US Media Outlet Wired Shares Some Stories from the Heroes of the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation
Peter Guest, a journalist and editor of the famous American media outlet Wired, visited Ukraine, where he talked with some people about the consequences of the war and the country’s recovery. Among his interlocutors were Borys Yefimenko, the owner of a cafe in Irpin town, and Yevgeniia Antonyuk, the head of the culture department of the Irpin town council.
Peter Guest met both of them thanks to the Museum of Civilian Voices of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation. Since 2014, the museum has been collecting, keeping and sharing the stories of Ukrainian civilians who suffered from the war. Its archive now has more than 77,000 such stories and continues to grow.
“The idea is to preserve as many stories as possible to create this [360-degree] understanding of what happened, the scale of the tragedy. And there is a healing aspect to this. The country needs to learn how to remember. Otherwise we will keep these traumas with us in our future, and it will traumatize us again and again,” the journalist quotes Natalya Yemchenko, a member of the Supervisory Board of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation.
One of the ten cafes managed by Boris Yefimenko in Irpin opened 5 days before the full-scale war. He took his family out, but many of his friends and employees stayed in the town. Three were killed: two were shot by a Russian column, and the third by a sniper. Boris’s house was destroyed. He returned after the liberation of Irpin and treated the townspeople to coffee for free, turning on the power generator, because there was no electricity. Since then, he has been restoring his business. It gives him a sense of mission and has become his own act of solidarity and defiance.
“It’s something I heard over and again in Ukraine: that reconstruction and reform, even the smallest acts, are ways to honour the sacrifices being made, and that rebuilding is not just a consequence of victory, but a way to achieve it,” the man says.
Peter Guest visited Irpin on the Museum Day. The town’s museum was closed to the public, but there was a small display outside – a table set for tea, a woman in early 20th century costume, and a cabinet of locally made fruit jellies. Inside, the exhibits were packed tightly in storerooms. The museum was damaged by shelling, but most of its exhibits survived. It now also houses items rescued from destroyed cultural sites of the town.
“This war is not only about territory, but it is also about culture,” says Yevgeniia Antonyuk. “The first thing that Russians do when they occupy territory, they destroy the cultural institutions, they destroy everything Ukrainian, and they destroy everything that can identify us as Ukrainians. Rebuilding stronger is an act of defiance and a way to reiterate the Ukrainian identity.”
You can read the full article by Peter Guest in English at the link
Rebuilding Ukraine Is an Act of Resistance
Every war story matters. To keep the memory for a better future, share your story on the portal of the Museum of Civilian Voices
Home page - Civilian Voices Museum of the Rinat Akhmetov Foundation
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