By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson
Promoting Support for Ukraine’s ChildrenOn the eve of the anniversary of Vladimir Putin’s unprovoked assault on Ukraine, the Federation of European Publishers in Brussels has issued a statement of support for the Voices of Children Foundation, which has published a book, War Through the Voices of Children. Proceeds of sales go to programs in psychological and emotional support for kids.
During this year of war, the federation has invited the Ukrainian Publishers and Booksellers Association to join the organization as a member, has engaged in fund-raising in association with the Ukrainian Book Institute, and has worked with Creative Europe’s Tales of EUkraine project, which also is dedicated to children affected by Russia’s aggression in Ukraine.
In a statement issued today—with the federation planning a social media campaign for Friday (February 24), the date of the anniversary of Putin’s invasion of Ukraine—the federation’s president, Ricardo Franco Levi is quoted, saying, “Our duty as Europeans is to protect the values of freedom that we hold dear.
“The Ukrainians, faced with the abominable Russian aggression, are on the front line to defend these values that we have in common.
“Through the voices of these children who are growing up surrounded by constant violence and danger, the book published by the Foundation Voices of Children reminds us that the victory of Ukraine is fundamental for our democracies.”
The federation has the support of Sabine Verhayen, chair of the European Parliament’s committee on culture, and Verhayen is expected to invite the founders of the Voices of Children Foundation to speak to her committee members in coming weeks.
Violations of ‘International Legal Norms’
A report from the Voices of Children Foundation and the Kharkiv Institute of Social Research says that as of February 10, 461 children had died during the year of war in Ukraine, with 922 having sustained injuries. The foundation also indicates in information released Wednesday (February 22) that prosecutors are conducting investigations into 2,607 instances of potential criminal proceedings for crimes committed against children.
“The prosecutor’s office of Ukraine,” the foundation writes, “has identified 54 torture cells, some of which were used to detain children. The office of the prosecutor general has established 12 cases of sexual violence against children committed by Russians.”
Foundation co-founder Azad Safarov, a documentary filmmaker, today (February 23) is quoted, saying, “We planned this book before the full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine, but circumstances allowed us to release it only now, after a year of hostilities on a scale not seen since World War II.
“A few years ago, our friend Olya Vovk started recording funny and witty sayings of children. ‘Oh, and let’s collect such quotes and publish a book,’ we decided then.
“After February 24, we continued to collect them, and they didn’t become less funny and interesting, but now they became the voices of children of war.”
Safarov and his co-founder Olena Rozvadovska created the foundation in 2019, having worked together on a documentary about a destroyed orphanage, A House Made of Splinters, on which Safarov was a line producer. The film, from director Simon Lereng Wilmont and producer Monica Hellstrøm, was nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature,
Rozvadovska, now head of the foundation’s board, says, “Today, all children of Ukraine are the children of war, because everyone experiences its impact.
“The voices of children should be heard. They are witnesses of today’s events, have their thoughts about the war and observations. It’s important for us to record this time in their quotes so as not to forget the price of Ukraine’s happy future.
“In this book, we wanted to emphasize that childhood goes on despite everything. After all, childhood cannot be put on hold because of war. Life goes on, there is hope, and that’s what keeps us all going on.”
During their visit to speak with the committee on culture, the federation expects to organize activities with Safarov and Rozvadovska to promote their work.
You can follow the federation’s social-media campaign on Friday at @FEP_EU .
More from us on the Federation of European Publishers is here, and more of our coverage of Vladimir Putin’s war on Ukraine and its impact on the country’s publishing players and international industry reactions is here.