War Diary by Olga Grebennik
As a children book illustrator, there is an artist who drew flowers, gardens, and angels with fancy colors, but one morning, with only a pencil, painted the horrors of war. She is illustrator Olga Grebennik from Ukraine.
In March 2022, in the basement of the village of Kharkov in her hometown, she wrote a "war diary" in 8 days. She did so to stay afloat in explosions and sirens in the midst of a relentless armed conflict.
“The War Diary tried to ‘record’ what was happening right before my eyes, rather than adding special thoughts and imagination. Since I had to draw quickly with only a pencil, I finished one sketch in 5-6 minutes on average. It had to be very different from what I had drawn before. I didn't know that my next story, which drew and published the daily life of a happy fox family, would be a War Diary."
There was a terrific time when, like Olga, we all went through a pandemic and imagined our peaceful everyday life like a dream. And the brutal war that destroys everything and leaves nothing behind leaves deep, irreparable wounds that make it impossible to even dream of everyday life.
And like Olga, when she trembles with fear and directly experiences the war in her life, she tried to send a message to many people by leaving these horrors in pictures and records. And above all else, if the horrors of war are right in front of you, you will react as desperately as Olga did.
On the first day of the war, writer Olga Grevennik wrote children's name, date of birth, and contact information on the arms of himself and his two young children, respectively. To identify the identity after death, and to leave minimal information when children become orphans.
From the ground to the underground, and finally to the outside of the border, Olga and the children were pushed away. She was given only 10 minutes to throw away her entire 35-year life. She managed to evacuate with only one backpack. Before the war, Olga, who had donated clothes to the Red Cross every time, became a refugee receiving the support overnight.
She currently resides in a village in Bulgaria as a refugee. Like Olga, four months after the outbreak of the war, many of the refugees from Ukraine are returning to their homeland. It's not because the dangers of war are diminished. Olga explained in her war diary that it was either because they failed to establish a shelter, or because they could no longer endure the longing for their family.
After Russia's invasion of Ukraine, news that makes us nervous, such as the threat of war between China and Taiwan, is spreading.
No one can guarantee that something like Olga will not happen in their life. She, too, would not have known in advance that she had to start from scratch like a baby in a strange land after she was 35 years old amid the strife of war she faced at the age of 35.
I thank her for her courage to record vividly the horrors of war with only a pencil in her eight days of pain and horror. Above all, I hope this book will be seen and read by more people.
Let's take a moment to quote her from an interview on the Internet. It shows just how much the painting allowed her to seize her mind with great fear.
We are ok in Bulgaria. It is good, warm, and the food is tasty. But these days are here and now. Tomorrow, as far as I remember it, does not exist for me.
Even if the war is over, we cannot return our precious daily life, people and memories. Because everything has been destroyed and destroyed. So they want peace and try to prevent war.
Myungja Anna Koh