Kyiv, August 27, 2015. Public figures initiated the project, “Our strength is in unity!” in which books will be collected and sent to the East of Ukraine in late September. Both Ukrainian publishing houses and citizens can join the action. Its aim is to create special centers in eastern towns where anyone can read modern literature. A number of organizers and artists shared this news during a press briefing at Ukraine Crisis Media Center.
According to Vyacheslav Ponomaryov, Deputy Director of the Last Barricade Art Association, the art association will deliver books to local libraries, schools and cultural centers which lack modern literature. They have planned trips to Kramatorsk, Severodonetsk, Lysychansk, Kramatorsk, Starobilsk, Svatove, and other places. Overall, the event will cover five regions of Ukraine – Donetsk, Luhansk, Kharkiv, Zaporizhia and Dnipropetrovsk. At present, there are more than 20 requests for Ukrainian literature. “Bring a book that you would like to read. This is the main criterion for literature. You shouldn’t bring the books you just don’t need,” said Ponomaryov.
It is important to support those who remained in areas now on the frontlines. “Everybody should remember that the war is waged not only because of language, but also culture,” explained Maria Burmaka, Ukrainian singer, from the group People’s Artist of Ukraine. “Russian troops are now in regions where there was no Ukrainian songs, books or education. People there do not associate themselves with Ukraine. And those who do, need our support.” She called for a nationwide movement of such aid to the East to awaken or maintain easterners’ love for Ukraine.
The organizers stated that the choice of literature is not limited, but above all, ask people to collect children books, specified Oleksandr Sydorenko, singer, TNMK music band vocalist and writer. According to him, the task is to work with the next generation. “We must cling to those we can still change and pull them out of the information war to our ‘side of the river,’” he said.
“The main thing is that literature should be alive and relevant, something that people really lack in the East,” advised Dmytro Lazutkin, writer and sports commentator. “The front-line zone ensures a reliable Ukrainian rear for the army; it is a pledge for a normal future for this state, said Lazutkin. The books will be delivered not only to local people, but also to the Ukrainian military. “We need adventure literature. There is a special demand for historical literature, on military affairs, but preferably about the Cossack campaigns, national liberation movement, World War II military units in western Ukraine, and not about Kutuzov and Suvorov. It should be both artistic and practical,” said Lazutkin.
Most volunteers are experiencing emotional fatigue, and there are cases when volunteerism is discredited. “We decided to come together and show that we can do it, that we won’t give up and that we are ready to go to the end,” said representative of the National Revival International Charity Fund Ruslan Holubytsky about the community action, Our Strength is Our Unity.
Books will be collected in all regional centers of Ukraine. In Kyiv, the collection stations are located at the Smoloskyp publishing house at 21 Mezhyhirska St., the Last Barricade Art Association at 36/67 Povitroflotiskyi Prospect and the National Renaissance ICF at 31b/302 Spaska St. In general, the organizers plan to involve about 1,000 volunteers throughout Ukraine. Information on new collection stations can be found here: https://www.facebook.com/bookforeast.