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A True Cultural War is Happening in Ukraine

By: Grace Liu

In front of a thousand-year-old cathedral, Saint Sophia, stands a newly painted painting. It is just a foot square and is painted on oak planks with no jewels, gems, or anything fancy. This new icon represents a culture that will not give up.

Why should you care about a painting when missiles soar above your head? Because this war is a war about cultural identity. According to Jason Farago from The New York Times, “With Russia actively trying to erase Ukraine’s national identity, this country’s music, literature, movies and monuments are not recreations. They are battlefields.”

Recently, in large cities like Kiev, which was formerly named "The Pandemic's Party Capital" in a New York Times magazine just before the war, danger now rules the streets. The Russians once blew up a venue next to where a pop concert was taking place, and the explosion killed dozens. However, Russia withdrew from that area in April, and the cultural life and nightclubs have partially resumed.

The country’s growth in nightclubs and performances didn’t seem that big of a deal at first, but now amidst a war, these performers and youth show unbelievable bravery. It seems that truth and justice, which has been violated in Ukraine, seems to reveal itself in artwork, so that is what gives many citizens the hope that they will win this war.

On a dance floor at a nightclub named “Closer,” which helped make Kyiv a nightlife capital, no one seemed to be holding back. At 100 beats of music each minute, the youth of Kyiv were nowhere near surrender.

“We have to do this,” Serhiy Leshchenko, an investigator journalist shouted over the beat of the DJ. “War isn’t about death; war is about life.” The young Ukrainians dressed in black danced slowly to the music. In danger, the young Ukrainian fighting spirit has only grown.

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