In the overall picture of what is happening in eastern Ukraine, maybe the seizure of IZOLYATSIA cultural platform seems a lesser tragedy. It is not a hospital, an army base, a school. There has been no really major damage to property, so far. No one has died.
Instead the casualties are curiosity, creativity, free expression, open-mindedness, debate. A platform for different opinions. The possibility of dialogue.
And without dialogue, how can a war ever end?
My article on the seizure of the IZOLYATSIA Platform for Cultural Initiatives by the Donetsk People’s Republic here.
As I talked to the those men in the DPR militias back in May, or to angry and disappointed women outside the occupied Donetsk regional administration building, I wondered what they would make of IZOLYATSIA.
Would they consider the art works there a stupid waste of money, or, worse, some kind of decadent Western threat to their Soviet and Russian-oriented world view? I invited one retired Russian teacher to come to the IZOLYATSIA literature festival, as she lamented the loss of Russian culture represented by Tolstoy and Chekhov in a wave of aggressive patriotism and chauvinism.
I thought then about the role of art in revolution and in war. How important it is, and how fragile.