Not. Gonna. Happen.

Let us be a part of the cure
Never part of the plague
We’ll only be remembered for what we create.
From flood into the fire
One thousand voices sing
We’re in this together
For whatever fate may bring.
© Kreator, Mille Petrozza, Phantom Antichrist, 2012.

No life has a higher value than freedom. Freedom is far from being free. In fact, it’s the most expensive thing a human being can obtain, literally and figuratively. It has to be paid in the blood of innocent victims and if any of you forgot how heavy is that burden, Ukraine is the reminder. Considered a third-world country by the West, Ukraine has never been on the map of the free world. A mere bystander somewhere in Arizona could never distinguish Ukraine from Russia, confusefully thinking they are the same. Couldn’t be more wrong. For better or worse, today everyone knows what Ukraine is, where it is and what it stands for.

Situating on a bottleneck between the great Europe and greater Asia, Ukraine has always been a bridge between the West and the East. Unlike monocultural nations such as Japan, mixing hundreds of different nations and cultures be these now alive and going or historically defunct, Ukraine has a special cultural code that lets people co-exist in a sparkling symbiosis of various traditions, mindsets, and lifestyles. We’ve learned to fit well. Det gamle Europa chose the multicultural path of co-existence recently, but truth be told, preceding such a mindset, we have been “multicultural” from the very beginning, thanks to a unique geographical position at the intersection of everything. Greeks have lived there. Kipchaks have lived there. Turks have lived there. Swedes have lived there. Lithuanians have lived there. Pechenegs have lived there. Jews have lived there. Every Slavyanic nation has lived there. It bends the mind how many nations these lands allowed to settle down during the course of two thousand years, that passed.

Are you aware of the etymology of the word “slave”? Where did it come from and why it so strikingly resembles the name to a conglomerate of Eastern Europe’s nations? Varyags, Norsemen, Vikings — call them any way you wish, were trading people, inhabiting Kievan Rus’ during their stints on the way south to Greece. Mooring to the shores, traders were asking what merchandise Vikings did carry in their knarrs — spacious cargo ships — and to cut long conversations short, Vikings responded “Slavs”, naming the place those ill-fated people were uprooted from.

A barbarian neighbor from the East attempts to get us enslaved one more time. Like we haven’t had enough. 400 years of corruption from imperialistic Russia were topped by 70 years of red occupation so bloodthirsty that only Mao Zedong has topped that. Nazi Germany lost approximately 6 million dead during WWII. The USSR has lost like over 26, thanks partially to the sheer stupidity of Soviet Top Brass command and partially to the notion “the greater the loss — the sweeter the victory”. Never in the history, Russia did respect alive and dead. And they keep trying to get the freedom, ingrained in the DNA, rooted in Ukrainian blood, away from us.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

The violence you can observe from various news sources has reminded us one more time, that the war does never change. That freedom has the highest price-to-value ratio imaginable. That European politicians, inept and impotent, forgot what they fought for 80 years ago and how long it took their grandparents to fix the mess back to normalcy.

We are the people, which value freedom above all else. We will never allow anyone to take the freedom from us, justifying their deeds by the most ridiculous reasons imaginable, decorated in propaganda so severe and biting, that dr. Göbbels is generating electricity by spinning in his grave. A nationwide psychosis, that has infected no less than 70% of 140-million country, has already killed the will to grow and prosper, placing vital life decisions in the hands of a corrupt immoral imbecile, striving to deny the very concept of freedom. A country-wide GULAG, that took 1/9 of the Earth’s dryland.

Not. Gonna. Happen.

We stand for our people, our children, our land, our loved ones. We stand for the West, human-centric values, and the very concept of freedom. Freedom to live, freedom of choice, freedom to speak, freedom to be. We stand for all nations that were affected by unadulterated Russian hatred: Ichkeria, Moldova, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Japan, and so many other countries, that learned the true meaning of the term “Russian world” the very hard way.

We will win. Nobody can take a will to become a first-world country from us, that is for sure. That comes from the heart with all the power we have as a nation.

I am a self-taught action photographer from Ukraine. I’ve tried it all. Weddings, documentaries, ads, sports, etc. Even shot friend’s funeral once. It is easier to say what did I not photograph, than what I did. But one thing is for sure: I will never document what is happening now in my country. There’s a reason.

Don’t get me wrong, W. Eugene Smith, Don McCullin and Robert Capa are amazing photographers, whose stories moved people’s hearts. Every renowned photojournalist gained fame for a reason. While an aspiring photographer may want to be as relevant as the big ones, this time it’s different. What has changed since then can be described in one word: Internet.

You see, Robert Capa captured his shot down soldier blind. He didn’t see what he was photographing during that particular moment. Neither did he know he has captured something so striking literally and figuratively because he didn’t develop the film himself. He sent in the film for development to a third party and only one month after he got to know he has become a living legend.

During the war conflict, the situation changes rapidly. Every second counts. The Internet has torn all the time barriers a human had to endure since the dawn of time. Today PJs send their photoshoots before the action ends. And that is exactly what an enemy uses to correct the artillery fire — the live feed. Some idiot has posted a TikTok video with the Ukrainian military standing alongside the shopping mall. The enemy took coordinates of that place to wipe the mall down by a “Kinzhal” (“Dagger”) missile. 8 dead. The giant mall has turned into ashes in a split second. The very next day some imbecile has filmed the transition of Ukrainian support at the horizon, carrying the fuel for the military. The caravan was destroyed because of that video.

The speed at which the information is being fed to the audience now poses a real death threat to all parties involved — military, police, firefighters, paramedics, civilians, etc. The delay that made it possible for the situation to change, is now gone. The information is being fed with almost no delay. Armed with the power of Google Street View and an artificial neural network that uses a free image database to compare different photographs of the same object, a Russian sergeant can fire a ballistic missile from Kamchatka right to where the action is taking place.

Eager for sensationalist content, journalists unwillingly uncover the secret information — and casualties follow immediately. Photography that was helping to spread awareness to save lives has become a deathly weapon. As a photographer, I am not taking part in any of this. I am actively spreading awareness about the threat a man with a camera can cause and for that I have gained some enemies already among my colleagues.

Lives above all. The defense is primary. Photography is tertiary. My camera will sit in a bag untouched for as long as needed. None of the horrors of war will be frozen by me in a scary, striking yet moving photograph. W. Eugene Smith’s “Minamata” saved hundreds of lives. Today, the camera is a weapon of mass destruction.

So, dear audience, enjoy some photographs of peaceful Kyiv, taken months prior to the war. Compare that to what you can see now from the news feed and try to rethink your life choices not to allow something like that to happen at your doorstep.

Thanks for the time you wasted on this article.

My Instagram

This article was written by Dmitry Bludov. If you have an interesting idea for a guest post, you can contact me here.

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