QuoraED! This is when we pick up a trending or interesting thread from Quora and spin a story around it.
War in the 21st CE seems like a distant vision, but the visual insight to the conflict zones makes us aware of the circumstantial conditions of those on the other side. The Russian-Ukraine war is escalating day by day; families have been displaced, lives have been lost and devastation is everywhere.
The first photograph I saw of the conflict zone was of a couple( presumably, it can be of friends, family or strangers) at a train station in Ukraine before separation. They looked into the eyes of each other, blue placid masks falling languidly from their faces. They held each other tightly.
It reminded me of Kafka’s “Letters to Milena”, “I have this vision: That I would finally come and find you. Scattered pieces of distance would not stand in my way. Not needing words; the barest of glimpses would suffice for you and me.”
The second photograph I saw was of an old lady in Kyiv who lost her family, she was staring towards the sky; her dry blue eyes were exhausted, she did not know where to go henceforth. She was still there amidst the wasteland of civilization.
As the world is returning slowly to the pre-COVID phase, some nations are still undergoing military conflict. The pictures from the conflict zone depict thousands of stories and provide logical semblance. It breaks our hearts and makes us empathise with the conditions the people on the other side are facing.
As I was looking for more photo narratives, I stumbled on the Quora thread where people answered the question, Which photo of the Ukrainian invasion has impacted you the most? Why?
Here are some of the answers,
1. Newly Married Fighters
Jean-Marie Valheur, a former journalist, tells about a newly married Ukrainian couple who were forced to separate; men cannot leave the country while the women and children can. The wife stayed with the husband and voluntarily participated in the military violence. He further said about the glorification of war and youth taking weapons for the propaganda of the powerful. He says,
“So imagine you’re twenty-two years old and you just got married and the day after your wedding, Russia invades your country. Men are told to stay behind and fight, women are told they are allowed to flee to safety abroad, as are kids and the elderly. So the young husband has to stay. Young wife doesn’t… but she stays behind anyway. Because she loves her husband.
They spend their honeymoon collecting rifles, collecting bullets, and getting ready for one of the most fearsome armies of the world right now to come into their streets. No walks on the beach by sunset, no trips, no exciting travels… their honeymoon is fight or die, sink or swim. It’s brutal. Almost impossible to imagine and yet, for some people, this is reality. My early married days were blissful, full of exciting new changes. These two brave souls spend theirs peeking out of windows, looking for advancing tanks and trying to dodge enemy fire…
I write this answer and hundreds of Ukraine’s civilians are already killed by Russia’s forces. Rockets have been launched into apartment buildings, hospitals, schools… I have no way of knowing this couple is even still alive right now. They may be among the countless and rapidly growing number of dead. That really gets to me. I’m still relatively young, at thirty, and there are kids ten years younger than me already fighting and dying for their countries. Not to mention little kids, babies, elderly, blown to pieces by Russia’s attacks on civilians.
At the same time, it should be said… Some of the Russian soldiers are young, too. Too young. About 200 captured Russian soldiers were reportedly only 19 years old and “barely aware of what they were doing”. Ukraine allowed them to phone their mothers back home in Russia. War isn’t glorious… it’s poor kids, killing poor kids, for the glory and benefit of elderly billionaires.”
2. Death Of 18-month-old boy
Stefan Wojciechowski said how he was heartbroken to see the photographs whereby an 18-month old boy, Kiril, died in the arms of his parents. From Mariupol, the civilians could not evacuate the city due to the restrictions posed by the Russian military. The child was the victim of their violence, the photographs consecutively show how the child was rushed to the hospital by his parents but died soon after.
3. The Leader Of The People
Veronica Nwosu was appalled when he saw the political leader Zelensky in military uniform, who did not abandon his nation despite numerous threats. She says,
“The image of the Ukrainian leader, Volodymyr Zelensky demonstrates what great leadership should be. Imagine how much he’s grown in that office from his background as a former actor and comedian. He’s transformed into a courageous leader who loves his country and is willing to die for his country and his people.
He’s a 44-year-old husband and father. And yet, he’s staying put in his country in a situation that would have caused less committed leaders to raid their national treasury, hop onto a plane with his family to live a life of luxury somewhere else in the West. I pray for him, his family and the people of Ukraine.”
4. Lost And Found
Max Jones says how the photograph of a small child crying and walking on the streets alone reminded him of his sons, he was devastated.
“This little boy… walking… crying… I saw this video on the news and couldn’t understand how he was all alone. There was no explanation. He had a pack and a plastic bag.
Update: (He travelled 1200 miles by himself to a refugee station in Slovakia.) There was a phone number written on his hand. *(They found relatives and he is with them.) I know there is worse. But this picture brings me to tears every time. I guess it’s thinking of my own sons… his mother had to stay with relatives who couldn’t travel.”
5. Bravery And Resolution
Vitmor says how he has been impacted by seeing the life of the youths like him being tarnished. He applauds the resolution of these youths who have given their allegiance to the nation.
“They’re all around my age. Last week they were probably thinking of which shoes to buy or wondering if their crush liked them or not as they endlessly scrolled through Tik Tok, and today they’re armed and pictured in a military drill in the village of Sirte, western Ukraine. All men from ages 18–60 are being forced to stay and fight but from what we’ve seen so far, there are more people willingly joining the fight (as far as coming from foreign countries to help), than there are people who want to flee, and that along with all the women who decided to pick up a weapon, is one of the most beautiful and brave things I’ve ever seen. They’re all willing to die for their homes, families, and honour.
I have nothing but respect and admiration for these people and I’ll probably never do anything as brave as they’re currently doing. They’re the voice of my generation and I hope to see another picture of them soon, this time with a victorious smile on their faces.”
Which photograph has impacted you the most?
Image Credits: Google Photos
Feature Image designed by Saudamini Seth
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This post is tagged under: Ukraine, Russia, Nato, Putin, Indians in Ukraine, Indian students, Ratan Tata, Air India, evacuation, Romania, Moscow, UN, Indian Embassy, Russia-Ukraine war, Volodymyr Zelenskyy, Yemen, Israeli-Palestine, Racism, Western media bias, colonialism, Syria Civil war, Tigray War, Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Yemeni civil war, Houthi rebels civilized bias, discrimination, Belarus, Biden, Crimea, Donbas, East Ukraine, Emmanuel Macron, EU, Minsk agreement, Putin, Revolution of Dignity, Romanians, Russian backed separatists, Russian invasion, Russian troops, Soviet Union, Crude oil, India oil, Hardeep Singh Puri
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