17. May 2022
At 8:30 a.m. my doorbell rang. Clearly too early for the post, who could it be? It’s a neighbor from the fourth – with two big sacks. “Before we take them to Oxfam, we’d rather ask you and donate to the Ukrainian refugees. My wife and I thought they could really use the children’s clothes,” he says. I don’t have an answer, but I’ll take it for now.
My room already looks like a warehouse, next to the six guitars, 2000 CDs and 800 records there are just two power generators and a box with the tablets for the Ukrainian territorial defense. At the beginning of March, my old buddy Artem, with whom I studied foreign languages at Kharkiv University in the 90s and listened to Frank Zappa in the evenings, asked me if I could imagine being part of his logistics chain. I said yes immediately. Artem has been volunteering for the Ukrainian army for eight years, he now has many contacts and knows what is needed where.
Many of his friends and colleagues, whom he met first in radio (where we both worked) and then in the Kharkiv office of Austrian Airlines, would like to support Ukraine with their donations and Artem knows where their money could be spent most effectively. Artem’s friends order in Europe and have the stuff delivered to my address in Berlin.
I often don’t know what I’m getting today, who ordered it, who I should send what to, but then Artem calls and everything is quickly clarified. First-aid kits for Kharkiv, 20 tablets with memory cards and protective covers for Berdyansk, a laptop for Sumy. On Sundays, my job is to hand the whole thing over to a Ukrainian driver who commutes between Germany and Ukraine.
Marcus often helps me with this, he also knows Artem – five years ago we were together in eastern Ukraine – I played concerts with Serhij Zhadan and his band, Marcus filmed us for his Donbass road movie, which has not yet been published. Before we went to Mariupol back in August, Marcus and I stayed at Artem’s in Kharkiv.
On Sundays we drive the things in Marcus’ car to the meeting point in Neukölln, where the young driver from Lviv is waiting, who is always smiling but not that talkative. “This is for Artem,” I say, “Glory to Ukraine!” “Glory to the heroes,” he replies, “yes, I know.”
Today I’m DJing at the opening of the Neisse Film Festival. The regional train takes me slowly but surely to Zittau. On the way I’m afraid I’ve missed my stop when I get an SMS with information about data roaming in Poland. The passenger across from me keeps calm and reads a newspaper whose front page reports on the trial of the 21-year-old Russian soldier in Kyiv. He shot a Ukrainian civilian in the head and is now facing charges.
The festival takes place in the border triangle of the Czech Republic, Poland and Germany. The mix of languages among the guests in the foyer of the Gerhart Hauptmann Theater is colorful but sounds very harmonious. A Ukrainian-Turkish film will be shown at the festival opening. I wanted to see Klondike at the Berlinale, but wasn’t there. Here I finally look at him. It is the story of a couple living in Donbass at the beginning of the war. The woman is heavily pregnant, the man is constantly arguing with her brother, her house is hit by a rocket, a wall is completely destroyed, it’s almost too late to flee, isn’t it?
Maryna Er Gorbach’s film is powerful and brutal. he hurts If you’re looking for distraction, he’s exactly the opposite of that. Nobody wants to dance after the performance. But it’s still a beautiful evening – as beautiful as it can be right now. An evening on which everyone present is happy about the festival, but at the same time feels that the war is not that far away and really affects everyone of us.
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