Donbass – My Love, Donbass – My Pain

Last night, when I was once again walking through the dank autumn city, I met a snail. It was crawling along the side of the road on some errand of its own. Probably, this would not be surprising if it were not for one “but”: yesterday was October 30th. And the fact is that it rained in the morning, and the ground has not yet had time to dry. Rain. For the first time in the whole summer and the last part of autumn. The first long-awaited, warm rain.

Why am I saying all this? Because of the fact that not only people suffer from war, but also the entire ecosystem (Aha, I know such clever words). I remember that strange and frightening orange sand snow that I saw for the first time in my life the winter before last. Or rivers that have dried up this summer. After all, I watched with such interest how ducks and grass snakes used to swim along the Olkhovka River, and frogs hid in the mud, reminding me of themselves only with a loud croak. There is nothing to say about fish. But this summer, I don’t even remember hearing many frog weddings at night, which sometimes make it impossible to sleep. Or the blazing Donbass in early autumn, when strong winds and dried grass caused fires to spread like lightning. A fire that mercilessly destroys everything in its path and leaves only a scorched dead earth.

But if the wounded people are remembered, who remembers the animals and plants that died in the fire? And so what that the burned trees were not something rare in the scale of the planet? They were vital to my Motherland with its unbearably hot arid climate. There are almost no forests left, because they are mercilessly cut down, without thinking about the future at all, and fires “help” turn my beloved Donbass into a lifeless desert. And all sorts of rodents, hares or snakes in the steppes? What should they do? Where can they escape from the flames that surround them on all sides? They are not salamanders or phoenixes, they are simple inhabitants of the steppes, and fire, like man, does not spare anyone or anything.

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Most of all, I am afraid that a huge endless desert will appear in place of the formerly flourishing Donbass. Why not? There is enough sand, as they say – the city is being swept by them and Lugansk is not alone in this. The temperature in early November, according to the weather forecast, will be about +15C. Somewhere in the autumn they wear coats and hats? I’m afraid this isn’t about our city. And it’s very sad.

The war-torn Donbass is not only about people, it is about our planet itself, even if it is a tiny part of it. Will we be able to protect it? And how long will the echo of war haunt us? I’m not just talking about unexploded projectiles that maim people, but also the impact on nature. We have lost too much to be indifferent. Whether humanity can come to its senses and stop evil is a question I can’t answer. So for now, I just adjust my hood and follow the snail crawling next to me, still hoping for a miracle. Although each time it becomes harder to do it.

Faina Savenkova

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