Ukrainians in North America launch campaign to commemorate Mariupol theater bombing

March 8,2024 1600
Ukrainians in North America launch campaign to commemorate Mariupol theater bombing

Ukrainians in the United States and Canada announced an international awareness campaign today, to mark the second anniversary of the Russian airstrike on the Mariupol Drama Theatre on March 16. Inspired by a mournful song written in reaction to the war crime, an ad hoc group of activists is enlisting the support of Ukrainian organizations, churches and schools to organize an international awareness campaign for Saturday, March 16, 2024.

During the siege of Mariupol at the onset of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the drama theater doubled as a bomb shelter and humanitarian aid distribution center and provided  refuge to more than a 1,000 civilians. In a bid to keep them safe, the word “KIDS” was written in enormous block letters in front of the theater. Russia bombed it anyway. 

The awareness campaign consists of:

  • A call to join an international flash mob on Saturday, March 16, Ukrainian schools, centers, and communities worldwide are encouraged to disseminate the words ДЕ ТИ?, ДІТИ, KIDS, ДЕТИ in public places, on social media, and during mass events
  • Premiere of a music video of Leo Wolansky’s English and Ukrainian language song: “ДЕ ТИ: Where are you?” produced with the participation of Babylon’13 and Dudaryk Choir.
  • Background information for school lessons explaining how “KIDS” are the key to understanding the crime of genocide currently underway, and the international arrest warrant issued for Russia’s maniacal dictator.
  • Website providing information on verified charities that are working to return Ukrainian children from Russia and help the child victims of war heal physically and psychologically, in Ukraine, the USA and Canada.

Campaign organizers suggest recreating one or more of the following words: the Ukrainian word “Діти”, the Russian “Дети” (original inscription in front of the drama theater), “Kids” in English, as well as the question “Де ти?” (“Where are you”) in different languages, symbolizing the lost lives of children, and asking the world: “Where are you?” as Russia’s genocidal war on conquest continues in the third year since the full scale invasion.

For example, temporary graffiti can be applied with chalk, paint, or simply shared on social media using specially created banners. Other local activities are open to the imagination: flash mobs, signs, posters. The campaign will take place during the so-called presidential “elections” in Russia, providing another reason to draw the world’s attention to the war crimes of the occupiers. Additionally, the campaign is scheduled after the Oscar ceremony, where the Ukrainian “20 Days in Mariupol” documentary is nominated, serving as a reminder to the world of the cruelty of the Russians.

The international awareness campaign is supported by Yuri Lypa Ukrainian Heritage Academy (Toronto), Ridna Shkola at St. George’s Parish (Edmonton), Kursy Ukrayinoznavstva (Edmonton), Ukrainian Catholic Eparchy of Toronto and Eastern Canada, Dnipro Oshawa Fund, The Koulik family, League of Ukrainian Canadian Women, Ucrainica Research Institute, ForumTV (Toronto), Babylon’13, Lviv State Academic male choir “Dudaryk”.