Donetsk, August 1
They’ve shown up, finally. Tired, hungry, sweaty, wearing flak jackets, American photographer Patrick Lancaster and freelancers David F. and Chris A. have crossed the threshold with a smile. Because after 16 hours of detention even the hostel you found on the net is worth being called home.
It was not the first time. It’s happened to all of us and we have overcome it with no particular difficulty.
The guys were told their names were not in the Database of Accredited Journalists in Ukraine. This was the explanation of the officer who handled their case. Sounds reasonable, right? A quite legitimate reason, indeed. After all, that’s a war zone and who comes here must have a compelling reason to do it. It’s not like reporting from Kiev, that’s clear. By the way, on June 6 despite their valid accreditation 2 Russian crews were kicked out of Verkhovna Rada building by the Radical Party leader and psychopathic criminal Oleg Lyashko. Weird, isn’t it?
Last week, the British stringer Graham Phillips, after 3 days of detention was deported from Ukraine to Poland, and banned for 3 years from entering the country. He was told, “You work for RT, it’s the enemy.” And that’s the reason for his interdiction.
His fellow detainee, beaten and threatened to be held captive, was Vadim Aksyonov, a Russian-speaking Ukrainian cameraman working for Anna-news agency—it should be another enemy, I suppose.
In today’s Ukraine, a TV network can be singled out as an enemy of an army. And therefore, enemy of the country—Lyashko himself wrote on his facebook page that it’s because of propaganda and subversive activities of Russian journalists that there’s bloodshed in Ukraine.
So, not 20 years of corrupt politics, not Soros and his funding of Maidan revolution, not US and EU foreign entanglements, not the CIA, whose director J. Brennan arrived secretly in Kiev end of April, not US Deputy Defense Secretary D. Chollet, who openly said he was taking part in the development of military operation against the South-East, not Polish Secret Service… Russian journalists are guilty for the bloodshed in Ukraine.
You could immediately close the issue by answering that Lyashko is a lunatic who should be locked up in a room with padded walls, wearing a straitjacket, but the problem never was just one single person. In the Germany of the 30s, the problem was not a guy with a weird mustache, sputtering out chauvinistic words. The problem was there were millions of gullible Germans that gave him reason.
Recently, during a radio interview, I was asked an opinion about the work of the press in the Donbass. The first thing I felt like saying was that hundreds of journalists had flocked here in consequence of the downing of Malaysia Airlines aircraft, which filled the news for some days. After that, they all left. Because here there is nothing else to tell, right? Everyone is familiar with the anti-terrorist operation: a fistful of Russian-Chechen mercenaries backed by Putin carries out atrocities on the population meaning to destabilize the country, and the US Adm faces the crisis by imposing economic sanctions on Russia, in an attempt to avoid an escalation of the conflict.
This version, worthy of 2014 Joseph Goebbels Award for the Presstitute Whores, has filled the heads of millions of TV addicted zombies—those still believing the mainstream media to be engaged in providing information. Some of these guys, for some strange reason, occasionally write me on social media. For a moment they remain speechless when I say that there are neither terrorists nor Russian Army in the Donbass, that no one here thinks Russia is the enemy, and that Russian-speaking civilians get targeted by Ukrainian Army. A moment later, they find the words and return them to me under the form of insults and accusations of pro-Russian propaganda.
I have lived long enough to realize that most of the people prefer a reassuring lie to an uncomfortable truth that challenges their faith—whatever it is. People live cradled in their deceptive security. At least until a rather dramatic occurrence comes to mess up everything in their life.
Patrick and I were surprised in the street by shelling on Kramatorsk. We were in the right place at the right time to witness what was not relevant to Western and Ukrainian media—those regularly included in the Database of Accredited Journalists.
The democratic president Poroshenko was bombing the Russian-speaking Ukrainian citizens.
The following morning, after seeing the damage to the city center, Patrick sat beside me and said, “I didn’t believe it was true. Thought it was Russian propaganda. So many civilian homes destroyed!”
Which president would give the order to bomb the citizens of his own country, I wondered? The president of a country whose Prime Minister (Yatsenyuk) in a comment on the official webpage of Ukraine Embassy in the US, called the Russian-speaking Ukrainians with the Nazi word ‘sub-humans’—how proud should Pope Francis be for having him received at the Vatican on April 26! The president of a country where a journalist from the weekly Ukrainska Nedelya, Bogdan Butkevich, can state there are too many useless people in the Donbass, and that according to his calculations no less than 1,500,000 must be killed. In 2014, Ukraine is a country where a psycho who openly proposes mass murdering as a solution to political matters is paid to write on a magazine and speaks on TV.
Thumbs up for all those included in the Database of Accredited Journalists in Ukraine!