Only two letters separate “beda” (disaster) from “pobeda” (victory). And years of suffering. And an endless sea of tears. And millions of human fates crushed by the wheels of history.
Man is the measure of all things. Measure of freedom. Measure of human grief. Every human has their own measure of freedom, happiness and grief. And each person has his or her war and victory.
The traditional image of the winner is a brave soldier wearing a service shirt, with a bunch of carnations in his hand. This image is made of many faces so different from this soldier’s. The wife of a missing soldier is waiting for him till her death. A mother buys a new dress for the visit to her son’s grave. The life of a young widow is filled with one and the only thing – love for her deceased husband. A girl who only yesterday was a student of theatre school today draws bead on the Nazi. A surgeon is sewing up a wound of an Afghan old woman in 50 degree heat.
Generous, pure and courageous people found out that a war turns a human face into a ferocious grin. They have been keeping silence about it, trying to protect us from their knowledge. They are still keeping silence. A lot of years have passed, but they continue their battle. They combat and win. They win a victory over their loneliness, the motherland’s indifference, their poor anility, misunderstanding in their family, distrust of their loved ones. They win a victory over their habit to live in accordance with military laws, their inability to live a peaceful life. They win a victory over unflattering stereotypes about vicious “field wives” who reached Berlin, about soulless “executors” who got back alive from Afganistan.
The voices of two wars – the Great Patriotic War and the Soviet-Afghan War sound from the stage, hundreds of documentary materials were gathered by the Belorussian writer Svetlana Alexievich. Let them talk today, when we are often disunited and hostile towards each other. To prevent a new bloody nightmare they remind us of the great ad simple truth: wars bring only destruction and mourning. They want us to recognize ourselves in their stories and understand that there are no ‘others’, there are no strangers in the history. As the matter of fact, the history is us.