Culture et résistance
24 février 2023, 18h, heure de Paris
Plus de trente artistes et penseurs de renom international ont pris la parole dans dix villes européennes, pour apporter leur réponse à la question : « Comment aider l’Ukraine et l’Europe à gagner la guerre culturelle que leur livre la Russie ? »
LES VILLES MOBILISÉES :
À KYIV, Sophia Androukhovych et Volodymyr Yermolenko (écrivains) ...
À TBILISSI, Guram Odisharia et Beka Kurkhuli (écrivains) ...
À SOFIA, Theodora Dimova (romancière), Yordan Eftimov (essayiste) ...
À BUCAREST, Mihaela Pop (philosophe), Vladimir Cretulescu (historien) ...
À VARSOVIE, Agnieszka Holland (cinéaste), Andrzej Seweryn (acteur, sociétaire de la Comédie Française) ...
À CRACOVIE, Krystian Lupa (metteur en scène), Oksana Zaboujko (philosophe), Sergiy Jadan (romancier et rocker ukrainien) ...
À ROME, Nicolas Martino (philosophe et critique d’art), Francesca Bellino (écrivain et journaliste) ...
À MADRID, Esther Bendahan (romancière), Juan Miguel Hernández León (architecte, Directeur du Círculo de Bellas Artes) ...
À BERLIN, Gerd Koenen (historien), Camille de Toledo (écrivain) ...
À BRUXELLES, Sophie Muselle (comédienne) …
À PARIS, Robin Renucci (Directeur artistique de La Criée, Marseille), Marcel Bozonnet (comédien), Jonathan Littell (écrivain) ; Omar Souleimane (poète) ...
APPEL DU 24 FÉVRIER
La guerre d’agression menée par la Russie poutinienne depuis le 24 février 2022 dévaste l'Ukraine mais elle frappe aussi l'Europe. Ses effets planétaires sont patents dans une perspective économique, politique ou environnementale. Ils ne le sont pas moins sur le plan culturel. Outre sa négation brutale de l’identité ukrainienne, le Kremlin déclare décadentes les valeurs de démocratie, de liberté et d’esprit critique qui façonnent la culture européenne. De facto, l’Ukraine se trouve contrainte de les défendre, en notre nom à tous, contre la Russie.
Car l’affrontement armé révèle une autre confrontation sur le plan civilisationnel. Au-delà des idéologies, deux visions du monde s’opposent : l’une proclame le droit de chacun au respect et à l’égalité, l’autre entend soumettre les individus par la force, le mensonge et la menace. La démocratie est avant tout un mode d’existence unique qu’il importe donc de préserver et de garantir pour tous. Les Ukrainiens l’ont compris d’emblée et se sont unis contre l’agresseur russe dans une lutte exemplaire dont est redevable la culture européenne.
Le droit d’un peuple à disposer de lui-même, le droit d’une nation à affirmer son existence, le droit d’une culture à s’exprimer et à s’épanouir sont des principes inaliénables qui définissent la démocratie et son histoire, des principes que le régime de Vladimir Poutine piétine en Ukraine, mais aussi en Russie même, pour mieux les nier à la face du monde.
C’est pourquoi le monde culturel (des universités aux théâtres, des maisons d'édition au cinéma et aux arts visuels) doit manifester son entière solidarité avec le peuple ukrainien et l’assurer d’un soutien incessant dans son combat.
Avec ce qu’ils savent faire – leurs mots, leurs idées et leurs imaginaires –, les acteurs culturels doivent se mobiliser sans compromission pour dénoncer les crimes perpétrés et le système de pensée qui les a suscités, pour célébrer la résistance, accompagner la société ukrainienne dans ses épreuves de chaque jour, l’aider à gagner la guerre et à préparer son futur. Une telle mobilisation ne doit pas seulement viser à rétablir la paix et la sécurité en Europe, elle doit aussi participer dès maintenant à la création d’un « nouveau mouvement humaniste rassemblant intellectuels et militants de différents pays », selon les mots d’Oleksandra Matviichuk dans son discours de réception du prix Nobel de la paix, contre le désordre mondial que tente d’imposer la tyrannie poutinienne.
Puisque le président russe croit voir dans le camp de l’Ukraine « les forces combinées de l’Occident », opposons-lui les forces combinées de l’art et de la culture, afin de protéger les droits humains contre l’autoritarisme et la barbarie totalitaire.
Afin de contribuer à cet élan global de solidarité avec l’Ukraine et de soutien à sa victoire, nous invitons les artistes, les écrivains, les chercheurs, les intellectuels de l’ensemble du continent à prendre la parole le 24 février, jour anniversaire de l’agression, pour apporter leur réponse à la question : « Comment aider l’Ukraine et l’Europe à gagner la guerre culturelle que leur livre la Russie ? »
Ukrainian philosopher and intellectual, director of the editing house «Spirit and Letter” (Dukh I Litera), professor at Kyiv-Mohyla Academy, author of recents books “When Ukraine upraises” (2022) and “The Courage of Ukraine” (2023)
Allow me to choose an epigraph for our conversation about the solidarity of European cultures, including the Ukrainian culture, from a poem by Ukrainian prisoner of conscious and genial poet Vasyl Stus:
A sin is not to fight for yourself,
and not to straighten yourself up.
Mykhailyna Kotsyubynska chose the key leitmotif as her credo: “’straighten yourself up’ — is the most efficient credo I know.” It’s exactly the poem by Stus that inspired me to title my book “Ukraine has straightened us up” (“Quand l'Ukraine se lève: La naissance d’une nouvelle Europe”). Ukraine has woken us up — that’s the testimony we hear from a lot of cities in Europe. Strength and bravery of the Ukrainian army have a decisive effect on the culture of our epoch. Images of Homer and Virgil are highlighted by flashes of fire in Bakhmut and Kharkiv. Accurate accounts of war provided by military correspondents of international media outlets have a direct impact on growing solidarity in the world, nearing the victory over Russia’s aggression. How will European cultural institutions and universities contribute to the victory over Russia’s terrorist regime and liberation from Putinism?
Over the past year, we learned quite distinctly that delay being deadly is not just a metaphor, delay is death. In the near future, modern-day historians will draw a chronology of awakening and pipelines of delays by various actors and institutions of democratic societies. Our meeting aims to introduce possible amendments to the chronology. Opinions and positions of our meeting participants can encourage a clearer view of Ukraine on mental maps of Europe, and decisions made for our freedom and yours.
Ukrainian writer, author of Milena’s Summer (2002), Old People (2003), Wives of Their Husbands (2005), Salmon (2007), Felix Austria (2014) and Amadoka (2020). Felix Austria was awarded the BBC Book of the Year prize in 2015. Her works have been translated into English, Polish, German, Czech, and Serbian.
If we listen to the heartbeat of the Ukrainian culture over the centuries, we’ll notice not just tachycardia and periods in a coma. Maybe its secret is in recouping ardently what has been lost — catching up with the Renaissance in the Baroque era, and rebuilding all previous epochs to the sounds of shots of a firing squad in the epoch of modernism. As soon as the regimes fell into sleep, there immediately emerged environments rich in multidimensional personalities. That is what characterized those people: each of them contained within them dozens of professional roles and hypostases. Each of them seemed to make up for those who perished or whose talents were lost. They created their works passionately and naively, as if rediscovering epochs and genres, storylines and conflicts each time. It could hardly be different after numerous losses and open chasms of oblivion.
Eternal notions of freedom, dignity, life, choice, and unity were all of a sudden reinvented by the Ukrainians. Their meanings have nothing excessive, redundant, supercilious or pathetic. They’re always about the person, their fragility and weakness, ability to feel moved, naivety and passion, strength, and their need to be together with others.
Oleg Lychega Song 551 (translated by JAMES BRASFIELD)
Before it's too late – knock your head against the ice. Before it's too late Break through, look.. You will see a miraculous world.. It's quite another thing with a carp – It tends to plunge, Escaping to the lowest depths, Born to be caught, sooner or later.. But you are human, aren't you? – No one will catch you. Carp – they're a different sort – For centuries the dark Treacherous shoals have been sinking. When did our century begin rushing to catch them? Look – its fin caresses Their fins, it follows them, Slips away. You're alone? But you are human, aren't you? Don't worry, you'll break through.. Before it's too late – knock your head against the ice.. O miraculous, wide and snowy world!
Ukrainian philosopher, journalist and writer, chief-in-editor of “Ukraine World” (site in English about Ukraine), president of PEN Ukraine + Doctor in political studies (France), Associate professor at Kyiv-Mohyla University.
Culture is a struggle against death. A capacity to talk through and beyond time and space. A response to our mortality. An attempt to use mortality to touch the immortal.
Culture has very difficult relations with the war. Culture cannot be on the side of the war. It cannot be on the side of death. And yet, for millennia, culture has been responding to war, as if, looking into the abyss of death, it could see something about life itself.
If you ask me what is the leitmotiv of the Ukrainian culture for centuries, I will tell you: a will to overcome death. A will for renaissance and resurrection. A capacity to go through death and still be able to talk. Most of our renaissances - of the early 18th, early 19th, early 20th centuries - have been shot, “executed” by the empire. This Russian invasion is also an attempt to kill the new renaissance, of the early 21st century. It will fail.
“I have something in my heart that does not die,” Lesya Ukrainka’s Mavka, one of the most archetypical characters of Ukrainian literature, says. The Ukrainian fight today is not only a fight against Russia, it’s a fight against a death instinct, against the necrophilic force that wants to destroy life and culture. This necrophilic force has global dimensions, it has its history (from Stalin to Putin), it has its geography (from Putin to Assad). Therefore, the fight against it is also universal. It must have universal support. It must have a universal will.
This is our common war. This will be our common victory.
Professor, director of Institute of Comparative Literature at Ilia State University. She is a specialist of 20th-century Georgian literature and comparative literature, focusing on intercultural circle; modernist/avant-garde, and postmodernist movements; Soviet ideological influences and postcolonialism.
Ukraine and Georgia are two European countries which experienced war in the 21st century. It’s now obvious that the Russo-Georgian War, August 2008, was just the first phase of Russia’s military plans, resulting in the Russo-Ukrainian War, in 2022. Neighbouring Russia invaded our countries to prevent our free development and European future. In the 21st century, Russian Federation does not differ much from the Russian Empire, as described by Edward Said: “Russia acquired its imperial territories almost exclusively by adjacence. […] Russia moved to swallow whatever land or peoples stood next to its borders, which in the process kept moving further and further east and south” (Said, E., Culture and Imperialism). The anachronic imperial ambitions of the state are based on the anachronism of its imperial discourse. While, after the USSR, Ukrainian and Georgian people endeavour to synchronize our national development with the contemporariness of the free world, Russia attempts to dominate again and take us back to the past, immerse us into the time collapse - in which the imperial discourse keeps Russians “internally colonized” (A. Etkind).
This war, very clearly, is a war for not only space but also for time. Ukrainian people fight for their choice and their rights, to be part of the contemporariness and have their own future, to be a part of the integrity of free Euro Atlantic nations; while Russian power invades to own the space of free Ukrainian people, to subjugate them, and to keep trapped in the past, in the times of Russian domination.
The Russian state never detached from the Soviet past, and it did not let its own people do so. They reserved the Soviet imperial legacy, the Soviet anthem, and the discourse of Soviet power, which allowed the Russian elites to rule, to utilize Russian people and their lives. And when that discourse is not any more power over other nations, like Ukrainians or Georgians, Russians come with tanks.
The whole imperial discourse of Russia is constructed by phantoms of the past. Their unjust and disgraceful military actions have been supported by the equally dishonourable, anachronic discourse, by which they want to appropriate Ukrainian culture and identity; deprive them of their history, of their present and future.
While the military operations can be seen as a materialization of the discourse war, or cultural war, waged by Russia, the forms of cultural resistance to Russia's cultural/ideological intrusion need to be redesigned, and Ukrainian and Georgian nations need the support of the free world also in this. This is where cultural support is equally important, like military or financial support. While the heroic Ukrainian people sacrificed their lives to preserve their national idea and cultural values, this sacrifice also exposes the fundamental nature of the Russian imperial discourse and the Russian state.
We believe in the power of the truth, in the power of the word – pronounced or written – and we believe in the victory of Ukraine. Slava Ukraini.
Georgian writer and public figure engaged into the public diplomacy. Guram Odisharia is translated into more than 20 languages including Ukrainian. In 2016 he was awarded with the Alexander Dovzhenko state prize of Ukraine.
Some five years ago three Ukrainian pilots who transported the Georgian refugees during the war in Abkhazia visited me at home in Tbilisi.
War like a huge monster intrudes on our life and demolishes and destroys everything that the mankind succeeded to build over the centuries.
We witness the war under the name of ‘’the Special Operation’’ launched by Russia in Ukraine that the mankind still fails to stop. The mankind still fails to stop children’s death on the planet created only for their happiness and festive life.
I had to suffer the terrible force and impact of the modern wars launched by Russia in the western and northern parts of Georgia -in Abkazia and in South Ossesia. My books read all against war with deepest and sincere description of pain and sufferings that a man goes through like a hell of torment.Unfortunately, the armed conflicts got into the chronical wars in the Caucasus with the destructive and invasive power that disrupted Georgia’s territorial integrity with the occupation of the 20 % of the state territory.
Putting an end to the war needs all at once a distinct kind of logic, viewpoint and conscience.
New decisions and perspectives open up new horizons before us, but…
What can literature do for peace on the planet where there are 250 red -marked ‘’hot spots’’?
Today we need more than just solidarity…
There appears literature with its power to support and strengthen justice and help a man in his trouble.
"I work as a columnist for Portal Culture and I publish my essays on this site every week. Since the war started, I have written 20 essays, which I decided to publish in a collection in memory of the anniversary of the attack. Here is what I wrote in the preface to this slim little book."
The last year we have lived with the anxiety of Russia's war against Ukraine. The last year the war has been the main topic in the world. Our hearts are constricted with pain, we are affected indirectly, but it is the Ukrainian people who bears all the suffering of the war. Our generations grew up in peace, we knew about the war only from books and films. We could not allow the thought that it was possible to have a new war in Europe.
A year ago, Russia committed a brutal aggression against Ukraine. The attack had been in the pipeline for a long time; Russia was massing troops and conducting military exercises along the border. When politicians and diplomats said that an invasion of Ukraine was being prepared, the Kremlin retorted with a sneer that only mad people could say such things. The world expected the attack, but when it was carried out, we found it hard to believe that such a barbaric act was possible in the twenty-first century.
For a year now, the Ukrainian people have been subjected to a devastating barrage of rockets, bombs and shells. Ukrainian towns have been destroyed and depopulated. The destruction of the country's infrastructure is a direct goal of the aggressor. The Ukrainians are living in extreme deprivation, but they are showing amazing courage.
The world supports the struggle of the Ukrainian people. In civilised countries, marches are held in support of the invaded country, Ukrainian flags are flown, and humanitarian, financial and military aid is sent from dozens of countries. The Kremlin's allies are fewer than the fingers of one hand.
Everyone talks of peace, but the war has been going on for more than a year and there is no prospect of it ending soon. Most disgraceful is the position of those who call themselves peaceniks and call for Ukraine not to be given the means to defend itself. This is a call, disguised behind hollow peace-loving phrases, for the country to be occupied by the aggressor.
On the eve of the anniversary of the Russian aggression, an unprecedented European Union-Ukraine summit was held in Kiev. This is the first time such a forum has been held in a country that is at war. The summit was held amid howls of sirens. European politicians may be hearing such a howl for the first time in their lives, but it has been howling in the ears of Ukrainians day and night for a year now, waking up Ukrainian children and causing them to huddle in their mothers' laps as they flee to bomb shelters. Ursula von der Leyen said that Ukraine is a real inspiration for Europe.
The European Union and the world are helping Ukraine, but it needs much more help to push the aggressor out of its territory, to end the war, to end the death. Peace talks will not begin as long as the Kremlin has any hope of victory. The world must help Ukraine in such a way as to melt any hope the Kremlin has. And then, when they come to the negotiating table, speak honestly, firmly and with good faith so that all preconditions for future conflict are removed. Because most often future wars are embedded in the unjust clauses of peace treaties. That is why in the gospel beatitudes Jesus Christ speaks not of peacekeepers but of peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. My dream is that the work of these sons of God will succeed.
The heroism of the Ukrainian people evokes admiration, but the pain of their suffering is much greater. Compassion is the impetus to write the texts collected in this book. To echo the words of Dr Martin Luther King, I have a dream, my dream is that one day writers will write like this and have such an impact in society that they will no longer allow anyone to start a war.
Prof. MIHAIL NEDELTCHEV
A practitioner and theoretic of literary-historical reconstruction and an early 1990s politician; a participant in the international research projects ‘Bulgaria and Ukraine: a culture of ruptures (19th-21st centuries)’ (2017-2020) and ‘The world from yesterday: the sense of a threatened Europe in the literatures of Bulgaria, Ukraine, Poland and Czechoslovakia: 1935-1939-1945’ (2021-2024); author of the obituary ‘Ivan Dziuba – praiseworthy son of Ukraine’ (2022).
The Bulgarian humanitarian intellectuals belonging to the democratic community are well aware of the several centuries-old efforts of Ukrainians to strengthen and defend their national cultural identity. In fact, this cultural relationship has traditions going back to the Middle Ages – to the gift of the Cyrillic script, to the missionary work of conversion to Christianity, to the civilizing mission of prominent Bulgarian medieval scribes and churchmen in Kievan Rus.
In fact, contrary to Russian imperial propaganda, it was Ukrainians who made up most of the military personnel who participated in the liberation of Bulgaria in 1878. And it was in the southeastern Ukrainian borders – in the universities of Kharkov, Odessa, and Kherson, that dozens of Bulgarian youths were educated in the second half of the 19th century. Even before that, in the 18th century, several hundred thousand Bulgarians were living in these lands – the so-called Bessarabian, Odessan and Tauric Bulgarians, whose descendants are today the fifth largest national minority in modern Ukraine.
The Bulgarian humanitarian intellectuals know well these Bulgarian-Ukrainian historical narratives; they became a good basis for the Bulgarian-Ukrainian cultural and political reciprocity. In the last decade of the 19th century, several great Ukrainian scholars who were opposed to and expelled from Russia found a home at Sofia University – among them one of the founders of the Ukrainian modern concept of the national idea, Prof. Mikhailo Dragomanov, whose daughter Lydia married the great Bulgarian philologist and public figure prof. Ivan Shishmanov. The writers of the Circle of Thought maintained close ties with several Ukrainian writers – among them the classic of Ukrainian literature Lesya Ukrainka. In 1918-1919 it was prof. Ivan Shishmanov who was the Bulgarian minister plenipotentiary in Kiev under the democratic government of the Ukrainian People’s Republic. And this is well remembered!
The majority of Bulgarian humanities scholars experienced Putin's Russia's criminal war against Ukraine, which is seeking its place in modern Europe, as a great tragedy. We had heard well the warnings of impending danger from such powerful works as the novel Moscoviad by the great modern poet Yuri Andrukhovich, from his and Sergiy Zhadan’s and other poets’ political verse, and we had listened to the songs of the Maidan bards. We are trying to liberate the minority Bulgarians from the evil spells of Putin’s propaganda. We are convinced that for us, as humanitarians, as literary scholars, working together with Ukrainian colleagues on common projects is a very good opportunity to show that we are together in a united Europe, that we are in solidarity. “Glory to Ukraine! Glory to the heroes!”
A public intellectual, poet, and literary scholar, teaching at New Bulgarian University (Sofia). His last poetry book ‘Before they have washed off the blood’ (2022) is dedicated to the war in Ukraine.
When we talk about any war, we must be sure that it has already been described by the poets. Moreover, wars repeat themselves to such an extent that they are always quotations from other wars. The set of human actions is always equally drastic and too simple in variation. War is radically more monotonous than peaceful life.
If I had to sort out who the greatest war poets were, I wouldn't have much trouble. I'll start with Snorri Sturluson with Egil's Saga, “The Tale of Igor's Campaign”, Robert Burns on the Scottish War of Independence, Miguel de Cervantes and Gilbert Chesterton on the Battle of Lepanto, Alfred Tennyson (“The Charge of the Light Brigade”) and Rudyard Kipling (“The Last of the Light Brigade”) on the Crimean War, Thomas Hardy and Charles Swinburne on the Boer War, countless poets related to the First World War (British poets and above all Wilfrid Owen wrote wonderful poems, but there is also Bulgarian contribution in the person of Dimcho Debelyanov). I will also talk about the Serbo-Bulgarian War of 1885, as well as the Balkan Wars of 1912–1913 and how they were developed by the ideologist of Bulgarian nationalism Ivan Vazov, as well as the participant in the First World War Geo Milev, author of the most – the sharp criticism of nationalism – the question “Wonderful, but what is a Fatherland?”.
But shall I refuse to speak of modern wars and the reaction of the poets? Can we think of the Vietnam War without the poems of Denise Levertov, Allen Ginsberg, and William Merwin? Or about the war in Afghanistan without Joseph Brodsky's “Lines on the Winter Campaign, 1980”?
However, I would first talk about how Russia's current neo-colonial war against Ukraine constantly updates scenes and plots from the Iliad.
For example, the beginning of the war. Just look at how the negotiations are presented in the “Iliad” (Menelaus and Odysseus under Priam – “Iliad”, III, 204 – 311). Negotiations are always in vain. And today many are calling for negotiations – what an illusion!
Then let's see how both in the “Iliad” and today in Ukraine (for example, during the expected truce for Christmas) it is profitable for everyone to break the oaths (Feast of the Gods – “Iliad”, IV, 64 – 73).
Then comes the speech-making scene – and let's compare the rally concert at the Luzhniki Stadium featuring Russian commander-in-chief Vladimir Putin on March 18, 2022, with the speech of Odysseus tasked by Athena to stop those already determined to return to Argos distrusted Achaeans (“Iliad”, II, 172 – 210).
War is a loss of the human image. Mercy is impossible. And there is the ossification of battle-driven heroes (e.g. in “Iliad”, XXII) and the countless videos on social networks today of rocket-torn residential buildings, of shelled hospitals and schools, of soldiers in trenches and armored personnel carriers on which dropping bombs from drones.
In the “Iliad” the tragedy of the difficult return of the corpses of the fallen soldiers is vividly shown (“Iliad”, XXIV, 169 – 676), and the images of the mobile crematoria of the Russian army, the images of the invisible corpses of the inhabitants of Mariupol, covered with the debris of their houses, the images of the new cemeteries, many of them temporary, between residential buildings are so defining of the current war.
Every scene, every story from the Russian aggression in Ukraine has its prototype in the “Iliad”. Even when, in May 2022, a Ukrainian journalist and soldiers hijacked an infantry fighting vehicle from a famous Russian motorized brigade within 100 meters of combat positions. Because it is a retelling of the story of Odysseus and Diomedes who go scouting and return with the stolen horses of Rhesus. And doesn't the body of the castrated Ukrainian being dragged in a jeep remind of the desecration of the body of the murdered Hector?
But still the most important is the most general. That all treaties in time of war are subject to revision. That martial law often lasts only the moment it is written. That war is not so much a matter of strength as of cunning. That war is ultimately always a transgression of morality.
Now that we know all this, can we have any other position than that the aggressor should be stopped only by greater cunning and not by persuasion? And can we hope that this war is more noble than any other war? One thing we must know in all cases – the dehumanizing work of war should not discourage us. The fog of war should only be a stimulus for the better education of modern societies.
Head of Centre for Film Culture Andrzej Wajda
Director, screenwriter, and producer, president of the Directors’ Guild of Poland, member of the European Film Academy and the Polish Film Academy. She co-directed with Krzysztof Krauze Savior Square (Plac Zbawiciela, 2005) and Papusza (2013), among other outstanding films.
Good evening! Dobrij Weczir
Ladies and Gentlemen,
This is Warsaw speaking.
My name is Joanna Rozen, I'm the Head of Andrzej Wajda Center for Film Culture. As you can know Andrzej Wajda outstanding masterpieces of film art, you will know that we in Poland did our homework, and learn how to be responsible for our Freedom and how to take care of democracy and critical thinking. Which are not given to us forever,
and we know that we have to fight for them every day.
In Warsaw, we know about that more than ever.
It is a pleasure to welcome you at Aleje Ujazdowskie Andrzej Wajda Centre. We are in the middle of this awake city of Warsaw. We are looking through our big windows now
and we see a lot of people going down the street, in direction of russian embassy, where is a big anti-war demonstration happening right now.
I would like you feel this atmosphere, too.
How to help Ukraine? – learn their culture, watch Ukrainian great films, and read Ukrainian books!
And now – let me introduce Joanna Kos Krause, a great polish director, but also a great person, who is involved in helping refugees for a long time.
My z wami! Slava Ukraini! Gierojom slava!
AGNIESZKA HOLLAND (recorded message)
Agnieszka Holland is a famous Polish film and television director and screenwriter - best known for her political contributions to Polish cinema - Her films know world-wide are : Europa Europa (1990), The Secret Garden (1993), Angry Harvest, and more recently In Darkness, both of which were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. She was elected President of the European Film Academy in 2020.
ANDREJ SEWERYN (recorded message)
Polish actor, emigrated in France for many years, stage comedian at the Comédie Française. He currently lives in Warsaw.
I am Andrzej Severyn, and I pretend my word is not any worth about what is going on actually. And I say that, not only because Ukraine, the war, people being killed and being persecuted and because Culture is being destroyed ! What can I do against tanks, rockets and barbarity. Even if I don’t beleive in my effort, my action, I perform for them in my Theatre. I am the Director Of the Theatre in Varsaw. That is where from we undertake actions and cultural events that allow Ukranian artists and intellectuels to express in Varsaw and stay alive. I think there is today and to-morrow. And today, I’ll speak about Culture. It is true though that sending money is most important, as well as to send tanks, planes and every sorts of equipment so as to win the war. I know that « wining" is a questionnable term. But you are aware of that ! Above all, we must help them today, as do artists or film directors by sending cameras and all that they need, for exemple to make documentary films about Russian barbarity. So, today we don’t want being polemic. As for being the director of Vasaw theatre, I received a letter from the Culture Ministry which I depend from, to inform me about a letter from the Ukranian Minister, Alexander Kachenko. He informed us that independant, cultural entreprises were using Ukrenian as a denomination so as to make the public come. And even here and I have to inform you about some of these institutions as Ukrenian ballets, Kiev ballets, Royal Ukrenian ballets, Ukrenian ballets of Odessa, National ballet of Kiev, and so on… In reality, one could earn much more money using that name and preserving as well a Russian future. In fact, these designations safeguard a potential future which means we must keep that in mind. So today it's the war. We must help them where they are or could be. They keep contact with artists in Poland. We cooperate with them. They are not beggers here. They work and that is what Western Countries should do, and they do. Now, they are surviving. But there is something else. Do French people know what Ukraine is, do they know what Culture is in Ukraine ? This Culture has been persecuted by Russia. For years and years Russia denied Ukrenian language as well as Ukrenian Nation and Ukrenian Culture. So it seems to me that it is most important to make an effort to know what Ukraine is in reality, what is her History, her history of arts, the history of persecutions in Ukraine and Poland by Russia and German people, and, in fact, that’s all I have to say. Loss of national memory is enormous in Ukraine and when I organised cultural events, we called them « Ukrenian evenings » and we recalled………and ……., the important opposants who spent fourty or thirty years in the Russian Goulag. Do you know that Ukrenian people didm’t know them ! I must say our job, our collaboration with people in the world has to disclose History of Ukraine as well as her Culture. That willl help to preserve Culture everywhere as in Ukraine itself. They are free from very lately. They were persecuted for centuries.
Journalist, Deputy Editor of the "Нова Польща" media project, Activist. In recent years he has been interviewing people who experienced severe trauma: former prisoners of the Nazi Concentration Camps, mothers of killed Ukrainian soldiers, Ukrainian refugees. He worked for Polskie Radio, culture.pl, TVN and "1+1" TV channels. His articles appeared in National Geographic. Lives in Warsaw since 2009.
Art curator and diplomat, an expert on the culture of Eastern Europe/ In Gdańsk, he takes care of the Free Word project, operating as part of the literary program Gdańsk City of Literature.
The war in Ukraine caused by russian aggression concerns Europe and the entire world. Ukrainian culture, its history and present, undertakes a courageous reflection on the imperial legacy of its despicable neighbor, also present in its own bosom. Poland - Ukraine's closest neighbor is familiar with the experience of oppression, the support provided is an expression of goodwill, but also an understanding of the reality of the threat coming from totalitarian Russia.
I am standing in the European Solidarity Center, in the city of Gdansk, which was the city to refuse to cooperate with the Russian center of culture and science back in March 2022, while it gave the place over to activities for Ukrainian culture within the framework of the Free Word project named after the House of the Word in Kharkov, which was bombed today.
Culture is a space for experimentation and the creation of bonds and values. It is from it that compassion, the quest for freedom, the will to fight, identity and consciousness flow. Culture is also a battlefield. Hostile culture carries hostile values. Ukrainian women and men are proposing a new model of society based on horizontal cooperation and taking personal responsibility. This flows from their culture and vision of the world. This is the only solution that has a chance of reversing the global catastrophe.
I see the task of Europe and cultural people in supporting Ukraine's efforts in every field from arms supplies and humanitarian aid to supporting Ukrainian cultural people, giving them visibility and a place in their institutions and programs. It is also important to observe our own privileges and habits to the image of Eastern Europe imposed by russian interests. It is time for a major reinterpretation.
Manager of culture, editor, political scientist and publicist. He is director of the European Solidarity Centre since 2011 : he will speak tonight in the name of the centre which is one the greatest places promoting civil freedom in Europe.
World-wide reknown Ukrainian writer : novelist, poet, and essayist. Her works have been translated into several languages.
Her works as novelist includes :
- Fieldwork in Ukrainian Sex (1996) Польові дослідження з українського сексу
- Sister, Sister (2003) Сестро, сестро
- The Museum of Abandoned Secrets (2009) Музей покинутих секретів
Counsellor of Mayor of Krakow for Culture
World-wide renown Polish stage director
Ukrainian artist whose paintings are currently exhibited in NHCC
World-wide renown Polish composer
🀰 En une vidéo (17 minutes : 5 contributions)
MIHAELA ALEXANDRA POP
Professor at the Faculty of Philosophy of the University of Bucharest – teaching philosophy of culture, philosophy of art and aesthetics. Various periods of the European culture and art.
Romania – a neighbour of Ukraine –
600 km of common borders; Romanian minority in Ukraine – 409.000 Romanian origin people (speakers of Romanian) = 0.85% of the Ukraine population
3.5 millions of Ukrainian people passed the Romanian border since the beginning of the war.
80.000 Ukr. Citizens settled down in Romania for a longer period – 48.000 children; 5000 people got jobs; linguistic obstacles, hope to come back in Ukraine. The system of temporary protection is into effect.
Historical and cultural relations between Romania and Ukraine
17th century – Movila family – aristocratic family – Peter Movilă – archbishop and later on in 1633, metropolitan of Kyiev – died in Kyiev – Pechersk Lavra
18th century – Paisie Velicikovsky – monk and theologien from Poltava Ukraine, lived in Romania – Neamț and died there.
Cerniwce (Cernăuți) in Bucovina – 1857-1860 – our most famous poet, Mihai Eminescu studied in this important town.
The Romanian people proved their sympathy and compassion for the Ukrainian people who suffer such a disaster in their life and country. That is why the defence of their culture is essential as culture expresses the identity of a nation, a people. On the other side, Europe itself has to defend and resist through culture which makes it so special.
In this context we the Romanians would like to get good news about the our Romanian minority in Ukraine who is submitted to some restrictions concerning its ethnic rights about education in maternal language, or the right to use this language in official institutions. These are rights which are recognized by the European Community and respected by the other countries. We do hope that this illegitimate war will end soon making possible for Ukraine to build its European future together with all the other European countries.
Associate professor in art history at the University of Bucharest, and has a joint supervision Ph.D. degree in modern history (University of Bucharest, 2016) and political science (University of Bordeaux, 2016).
UKRAINIAN NATIONAL FEELING AND THE RIGHT OF NATIONS TO SELF-DETERMINATION
The right of peoples to self-determination is a fundamental principle of international law, which underpins the political architecture of the world, being upheld by the United Nations. Yet in attacking Ukraine, Putin's Russia aims to subvert this principle. Because - this much is clear - the Ukrainians do not want to be, nor to become Russians - they want to continue being Ukrainians, and are willing to fight and die for this basic right.
More to the point, as stipulated by the political theorist Walker Connor, the nation is - perhaps chiefly so - an emotional reality. If the Ukrainians do not feel Russian, then no amount of political pressure, blackmail or war-making will change the Ukrainian heart.
🀰 VIDÉO LAMENTATION
LAMENTATION, by Sofia Vicoveanca
Traditional folkloric song – from the northern part of Romania, near the border with Ukraine – region of Bukovina.
The recording Oh, Man – Oh, Tree includes this lamentation followed by two cradle songs (lullabies)
Lamentation – Death
(a dialogue with the Death and with the soul of the dead person)
Oh Death, terrible Death,
What are you looking for in our yard?
As Man, however much older he is
He still dies sighing (for life)
And leaving sadness behind him.
Wake up, wake up [dead person] and look around
How many people lament for you
Wake up and look carefully
What remains after you -
Only tears and sighs.
Wake up, wake up and tell us
How is the way in that world?
“The way is long, the path is tortuous,
Spread with tears
And covered with mist.
The path is long and full of stubs,
Who went already has never come back
As the way is full of steep ravines”
Come on, come on, cuckoo baby,
Come and sleep with mum
I hope to survive to see you playing and dancing later on…
Snail, snail, …
ALEX VILLAS BOAS, Philosopher (Portugal)
Principal researcher (PI) and coordinator of the Research Centre for Theology and Religious Studies at the Universidade Católica Portuguesa.
JUAN MIGUEL HERNANDEZ LEON
Architect and President of Círculo de Bellas Artes in Madrid
We are participating in this Forum of culture for Ukraine as a condemnation of the war Putin's Russia and in support of the Ukrainian people and their culture. European culture speaks out in this forum in favour of European values: democracy, freedom of expression and creation, equal rights, etc. It is not only about condemning the criminal war but also about exposing the fallacies and lies that try to justify it
The writer Marifé Santiago-Bolaños holds a PhD in Philosophy. Professor of Aesthetics and Theory of the Arts at the Universidad Rey Juan Carlos. Her literary and essayistic works are born from the respectful dialogue between thought and creativity, a territory to weave a world where equality between men and women is the foundation of a universal culture of peace.
I read an extract from my novel Ruth's Song, which was born asking for peace and
dignity, that is, respect. Recent history is presence, it is in front of us and shows us, again
and again, pain and humiliation in human lives. Women and men are not a map or a
number. Homer already warned in his work that so many centuries later cries out for a
world where we know how to give hospitality to hope: "war is a combat that causes
tears". And Maria Zambrano: "it is not only a matter of not having war [...] but of
establishing life in view of peace. [...] and peace is a way of living, a way of inhabiting
the planet, a way of being man". I add: "violence is a miserable vein that we cover with
Ruth's Song ( fragments)
At Marina Tsvetaeyeva's house, we copy some verses:
It is a time of burning arbitrariness
-of silent petitions.
It is time of earthless brotherhoods.
It is time of orphandries without borders.
May the teachers of these children not give up; may they continue to invent, for
these children, the future.
May kindness keep the misfortune and the greatness of these drawings; may
candor bear witness to so much undesirable sadness.
May the orphans, may the abandoned, may those who had to say goodbye
forever ignore hatred, may they abominate revenge.
May the little ones stop waking up every night because, in the nightmare, the
city is bombed again.
May that child recover her voice and be able to accept the blood that disfigures
her mother's face.
May certain rotten words not hit their children's lips; may the earth turn them
May these children weave, among all, a cloak of imagination that shelters their
May the teachers of these children not give up; may they continue to invent, for
these children, the future.
So be it. So be it.
May destiny protect those who crossed the border shaking.
May destiny protect those who lost their lovers, their brothers, their parents in
the ignominy of the mass graves.
May we not go mad, may we not go mad.
May destiny protect the children who swallow loneliness, who become mute
with animal pain, who fall asleep with sadness and adult fatigue.
May destiny protect the women who will never know love because the greatness
of feeling it has been destroyed.
May we not go mad, may we not go mad.
So be it, so be it.
Esther Bendahan is one of the few Spanish writers of Moroccan Sephardi descent living in Spain today. She published several novels, such Soñar con Hispania (co-written with Esther Benari, 2002) and Déjalo, ya volveremos (2006), as well as her short story « Condecoración" (2016).
Rembering Lemkin who proposed the concept of a crime against humanity.
Is starting a war and annihilitating an antire people considered to be one ?
Grossman said if fascism conquers, man will cease to exist.
JIMMY SUDARIO CABRAO (Brazil)
Part of the global south is indifferent or declared neutrality towards the violent destruction of Ukraine by Putin's army. Such neutrality claims geopolitical reasons and is prey to anti-empire and anti-colonial rhetoric that seeks to place Putin's Russia on the same side as the historically colonized nations of the global south. In the face of this cultural war, an anti-colonial critique of the Russian empire is urgent. This means:
· Russia's war against Ukraine is a colonial war.
· The Russian state is a violent and colonial empire and must be subjected to strong and anti-colonial criticism.
· Russia’s war is destroying Ukraine and annihilating the freedom of its own citizens.
· The cultural war against Russia implies an emphasis on the past of dissent and subversion present in Russian art and thought. It means to read Russian art against the empire, as a source of dissent against the empire, and not to reject it and abandon it to Putin's nationalism.
· In this cultural war, we need to emphasize Russia's place in European history and its art's place in furthering freedom and democratic values. This involves rescuing the spiritual values that populated its own literature – Hadji Murad is per se a cultural document that dissolves the violence of the Russian Empire from within.
· In this cultural war, the fight against Russia's abandonment of Western values is imperative. The global south needs to keep in mind the dangers of an exclusive communion of Russia with the Asian world, as Levinas warned in 1960 – and as now we can see the risks in the alliance between Russia, China, and India. We need, more than ever, to resist the traps of geopolitical rhetoric, masked as an anti-imperial struggle, which will plunge part of the world into a "totality" unfamiliar with democratic values.
ELZBIETA STERNLICHT (Berlin)
World famous pianist, and teacher at the University of Art Berlin UDK for 40 years.
György Ligeti: Musica ricercata Nr. III, IV, VI
Frédéric Chopin: Mazurka a Moll, Op.68 Nr.2
Hello to everyone and especially to Ukraine!
A few words about the choice of my program:
Ligeti, a great composer of the 20th century, was born in Transylvania on the border of Romania and Hungary in a Jewish family. At a young age, he lost his father and brother in a Nazi camp. His mother survived and he escaped to finally got into a Russian camp. Thanks to a big fire in the camp, he was able to escape.
Back in Hungary, he witnessed in 1956 how the Soviets crushed in blood an uprising against the communist regime.
His music, always alert and sometimes harsh, bears the traces of bitterness that will accompany him all his life.
And Chopin...it's always good to play and listen to him !
But, in the same time, it is my warm Polish greeting to the Ukrainian people.
CAMILLE DE TOLEDO
Writer based in Berlin. He won the Franz Hessel Prize and the Académie française's prize for his creation "Thésée, sa vie nouvelle". He teaches creative writing in Brussels and Aix-Marseille.
Deux types de guerre: l une est éthique, l'autre barbare.
Merci aux Ukrainiens pour votre courage, humour, dignité, pouvoir spirituel votre résistance.
Merci pour votre poésie, musique, pour faire l'Europe plus grande, pourvotre amour de la liberté.
Pour la ligne tracée entre vie et mort, entre démocratie et tyrannie, pour demeurer forts.
Israeli-Austrian writer, historian and essayist. He was born in Tel Aviv in 1961. He lives in the Austrian capital city since 1964.
The tyrant does not declare the war he unleashes. He forbids the word and does not want to hear it, so he does not need to know anything about the law of war. Unspeakable shall be the horrors he brings upon the defenceless. Concessions only fuel his bloodlust. Nothing remains of the cities he pretends to liberate. Even families of his own people who oppose the campaign are exterminated. Children and the elderly are slaughtered. Babies see the light of day in the form of a firebomb. The tyrant denies mass murder and awards medals to the brigade that perpetrated it. The annihilation of a nation and its history is for becoming a world leader. The enemy is not only the enemy army. It is not only those who supply equipment – whether helmets or tanks – who are targeted. The regime threatens us all with nuclear annihilation. This is tyranny. It is enough not to encourage him to incite its rage.
Even if we are far from the gunshot, it is a matter of freedom for all of us. A Europe in peace beyond his arbitrariness cannot exist for the tyrant. That is why he supports all those who – whether in Brussels, Berlin, Paris or Vienna – undermine democracy. He expects submission. But to his dismay, he unites an entire continent that does not want to live under his rule and does resist.
His power is based on fear and terror. His hatred has always aimed at the art that reflects what happens to the victims. The tyrant knows their power and fears their courage.
There are the images of the fighters, the fleeing ones, the murdered, the maimed, the raped, the tortured. They look at us. Who has eyes, let him see.
Francesca Bellino was born in Salerno and lives in Rome. She is a writer, a journalist, an animator and writer of radio and TV programs. For years she has worked on culture and transculturality, migrations, stories related to the feminine world, the environment and the human rights in the Arab Mediterranean region, with a particular interest for the relations between the south and north shores of the Mediterranean.
Take Me by the Hand Sara
From “I don’t know the road to Aleppo” by Ghassan Zaqtan
Take me by the hand Sara,
I’m blind, I can’t see
Whenever from your palm rises the scent
Of burn grass, I start to cry.
Take me by the hand, you who know the grass!
I’m a child and I don’t know
My legs tremble
When you bend on me
And, involuntarily, freely oscillating before my eyes, your breasts.
I don’t know the road to Aleppo
Take me by the hand Sara,
My mother sleeps
My father the river has taken him
And I have no dreams to sleep.
My brothers, the weavers have taken them to Aleppo.
They have left me here to tell ma mother,
When she wakes up, that the river has taken my father,
The weavers have taken my brothers
And she has died.
Take me by the hand Sara
night has fallen
the river, now is behind us
and I don’t know the road to Aleppo.
From the collection In War Do Not Look for Me” — Widad Nabi
The place is illuminated by the record
“Of our houses in the absence after the war and the abandonment”
to visit the ruins of your house in dream
and to come back without any dust on your hands
to water the faded flowers
in the garden of your neighbours
because those of your house have died under the bombs
geography of the oppression
that separates cities a thousand miles apart
in one you leave the linen on the clothesline
in the other you hold your hand to the wind
to gather it
To the hand hanging from the bell of the old house
who can say
“Houses don’t belong to those who’ve left them”.
Poetry is Borders Language that Trespasses Borders
Paused on the margins, in the arrowslits, in the labile strips of territories, languages, sound (on which it feeds) like fragments of a world, of several worlds and recomposes them in the trespassing, proof of the clearsighted removal, of the concord albeit in the conflictuality which it also generates, critic agent —agitated on the surface, calm in immersion.
“Peace I do not search war I don’t support, tranquil and alone. I walk the world in dream, eying the ports, the veils…
When o when my soul will wake up shivering and free.”
These lines by Dino Campana poetically express this address to man who knows what war and peace are.
Poetry is the language of utopias come true, of antagonism, of revolt, of reaction.
More than ever today it is the language that interprets, that intervenes to bring back the democracy of the new world dominated by the dictatorship of the old world.
I conclude still with an aphorism in verse of 1995 by the poet Vito Riviello that provokes thinking to the sense that reverses nonsense:
“When war goes on the United Nations goes on vacations”
[“quando guerra d’avanzata l’Onu va in vacanza a Honolulu’]
Philosopher, founder with Ilaria Bussoni of the journal Opera Viva, for many years editor-in-chief of the journal alfabeta2. He is interested in political philosophy and theory of art, and teaches at the Rome University of Fine Arts (RUFA).
War against War. Leaving the 20th Century Behind.
The Russian-Ukrainian war, whatever one thinks of the dynamics that has triggered it, leading irremediably to the outburst of an armed aggression, that is to say to war, and on the responsibilities of the ones and of the others, has suddenly and immediately precipitated us all into a logic and a scenario that seem typical of the century that lies behind us, and which we thought to have really left behind us for ever. We thought, we were definitely convinced, that two World Wars with millions of dead — let us not forget that World War II was brought to an end only by the tragic and apocalyptic event of the dropping of the atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki in 1945 — then the Cold War that came to an end only with the fall of the Berlin Wall in 1989 — could have taught us a lesson: never again to resort to war to resolve international tensions, but to international law and diplomacy to find a way as pacific as can be. And on the contrary, no: suddenly we found ourselves witnessing a war that seemed to precipitate us into the 20th century and its neurotic, destructive logic. It is henceforth necessary to align oneself on one side or the other. On what side are you? Who are the Goodies and who are the Baddies? But if we think about it well, is it really yet another war triggered by the logic of the Nation-States, and therefore by the necessity of defending borders? This too is a logic that we thought to have overcome thanks to the construction of supernational political organizations. But how to they work? How far do they succeed in doing their work? And where does Europe stand in all that? What role does it play exactly? Really, this is what we should reflect on to understand what to do. Today, are there really no alternative routes to the explosion of a war that could drag us all into an abyss? Is it true that our civilization is still incapable to make war against war? Are things really like this? Are they right those who announce the extinction of this civilization as a not very distant stage?
Finnish novelist and playwright; very committed against Stalinism. Translated into more than 40 languages, numerous awards.
LÉONORE FRENOIS - a multidisciplinary artist who has worked in the field of visual and scenic arts and who is currently training in gender studies and more specifically in the place of women artists within cultural institutions -
MARCOPOLO WILLEMS - actor, sculptor, political scientist -
I don’t care
Whether I live in Ukraine or not
After all, I don’t care.
May I be remembered,
May my existence be forgotten,
I in the snow abroad,
After all, I don’t care.
I grew up in bondage
And it was with strangers,
As a slave, I will die,
Without seeing the tears of my loved ones.
In my life will not remain
Every trace, no sign.
In our brave Ukraine
Whose land is not ours.
Father and son will have forgotten me.
The father won’t tell him “Pray my son, pray to God for Ukraine.”
It had been tormented before: Martyred to the death.
I don’t care if his son
Made or not made his prayers.
But I don’t care
That by false, wicked men
Our Ukraine be asleep
And after you strip it
They wake it with fire
No! I don’t care.”
Sergueï Karkov , The Grey Bees
As far as the eye can see, they are only checkpoints and barbed wire, casemates hidden under a thick layer of snow, desolate roads on a territory at war. “He looked at him and thought that if they had not remained the only two inhabitants of the village, he would never have spoken to him again. They would have lived in parallel, each in his street and each in his life. And never until their death would they have had another conversation. If there had been no war.”
Somewhere in Donbas… Pachka was pro-Russian, Sergei was a pro-Ukrainian beekeeper. After an argument at Pashka’s…
So what are you going to do? Twigged Sergueïtch, who, waking up in the middle of the night, realized that he would not go back to sleep. … He knew what he was going to do with his night. The whole country, after all, did, but not at night. He did! The conditions here were different: it was war. Day, impossible! How many were watching them through binoculars, periscopes or sight glasses from the surrounding horizon?… … His eyes quickly became accustomed to darkness. He went to the beginning of the street, at the other end, from where we did not even see the church.... He saw a plaque “Lenin street”, in white letters on a blue background. He tore it off… and stuffed it in his backpack…. He returned to his yard and took out the plates which he laid on the snow one below the other. He began with a loud, coarse laugh, but immediately covered his mouth with his hand. “Damn, he thought. I only did half the job.” He went to the street of Pashka. There, he tore off six plates “Shevchenko”. Lenin, in the Soviet Union, everyone knew him, whereas Shevchenko was famous only here… “Come, on, it’s good,” he said to himself, waving as if to drive these thoughts from his head. “Poets are harmless people. Not like politicians! From now on I will live on Chevtchenko Street!" … He nailed the plates of both streets. The street of Packa ended foolishly, in the image of the history of the Soviet Union. At the end of the former Shevtchenko Street stood the half-ruined stables of the former kolkhoz. “
Confiance? La confiance est un petit enfant, avec des yeux naïfs, innocents, Ayant rassemblés ses pensées et ses sentiments aux creux des genoux, il court vers qui appelle. L’enfant ne contrôle rien. Riant et pleurant ouvertement — Il ne connaît rien de. Mieux — c’est son état naturel, toute sa beauté et sa valeur. L’enfant attend. De grands yeux confiants, ne soupçonnant jamais le chagrin, regardent confiants qui appelle. L’enfant attend impatiemment, attendant il ne sait quoi. Peut-être une certaine chance en quelque sorte, ou quelque chose d’autre — quelque chose d’aussi beau, splendide et pure, que son âme, débordant de véritables perles. Mais non. La puissante main de la déception s’élève au-dessus de la tête innocente de l’enfant et telle une lourde pierre tombe sur la tête de l’enfant qui ne connaît rien d’autre du monde que sa droiture et vérité et confiance en ses possibilités rayonnantes
Ariane Mnouchkine - Andrzej Severyn
I am not naïve and I pretend my word is not any worth about what is going on actually. And I say that, not only because Ukraine, the war, people being killed and being persecuted and because Culture is being destroyed ! What can I do against tanks, rockets and barbarity. Even if I don’t beleive in my effort, my action, I perform for them in my Theatre.
I am the Director Of the Theatre in Varsaw. That is where from we undertake actions and cultural events that allow Ukranian artists and intellectuels to express in Varsaw and stay alive. I think there is today and to-morrow. And today, I’ll speak about Culture. It is true though that sending money is most important, as well as to send tanks, planes and every sorts of equipment so as to win the war. I know that « wining" is a questionnable term. But you are aware of that ! Above all, we must help them today, as do artists or film directors by sending cameras and all that they need, for exemple to make documentary films about Russian barbarity. So, today we don’t want being polemic. As for being the director of Vasaw theatre, I received a letter from the Culture Ministry which I depend from, to inform me about a letter from the Ukranian Minister, Alexander Kachenko. He informed us that independant, cultural entreprises were using Ukrenian as a denomination so as to make the public come.
And even here and I have to inform you about some of these institutions as Ukrenian ballets, Kiev ballets, Royal Ukrenian ballets, Ukrenian ballets of Odessa, National ballet of Kiev, and so on… In reality, one could earn much more money using that name and preserving as well a Russian future. In fact, these designations safeguard a potential future which means we must keep that in mind. So today it's the war. We must help them where they are or could be. They keep contact with artists in Poland. We cooperate with them. They are not beggers here. They work and that is what Western Countries should do, and they do. Now, they are surviving.
But there is something else. Do French people know what Ukraine is, do they know what Culture is in Ukraine ? This Culture has been persecuted by Russia. For years and years Russia denied Ukrenian language as well as Ukrenian Nation and Ukrenian Culture. So it seems to me that it is most important to make an effort to know what Ukraine is in reality, what is her History, her history of arts, the history of persecutions in Ukraine and Poland by Russia and German people, and, in fact, that’s all I have to say. Loss of national memory is enormous in Ukraine and when I organised cultural events, we called them « Ukrenian evenings » and we recalled………and ……., the important opposants who spent fourty or thirty years in the Russian Goulag. Do you know that Ukrenian people didm’t know them ! I must say our job, our collaboration with people in the world has to disclose History of Ukraine as well as her Culture. That willl help to preserve Culture everywhere as in Ukraine itself. They are free from very lately. They were persecuted for centuries.
ROBIN RENUCCI (Marseille)
Stage actor and director, current director of La Criée, French national theatre based in Marseille.
R Renucci hears Mariopol when he reads Oradour.
A poem by Jean Tardieu, "Oradour".