Front? Are you sure?

The word “front” in the dictionary of the Ukrainian language has got nine meanings. That is incredibly a lot, since when I normally work with texts and check specific words, they have several lexical meanings. After February 24 our life in Ukraine was split into two intervals — “before” and “after”. “Before” — standing for the period when human life seemed to be the highest value; when people thought that no one could be killed because of the national position in Ukraine; when shelling of civilians from all types of weaponry was tabooed by the global “never again” order.

All work within the country after the missile strikes of Ukrainian cities were launched and after the preparatory “before” period was over became our front.

Information front.

Cultural front.

Diplomatic front.

Educational front.

Economic front.

Work front.


Now any field of activity in Ukraine is working to satisfy the needs of the war, in order to accelerate victory. That is why we have the front everywhere. But when your friends go to the Armed Forces of Ukraine and move to the frontline, fight there, perform their combat tasks going to the enemy’s rear, get injured and perish… the use of this word as regards to other work areas seems to be a bit irrelevant.

You can drink coffee in the morning, read a morning report for the European community, answer the messages sent by your close people, fall asleep in your bed or even in the corridor on one front. While on the other front you can feel weather changing within each degree Celsius, wake up in a trench, drink coffee with your comrades, clean your weapons, see the enemy through your thermal imaging device.

Can one feel the war watching the video from the place of bombardment? Certainly, partially yes. Can one imagine what children feel while rushing to the bomb shelters during the air alert? Probably, no. Can one use the word front as the one embracing the life of the whole country in wartime? Probably, now already yes. Since one can hardly find any place in Ukraine not damaged by Russian missiles, bombs, or Iranian drones. And when you fall asleep in your bed, in the centre of a European capital, you cannot be sure that this night the great war will not reach what is still there from your “before” life with its merciless bony fingers. Reach life itself, to be more specific.

Front? Are you sure?-1

Author: Svitlana Stretovych, Ukrainian essayist, program director of Litosvita

Translator: Halyna Pekhnyk

Illustrator: Victoria Boyko

Content Editor: Maryna Korchaka

Program Directors: Julia Ovcharenko and Demyan Om Dyakiv Slavitski