Crimea to Donbass – where Help is more help than Reportage…

As I’ve written, I’ve just returned from an intense 2-month period of work in Crimea, to Donbass. While I was away, Ukrainian media did their usual business, nonsense, by fer8writing that I’d ‘fled Donbass, not to return, etc‘, often adding in their perennial favourite that I’m ‘gay’, for reasons known only to them.

This was a deliberate misuse of what I’d actually said, which was that I had no current plans to film reportage from Donbass. That came after a 3-month period, from May to July, where I’d done everything I could, filmed everything I could, but just couldn’t get people to watch the reportage. I do all of my video reports with the idea that they will change the world, for the better, by delivering the truth, otherwise, why do them?

If it comes to the situation that I know that whatever I do will get at most, a few thousand views, with little or no resonance, it’s hard not to think ‘why bother’, honestly. More, not Crimea humanitarian 13that I judge everything by views, because I could take a video of a cat on a skateboard, or speak about Lady Gaga’s new single, and get a million plus, but they are an indication of how much something is needed, or wanted.

If people don’t need, or want, my reportage from Donbass, as the low views indicated, then foisting yet more would hardly seem the answer. Yet ‘ditching’ Donbass was never, ever even considered. More, I used the time in Crimea – where my reportage reached a mass audience, with views in the millions, to think how better I could help Donbass, if my reportage wasn’t what was required at this time.

I spoke with people in Crimea about this, about Donbass, and gained more insight into this. People in Russia still support Donbass, as before, but, there’s a lot of pain associated with it, it can be painful to watch it. Almost 4 years of war, people still suffering, the Crimea humanitarian 12.jpgdeath of iconic Donbass figures, such as Givi, Motorola. How many videos of people crying that their homes have been shelled can people take?

More, people are aware of the situation in Donbass – it’s tough, but stable. War goes on, at the lines of conflict, homes on the perimeters are still hit by Ukrainian shelling. It’s low-intensity war. This is still a human tragedy, but one that doesn’t translate into mass response to reportage. People know it, are sad about it, but what can they do about it? Everyone is waiting for something to resolve this prolonged, painful, inhumane situation.

So, views of reportage can’t be conflated with concern, or engagement in the Donbass Crimea humanitarian 7.jpgsituation. When in Crimea, I organised gatherings for people to donate goods for humanitarian aid, for Donbass. There was a big response, a large quantity of donations, much more than I could fit in my car. Back in Donbass now, I took everything I could this time, and will arrange transport for the rest, for distribution soon, to children’s homes here.

I’m also recharged after Crimea, back in the mood to do reportage from Donbass, and will do one or two more special reports from here, before the end of the year. However, for now, it’s almost certainly the case that the humanitarian help is of more help to Donbass than my reportage. 

3 thoughts on “Crimea to Donbass – where Help is more help than Reportage…”

  1. Well done. I’m delighted to hear you have finished your filming in Crimea and that you will screen this coming Christmas …….. love to go but it’s a bit of a stretch from here in the far west of Ireland. Thank you for the work you have done and continue to do in Donbass! I look forward to reading some Reports from you in due course. meanwhile, the Fascist demo in Kiev on 14th October received little or no coverage here in Ireland and UK media …… shameful blindness. In America, they don’t even know where or of whom it is you speak of so ……. best they all remain dumb …….. although, one might have thought that the remarkable similarities between the Kiev demo and what happened in Virginia back in August might have triggered one or two media organizations to sit up and take notice. None did.

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