Diary from Kyiv: When I wake, I ask my family, ‘Are you alive?’
These days, there is no place for ‘How are you?’ or ‘I’m doing OK’.
Zakhida Adylova, 35, is a language teacher and producer for a political talk show who lives in the Ukrainian capital Kyiv.
She is a Crimean Tatar, a Muslim ethnic minority that was forcibly deported from their homeland, the Crimean Peninsula, to Uzbekistan in 1944 under orders from Joseph Stalin. In 1993, Zakhida returned from exile with her family to Crimea, Ukraine. Then in 2014, she and her daughter were forced to leave their home in Crimea for Kyiv after Russia annexed the peninsula. Zakhida’s mother joined them a year later. Today, the three are again facing a Russian invasion, sheltering in the bathroom and corridor of their apartment. Zakhida has kept a diary since the war began. This is her account from today.
Day 7: March 2, 2022 – ‘Please don’t ask me how I am’
9am-11am: I continue to talk about the war in Ukraine and the reality of the current situation through interviews with international media. Today, I spoke to the Australian Broadcasting Corporation and then to the Swedish radio station P3 Nyheter.
They all ask me the same questions. They ask me what I’m feeling and how I am.
These questions puzzle me a lot. How do you think a person feels in such circumstances?
Guys, the basic truth is that we are not safe. There is no place for “How are you?” or “What’s up?” or “OK” or “fine”.
When I wake up each morning, the first question I ask my 11-year-old daughter Samira and my 75-year-old mother, Abibe, is, ” Are you alive?” When I hear them respond I can exhale. A sigh of relief.
Asking those of us in Ukraine how we are doesn’t reflect our worries as much as maybe the question of whether we still exist.
So don’t ask these questions. We have stopped doing that. These days, we greet each other by saying: “Glory to Ukraine.”
12pm: I get angry hearing about innocent Ukrainian citizens dying (yesterday Russians fired rockets at Kyiv’s main television tower, killing at least five civilians), babies being born in bomb shelters, and elderly people not being able to access medical care. And I also get angry seeing pets with collars who have been separated from their owners roam the streets as stray animals in search of food.
13.53pm: In my interviews, I have appealed to the international hacker collective Anonymous (the group declared cyberwar on Russia on February 24) to hack Russian state television channels and show images of the invasion.
These guys are excellent. Thank you, Anonymous, for standing with Ukraine.
Victory is in unity. I celebrate this solidarity today with my mom’s tasty homemade fried rolls.