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"I've accepted my death:" NYT publishes an essay by Ukrainian author Artem Chekh

01.09.2022, 13:16
Photo: Artem Chekh's Facebook
Photo: Artem Chekh's Facebook

On August 30, American newspaper The New York Times posted an essay by Ukrainian writer and military serviceman Artem Chekh, titled "I'm a Ukrainian Soldier, and I've Accepted My Death," Suspilne reports.

The writer's wife, Ukrainian filmmaker Iryna Tsylyk, noted on her Facebook page: "Yesterday, Chekh's text was published in The New York Times. At first, I didn't even notice that there were comments under the post. But there are. Over three hundred reactions, mostly from real people, judging by the way they are written. Most of them are sincere, eloquent letters of support to the author and the Ukrainian military. […] Someone wrote that they ahd printed the essay out to give it to their grandchildren to read. There is a lot of admiration for Ukrainians and the Ukrainian military in general."

The publication cites several quotes from Artem Chekh's essay:

  • I used to think I had seen enough deaths in my life. I served on the front line in the Donbas for almost a year in 2015 and ’16, and I witnessed numerous tragedies. But in those days the scale of losses was completely different, at least where I was. Each death was carefully fixed, investigations were conducted, we knew most of the names of the killed soldiers, and their portraits were published on social networks.
  • I forbade myself to believe that I and the people I love or like will survive. It is hard to exist in this state, yet accepting the possibility of one’s own death is necessary for every soldier.
  • There is sadness, of course: More than anything in the world, I just want to be with my wife, who is still in Kyiv with my son. I want to live with them, not die somewhere on the front line. But I have accepted the possibility of my death as an almost accomplished fact. Crossing this Rubicon has calmed me down, made me braver, stronger, more balanced. So it must be for those who consciously tread the path of war.
  • How to prepare yourself for the thought that the mother of two children who hid in a basement for a month slowly died before their eyes? How to accept the death of a 6-year-old girl who died of dehydration under the ruins of her house? How should we react to the fact that some people in the country, as in occupied Mariupol, are forced to eat pigeons and drink water from puddles at the risk of catching cholera?

You can read the full essay here.

Artem Cheh is a Ukrainian writer. Some of his works have been translated into German, English, Polish, Czech, and russian. The core traits of his works include surrealism, grotesque, philosophy, literary experiments, and autobiographical elements.

His most famous books are "Who Are You?" (for which the writer received the BBC Book of the Year 2021 award), "On the Great Land," "Absolute Zero."

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