The Unpublished Answers

Only in the movies you can beautifully love your offender.


Let me show you the meaning of ‘running in place.’

I wrote the interview ‘Liberating People, Not Territories’ for Freedom Press in just one evening. In the process, I stopped to dance three times, pleased with how the text was turning out. But the interview ‘These Are Truly Dangerous People’ for the Left Berlin took me 9 days. 9 damn days!

Despite the challenging process of writing the interview, I still consider it a logical continuation of the one for Freedom Press.

What took me the most time was one, seemingly simple, question. It went like this:

If you could return to Ukraine without consequence, would you?

And here are the multiple answers. The point is that these answers are different, but each of them is truthful. That’s why I want to share them with you.

Answer 1: If I can believe that I am more than my nationality. If I persuade my readers that culture knows no boundaries. Then one can conclude that home for me doesn’t end with Ukrainian borders. Moreover, my home doesn’t even begin there.

Answer 2: Last month, when I was watching Ukrainian news, they were discussing the opportunity to put guys in prison up to 8 years who did not return from Europe to go to war. Do I need to comment on this?

Answer 3: The last time I watched Ukrainian news, they discussed the fact that Ukrainian citizens abroad who publicly speak or write something different from the official narrative about Ukraine will be imprisoned for a term of 10 years to life.

Ukraine is a threat to my life. I have no sentimental feelings towards someone who bullies me. Anyway, it doesn’t sound like I could return to Ukraine without consequence. Even my literary imagination is not able to answer the question posed in the interview directly.

I’ve provided abbreviated versions of the answers. In reality, there were many more of them. And it was like this for every question.

That’s why I called it a practice in ‘running on the spot’. If you’ve ever been in a car stuck in the mud, wheels spinning hopelessly, you know the feeling.

It shows that even if your contribution against war seems trivial, it’s still worth making. As you can see, the interview is ready. It’s published. An elegant interview about inelegant matters. Similarly, your victory may be not something astonishing, but it will be an inevitable continuation of the previous step.

Here you can read the interview and find out how exactly I answered that not so simple question – “These are truly dangerous people”.

This piece is a part of  a series, The Mining Boy Notes, published on Mondays and authored by Ilya Kharkow, a writer from Ukraine. For more information about Ilya, see his website. You can support his work by buying him a coffee.