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Vigil For Ukraine (04.07.22)

We will never forget the horror of seeing the photos from Bucha on the last Sunday of March. When I first heard that the Russian forces left Kyiv region, I wanted to celebrate but once I opened Instagram my heart dropped. A week later, Ukrainian Student Union in America had vigils in 20 different universities all over the US. As one of the members and a Berklee College of Music student, I organized "Vigil for Ukraine" at Berklee campus on the 7th of April.

Around 50 people have gathered outside of Haviland 7 to light up candles in memory of those who had suffered the horrible crimes of Russian army on Ukrainian land. The excerpt from the opening speech follows below.

Excerpt From The Speech

"We’re standing here for those who can’t stand for themselves as they are re laying in the mass graves in Bucha, Irpin, Mariupol…

We’re standing for parents who know what it is like to live in the world without their children, for children who know what it is like to lose parents, and for those who have lost their whole families!

Photos by Vitali Petsiuk.

For people in the bomb shelters who die a little bit every day. Those who take every day as their last one as they are running out of food, water, and will to live.

For those who have to risk their lives to get outside of the basement and make a fire to prepare dinner.

For people and children who think that it’s better to die than to live in a world of terror where silence has been replaced by constant bombings.

For our brave army men and women who decided that dying in freedom was better than living in slavery.

Photos by Vitali Petsiuk.

We’re standing here for women who are physically alive but feel dead on the inside because of the sexual violence Russian soldiers have forced on them day, after day.

For their little children, whose hair turned grey from watching horrible things happen to their mothers.

We’re standing here because children’s bodies are being torn apart not only from missile strikes but also from sexual traumas caused by the Russian soldiers.

For thirteen little girls aged from 10 to 12 who were raped by 70 men. Ten out of them died and three of them returned home without teeth because Russians pulled them out.

Photos by Vitali Petsiuk.

Around 40 girls of that same age and younger were brought to the Poland border from Irpin with physical traumas caused by sexual violence so severe they were brought to the hospitals to fight for their lives. But even if they win, will they ever recover mentally? Their parents were killed in front of them with the words: “We’ll leave your children alive so that they remember this war and respect Russians”.

Respect Russians?... who have no respect for life itself... who make women and girls regret ever being born in a female body… who are burning our people’s bodies like it’s nothing… who are stealing from the same people they kill to later bring their belongings to their wives, sons, daughters, and parents. And wives who are telling their men on the phone “great, steal more stuff, kill more of those Ukrainians, they don’t deserve to live.”

Photos by Vitali Petsiuk.

This is not just a “war crime”. This is genocide in its most disgusting form. This is a crime against anything holy, against life itself.

We can’t let these people die without being remembered. We are human, we know that there is nothing more sacred and untouchable than human life. As these crimes are being covered up we see everything. And what we don’t see we will uncover.

Everything will be revealed. Everything will be remembered. And everything will be punished. We are here to assure that."

Photos by Leon Chebyshev.

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