occupied territories Russians have systematically raped Ukrainians– even as young as 4 years old. Russians have humiliated, tortured, and murdered Ukraine’s children. And Ukrainians will never forgive them this.
So, if you ask what is that keeps the people of Ukraine fighting against all odds? – Children are your answers. Children returning from far abroad. Children coming back to their homes. Children of Ukraine who remain to live on Ukrainian soil. You could ask, why would Ukraine not consider entering into peace negotiations with.. that Man? – the answer is history. Ukrainians, so as Poles, Balts, Estonians, Finns, Georgians, and many other peoples whom the tentacles of the Russian World ever touched, know too well that Russians do not honour their word. Ruscism is neither reasonable nor rational – if you keep 'both-siding' it wins. Ukrainians do not want to trade their children’s lives, freedom, and future for any futile agreements with Muscovites anymore. For “those who give up their liberties for safety get neither”, but those who strive against the bullies will gain security and a future. “Let us go forward together with our united strength” for the future of our children.
Kyrylo Cyril K.
Check out more about the exhibition "Ukraine: a War Diary of Lives", including a virtual walk-through, traditional Ukrainian flower wreath-making workshop, and a short video from the 'Fundraising Ukrainian Lunch and Art Auction', as well as other our Past Events and Future Projects