There are No Winners in War

A while back, I came across this performance from the TV Show, Ukraine’s Got Talent. It is a simply stunning interpretation of the horrors of war featuring the sand art of Kseniya Simonova. You can see from the reaction of her audience that the performance evoked quite an emotional response. This is because the images, the music and the performance combine to deliver a very powerful message indeed.

Even without any knowledge of the language, we can see the story contrasts peaceful scenes against wartime events. At the end, when the artist adds the date, 1945, we can clearly see the performance is all about the second world war (known as The Great Patriotic War in the USSR) in which, according to Wikipedia, 23.4 million people died including both military and civilian deaths, in the lands of the former Soviet Union alone.

The soundtrack includes the music of Cirque Du Soleil – Jeux d’eau (Circus Of the Sun – Water Games), Harmageddon, by Apocalyptica and Auschwitz Birkenau from the Schindler’s List Soundtrack. In addition, it includes the following radio announcement. The announcer is Yuri Levitan (Юрий Левитан).

Attention! This is Moscow speaking. Citizens of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics: today, on the 22nd of June, at 4am, without the declaration of war, German forces invaded our country. They ambushed our border in many areas and bombed our cities: Zhitomir, Kiev, Sevastopol …

Right at the end, a woman looks out of her window to see the image of the father of her baby within the baby’s reflection. The sailor waving at them is now a memory. This can be inferred not only from the fact that the baby is dressed in the same sailor’s uniform, but also as she finishes by writing: “You are always near”.

It is an extraordinary performance to which nothing needs to be added. As with all great art, it interprets itself. There are no winners in war, only losers.

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