The 9 year Race War against Donbass rebels / The Banda Bassotti Caravan

note: We don’t support the repressive Russian State, yet we warmly support the bravery, culture and love of the ethnic Russian rebels still besieged in Donbass.

from thefreeonline on April 14, 2023 by Julio Zamarron at El Salto Diario translation thefreeonline

En Castellano Aquí

Woman walks past a hotel inhabited by civilians and attacked with HIMARS projectiles by the Ukrainian army……….Mujer pasea ante hotel habitado por civiles y atacado con proyectiles HIMARS por el ejército ucraniano. Julio Zamarrón

Human rights violations by the Russian army grab the headlines, but there are other perspectives on this conflict.

The Banda Bassotti Caravan visited the Ukrainian Donbass for yet another year (and there are now eight) to document the other side of the war: the suffering of the civilian population after nine years of war against Kiev.

Besieged Donbass: The other side of the Ukraine war

The Antifascist Caravan of Banda Bassotti, a historic Italian music band, was born in 2014 with the aim of denouncing the situation of the population of the Ukrainian Donbass after the Maidan coup, which plunged the region into a conflict, apparently territorial, but with enormous geopolitical implications.

At that time, a long war was beginning in the eastern region of Ukraine whose humanitarian and political consequences have multiplied in the last year with the escalation of the conflict until it became the “proxy war” that it always was.

During the first years of the conflict, given the lack of humanitarian corridors and international attention, the region sustained itself thanks, above all, to community networks and the structures of the popular militias themselves, many of which have now disappeared.

Since then, the Donetsk and Lugansk regions have endured more than nine years of poverty, the destruction of their main infrastructures and the deprivation of access to essential resources and services, such as the payment of pensions, nursery schools or public health.

Nine years of exile and death, of silence, of absences.

Only the international solidarity of some —very few— projects like the one illustrated in these photos has served to transfer the seriousness of their situation beyond their borders.

German observer plays with one of the children at the Sakhtayorsk Children’s Home…………Observador alemán juega con uno de los niños en el Hogar de los niños de Sakhtayorsk. Julio Zamarrón

Today, the situation is different from nine years ago, when this Caravan started, and Donbass is now – at least in theory – a place that the media and analysts around the world look to, even despite the bias in all the informations.

The reconstruction of the territory and its management no longer falls to local militia (and military) structures, but to the hands of the Russian Federation. Political and identity positions have also been transformed.

But, beyond the headlines, the population of the Donbass continues to be the victim of a long war, already endemic, and the region continues to live under the Ukrainian military siege, with no guarantee of reparation for the suffering of recent years.

For this Caravan of activists, musicians and journalists, not counting this other side of the war, that of the civilian population of Donbass, this conflict cannot be understood or contextualized in its complexity.

For those who make up this project in one way or another, the responsibility for starting this war falls mainly on the geostrategic interests of the NATO countries, whose expansionist desire has plunged the region into a situation of instability and dependency where human rights, Despite being used as an excuse, they are the least of it.

Almost nine years after the first humanitarian caravan, this time it is made up of barely two dozen people: workers, journalists or political and social activists who come from Italy, Russia, Germany, Mexico, Turkey, Portugal or Spain.

David Caccione has been the most visible head since 2014, when the humanitarian aid and counter-information project began at the hands of the Banda Bassotti group.

Access to Donbass was never easy. But sanctions and restrictions have made the journey longer and more complicated due to the inability to fly to Russia.

It takes several days to get from various European cities in a concatenation of connections to reach the territories of Donbass, and something else to the front lines of the conflict.

Surveillance of bombed hotel where civilians resided. First front lines near the Dnieper river………Vigilancia sobre hotel bombardeado donde residian civiles. Primeras lineas del frente cerca de la río Dnieper. Julio Zamarrón

The violation of human rights in the region has hardly been reported until the escalation at the beginning of 2022.

On its way through the city of Lugansk, the Caravan was able to talk with the human rights defender Victoria Alexandrova, who affirmed that “the Ukrainian troops have committed war crimes, attacking civilian positions and leaving more than 900 dead, including 30 children in the month of January alone.”

In turn, she Alexandrova remarked that “all these acts have been documented and made available to the United Nations through an extensive report and that they have only received silence as a response from said institution.”

The Caravan and the journalists who accompanied them were able to verify, record and photograph the attack on civilian targets – hospitals, orphanages, hotels, homes, town halls or theaters – by the Ukrainian army.

“Mine danger” signs in Donetsk city center parks tell us about the use of “petal mines” in one of the most heavily mined regions in the world. these small explosives, the use of which is prohibited, are randomly thrown from long distances and are difficult to identify.

This type of mining has devastating consequences for the civilian population, especially for children, who may mistake them for small toys.

.Children with special needs in one of the orphanages visited in the Donbass. Julio Zamarron…. Niños con necesidades especiales en uno de los orfanatos visitados en el Donbass. Julio Zamarrón

Orphanages: the silence of those who grew up in war

The Caravan visited several orphanages to deliver humanitarian aid and school supplies. From its first stop at the Stakhanov orphanage No. 2, passing through La bell de Gorlovka, whose children have had to be relocated due to their proximity to the front, ending at the Sakhtyorsk Children’s Home.

Although the war is in its bloodiest process, the conditions of these institutions have improved considerably.

The Sakhtyorsk orphanage is the clearest example. In previous visits, we found hundreds of children with special needs in the care of very few caregivers with hardly any resources or medicines. On that occasion, there was a room where we were forbidden to take pictures.

In it, several children who were no more than five years old screamed and cried continuously as a result of the lack of painkillers and care. It was shocking to meet familiar faces and see that the plight of the situation had partly improved, with greater accessibility to resources and medicines.

see also. Apr 6, 2023.. Donbass republic abolishes death penalty, despite being besieged in war of extermination

The caravan has always left the same statement in all the orphanages: “Our NATO governments and the European Union bring bombs with our money. We bring medicines and toys. We don’t want our tax dollars to bring bombs to kill people here.”

War escalation: and you more.

With the escalation of the war and the introduction of new, more powerful and far-reaching weapons, not only the number of daily deaths or attacks on strategic military structures are affected.

This group of observers was able to gather how they are used systematically to attack civilian targets. The best example is Alchevsk, in the Lugansk region, attacked with the latest generation of Himars (High Mobility Artillery Rocket System). In this town, the hotel and two student residences were hit, killing several of them and several civilians in an area already far removed from the front.

Mariupol: the war live.

The sight of the total devastation came as the convoy passed through Mariupol. A scenario where there was hardly a building left standing, the train station next to the sea completely destroyed, and remains of shrapnel or explosives in any corner.

Ruinas en el centro de Mariupol. Julio Zamarrón

The city that was the headquarters of the neo-Nazi Azov battalion – which used the city’s metallurgical complex as a base – became an example of the destructive effects of the war on both sides.

The Russian Federation has found in the region the showcase to show its reconstruction policies. Months ago, under his auspices, the construction of completely new neighborhoods began. Some of them are already finished and are beginning to be inhabited.

Zaporizhia: nuclear front.

The last point of the trip has been the most critical, the Zaporizhia Nuclear Power Plant.

The caravan was able to verify how the installation is attacked from Ukrainian positions. The Caravan denounces bombardments and the regrouping of Ukrainian troops around this area in recent days and highlights “the danger of a projectile hitting the wrong place.”

It should not be forgotten, they recall, “that the plant has been under Russian control since the start of the war and is the largest in Europe.”

Faced with the logic of “double standards”

There are probably those who find in these photos and this report an exercise in propaganda or whitewashing positions critical of NATO or directly favorable to Russia.

The objective of this Caravan, even in the most intense years of silencing the conflict —2018-2019, with the failures in Minsk— has always been to denounce the humanitarian consequences of NATO’s military expansionism and to provide humanitarian aid —toys, medicines, money — to social structures of a region that never obtained the solidarity or explicit support that other regions of the country have today.

Woman crying over her husband’s grave. Some international volunteers who fought on the Donbass side are buried in the cemetery Julio Zamarrón

War escalation: and what about YOU.

The Caravana intends to denounce the “double standards” by which initiatives like this one are criminalized, while the far-right paramilitias operating in the region are branded as “heroes” or “volunteers”.

It also intends to make visible how the silencing of positions, like yours, feeds the logic of war.

With this Caravan, the promoters intend to point out the consequences in generations of childhood that has grown in the heat of the bombs and narratives that point to them as enemies because of the language they speak or their ethnic origin.

“We have also wanted to point out —say the organizers— the result of the entrenchment of the conflict, and unfortunately, time has proved us right.

And of course, we also want to show the importance of contributing other approaches, which in the midst of the propaganda battle, also have the right to be heard. After all, when no one was there, we were already there”.


Original En Castellano Aquí


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Author: thefreeonline

The Free is a book and a blog. Download free E/book ...”the most detailed fictional treatment of the movement from a world recognizably like our own to an anarchist society that I have read...

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