A letter to the people of Mariupol | Russia-Ukraine war

Expensive brothers and sisters,

I spent three and a half years of my life the place you are actually – utterly encircled by enemy troops bent on my folks’s wholesale destruction. I’m conversant in the anguish, frustration, concern, and desperation that you just should be feeling. However let me provide the excellent news first: You’ll prevail. There isn’t a doubt in my thoughts that Russian troops won’t ever conquer Mariupol.

For one factor, they don’t have the manpower to take action. It takes much more troops to occupy and management a metropolis of greater than 400,000. The Serb forces in Bosnia and Herzegovina laid siege to our capital of Sarajevo and shelled it for 3 and a half years, with out ever managing to enter. The Russian armed forces wouldn’t have the combating spirit and are nowhere close to the willpower of the defenders of Mariupol.

I’m no navy skilled or navy historian, however I preserve that the Ukrainian navy is one of the best combating organisation on the earth right now. The Russian navy is solely not prepared or able to paying the value to occupy your metropolis.

Let me additionally provide the unhealthy information: you’ll pay to your freedom together with your lives and the lives of your family members – your brothers, sisters, moms and dads. With each step, you’ll lose these you might not think about your lives with out. This isn’t only a battle between Russian invaders and Ukrainian defenders. That is an try at politicide. The Russian aim isn’t just to overcome Ukraine, however to wipe Ukraine, as a state, off the map, relegating your historical past, tradition, and folks to a footnote within the historical past books to be written by the long run likes of Ivan Ilyin and Aleksandr Dugin.

Now, let me inform you about what comes after. For you, it’s by no means going to be over. This battle has already hijacked your lives and one of the best you are able to do is embrace the destiny that has been thrust upon you. Historical past has been unusually merciless to you. On this battle, you’re combating not just for yourselves however for future generations which can be but to be born. It’s a crushing burden that you haven’t requested to bear. To make issues worse, you’re additionally combating this battle on behalf of an ungrateful continent that cares extra about warming up its properties with Russian fuel than saving your kids from bombs and hunger.

No matter you do, there may be one notion you must by no means entertain: laying down your arms. As we realized from the Serbs in Bosnia, the Russians can solely exterminate you – and so they definitely will – if you’re unarmed. Permitting yourselves to be disarmed is the quickest strategy to a mass grave.

Certainly, traditionally, the Russian navy is not any stranger to this principle – recall as an illustration the Katyn forest bloodbath of 1940. Your personal historical past can also be stuffed with examples of Russian brutality. The choice to combating off the current Russian invasion is one thing akin to Holodomor. You might be paying with 1000’s of lives to keep away from shedding tens of millions.

I do know that is troublesome to recollect as Russian artillery is raining down upon you. I do know it’s of little to no comfort to the various 1000’s of youngsters displaced in Ukraine or in refugee camps who will develop up with out their dad and mom. Having misplaced my very own father to the ravages of battle, I do know precisely the gaping gap within the coronary heart that this loss leads to. Nevertheless, I need to say that I’ve solely come to totally recognize my very own father’s sacrifice after witnessing the super bravery of Ukraine’s folks. I hope that this holds for you not less than some that means and tells you of the big inspiration that your brave combat has been to your complete world.

There are a lot of parallels to be drawn between our battle for Bosnia and your battle for Ukraine. Within the Nineteen Nineties, we too have been combating towards a bigger neighbour, dominated by a deranged autocrat who sought to rob us of our lives, freedom and id as a definite and sovereign folks. Nevertheless, the dissolution of Yugoslavia was of far much less consequence past the area than the combat for Ukraine. The destiny of the world is actually being selected the Ukrainian chernozem.

Sadly, the outdated adage that geography is future appears to be true. In that respect, the one factor worse than sharing a border with Serbia is sharing a border with Russia.

Lastly, it is advisable to know that we see you. You aren’t combating at nighttime. When that is over – and will probably be over, when the Russians have withdrawn in disgrace and defeat, I hope to come back to Mariupol to take heed to your tales, as a result of that’s all that you’ll be left with. When that is over, I hope to come back to a free Mariupol and a free Ukraine to pay homage to your sacrifice.

The views expressed on this article are the writer’s personal and don’t essentially mirror Al Jazeera’s editorial stance.

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