BY IRYNA BABENKO
WE ASKED YOU IN MAG01 TO SHARE WITH US YOUR DESKTOP WALLPAPER IMAGE AND THE STORY BEHIND IT. WE RECEIVED THIS FROM IRYNA BABENKO, A DEEPLY MOVING PHOTOGRAPH, STORY, AND MEMORY.
"I took this picture during a theatrical performance called «ДПЮ». ДПЮ is a Ukrainian abbreviation for pre-conscription training. When I was at school it was taught to boys aged 14-16, while girls including me had tactical medicine training instead. This performance included professional actors who were accompanied by two soldiers fresh from the front, one of them a DJ before the war. They told horrible stories about things that happen on a daily basis in Donbas (region where Donetsk and Luhansk are located): how squads are given two-and-a-half rifles (okay, three but one of them was not working) and have no other equipment to complete their mission. How they have to get their guns in battle. How one of them (military nickname: Glum) had to steal a helmet from a dead enemy soldier to cover his head and how later he was taken captive by his own side and mistaken for an enemy soldier. Professional actors supported these two injured souls and directed the flow of the performance. It was heartbreaking, but people needed to hear these stories. Two questions were asked: what is patriotism and when will this war end. There were no answers. The actress in this shot climbed a school desk to tell a poem by Robert Rozhdestvensky called 'Ballad of a Small Man'. I had a camera with an expired film roll in it and this was the result I got."