WAR – What is it Good For?


WAR – What is it Good For?

Anthony Davies

Opening: November 8 5:30 pm

Viewing: November 8 until November 18

More than a year on, and words and statistics start to feel meaningless in the attempt to quantify the impact of this war.

When hundreds of thousands have died, when millions of lives have been torpedoed off course, what difference does an updated figure of loss from the United Nations make?

This war has already redefined generations to come, not just in Ukraine, but across the world.

On February 24, 2022, Ukrainians woke to missiles firing through the sky and without knowing how long this hell would last, they made a choice.

There were The Safety Seekers; mothers and children who raced across the border. But their freedom looks like a fresh start without their husbands and fathers. Freedom looks like searching for somewhere to stay in a foreign country, with little money, little shared language, and little more than sympathetic looks from strangers. Freedom looks like watching the rest of the world get on with their lives while you receive news your home no longer has all four walls. Freedom looks like overhearing your new neighbours fiercely debating whether their government can afford to keep funding aid for your country, while you receive news your school friend, your daughter’s teacher, your old mechanic, or, your husband, has been killed in the latest strike.

There were The Fighters; the men and women who went to defend their flag on the frontline. Some remain, sending defiant notes to their families, others no longer send notes. A picture of their face quietly added to the memorial wall in Kyiv.

Then, there were The Stayers; those who had nowhere to run, or didn’t want to. Those who have endured the daily bombings, who have had to live without electricity and clean water for months, who can’t remember a time when air raid sirens didn’t invade their sleep. Those who lived, or still live, under Russian occupation, hiding underground for weeks without food, with only stray cats to keep them company. Those who came face to face with Putin’s men, who were tortured mercilessly, but refused to trade loyalty for life. Those who are now living in liberated towns, dodging landmines and boobytraps as they search for some semblance of normality. Those who stand vigil as the mass graves are exhumed, and collapse with grief when the body of their missing family member is pulled from the dirt.

On February 24, 2022, Ukrainians made a choice, but there was no good one, and no one has escaped unscathed.

The war is rapidly becoming an arms race – with Ukraine fully reliant on continued support from the West and Russia desperately searching for an ally to help bolster its dwindling stockpiles as well. Undisputedly, the Ukrainian army has fought this war more successfully than anyone ever expected. They are clawing back the land they have lost and the Russians no longer have full control of any of the four regions they claim to have annexed. The Kremlin is under pressure, the Russian army is lacking ammunition and lacking men, but the fight on the frontline is still fierce and unrelenting and it is clear no matter how this ends, there are no winners in war.

Essay: WAR – What is it Good For?, 2023 Lisette Reymer, Newshub European Correspondent

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