Since Russia began its military offensive against its neighboring country Ukraine, we have witnessed the painful and uncertain moments Ukrainians are living.
Without imagining the suffering they are going through while they wait for their homes to be bombed, lose their lives or have a family member be killed by a bullet.
Within this scenario of terror, hundreds of demonstrations are taking place in other countries, where thousands of people have taken the streets to demand a ceasefire. Many protesters, who do not have any connection with the children, mothers, men or anybody who decided to defend their territory with a weapon in hand in Ukraine, have decided to raise their voice for them.
This voice, the shouts, the silence, the crying and the solidarity are embedded in their banners, flags and speeches that showcase messages such as ‘Stop The War,’ ‘Save Ukrainian Children,’ and ‘Ukraine Matters.’
Aside from physical protest and demonstrations, Dinara Khairova, a professional photographer originally from Russia, who currently resides in New York has decided to use her voice and resources to support the Ukraine people in a very peculiar way.
It started with Khairova covering the protests against the invasion around New York City, and with her camera compiled messages and slogans to send to Ukrainians to let them know they are not alone.
Khairova titled this special project, Letters to Ukraine, where she requests through social networks people to join her and send a message of love, peace and solidarity.
1. First of all, thank you Dinara for sharing with our readers this valuable project that you are carrying out, just in difficult times that the Ukrainian people are going through. Why are you creating Letters to Ukraine?
Dinara. Of course, I would like to tell why and for whom it was created, why I encourage you to join the project. Since February 24th, 2022 the Russian army has occupied and destroyed the territory of Ukraine. Many civilians suffered in this war. My heart is torn apart when I see what is happening, and how it is presented in Russia by propaganda. How the facts are distorted and how the truth is hidden.
2. What is your position on this war that the Ukrainians are experiencing and what is the purpose of your project?
Dinara. I am unable to influence the decisions of the Russian government, but I am able to give my support to those who stayed in Ukraine, who sits in shelters in anticipation of the unknown future, who heroically defends his homeland from the aggressor, who lost their home, their loved ones, and who is forced to become a refugee. My project is for these people.
Dinara continues to explain the single event that inspired to kickoff this project,
“One day, right after the rally, I called my relatives in Ukraine. A woman from Odessa unexpectedly joined our conversation, and the guys together joyfully remembered some places, events, memorable to their hearts. I finally saw a smile on the face of my buddy. That moment I realized why we take posters and go out into the street shouting ‘No war’.”-Dinara Khairova, Photographer and Producer of Letters to Ukraine
“Not for ourselves, otherwise for those who are there, at war and all the words of support are needed now by those who are in Ukraine right now.” Khairova said.
3. As a professional photographer you capture great moments in images, do you think that with the protestor’s voices and their messages of encouragement a feeling of support is achieved?
Dinara. Yes, I realized that these voices of people from the rallies can be recorded, and then sent in messages to those to whom it is important to see and listen via my YouTube channel. I edit these videos of the demonstrations and compose original soundtracks to help facilitate the propagation to their loved ones. It has worked and is resonating with the Ukrainian people.
Here is the first chapter of Letter to Ukraine. Watch the full video below or click here.
Here is a translation of Chapter 1 of Letters to Ukraine:
“To our brothers and sisters who are now in Ukraine. We are gathered here today to support all of you there. Young boys on the front line, girls who protect our entire country. We will support you at any moment, we will defend our country as much as we can. Ukraine will grow and prosper. I am sure of this” said a protester.
“Hang on guys, we are with you. I am Ukrainian from Kiev, I have friends in Odessa, in Kiev, some of them flee the Sumy. Hold on please, take care of yourself. Women and children, hide. We will do anything we can. The rally gathered here. Every weekend, every day on Times Square. Every weekday people protest near the Russian embassy. We are with you!” Thanks to everyone for your words of support to Ukraine” said a protester.
4. It’s very heroic you’re helping and providing psychological support to Ukrainians. Who can join your project?
Dinara. I ask anyone to join Letters to Ukraine. It doesn’t matter what language you speak. If you don’t want to talk, you can dance, sing, play an instrument, do whatever you can to show your support to Ukrainians. If you live in New York please contact me on my Instagram. I will come and record your appeal. If you live in another city or country, I can also help you with the recording.
Dinara encourages support around the world,
“You can’t even imagine how much your words mean for people in Ukraine.”-Dinara Khairova, Photographer and Producer of Letters to Ukraine
Khairova concludes, “I am very grateful to those who have already responded to all those who accept my invitation and send their letters to Ukraine. I am sure that only together we can stop this war.”