Ukraine’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, together with the singer Jamala (Jamala, Susana Dzhamaladinova) and the creative agency Banda Agency, presented the video Thank you, Stranger in gratitude to the neighboring countries for their invaluable help to the Ukrainian people. This is the beginning of a campaign in which every Ukrainian will be able to thank those who have supported Ukraine since the start of Russia’s full-scale invasion.
Find out our exclusive (Dom and UA TV channels) interview with Jamala about the Thank you, Stranger project and other charitable initiatives today.
The singer shared how she experienced the annexation of Crimea in 2014 and the first days of a full-scale war in Ukraine 8 years later. Jamala also outlined the reason for her participation in “Dancing with the Stars” TV show, the next season of which starts in autumn in Poland.
“On the morning of February 24, when Russia attacked us, I was at home with my young children. Of course, I experienced an incredible shock. At that moment, I realized that something new was born in me.
When I ended up in Istanbul with my sister on February 28, on the same day I held a big press conference for the media and, one might say, I opened my own front – a cultural front, in which I still do not stop giving interviews, I speak. These are different organizations, funds, projects.
During these six months, you can’t even imagine how many people worked and helped. These are volunteers, organizations, just people who were invited to the house, who gave clothes. In Istanbul, my children were personally brought packages of things that they wear now.
It has nothing to do with when you just come to visit another country. Yes, I have a sister in Istanbul, but when I went to see her with my children after the start of a full-scale war, it had nothing to do with the state of previous visits.
I love to travel, but now it’s not what it used to be – to visit the museums, see the sights. Now it’s – and where is the embassy, where do you need to go for registration… And every day you think about only one thing – how would we win and return home.
My life is divided into “before” and “after”. Although for me the war began with the occupation of Crimea and the occupation of Donetsk and Lugansk. That is, for me it is already 8 years and six months.
And I don’t stop fighting. And it is important to me that I am not alone in this struggle.
A huge number of public people, artists. Each in their own way. From large-scale, such as Coldplay, Imaging Dragons, Sting, who go to their concerts and talk, sing, collect money. To ordinary people, volunteers who dedicate their lives to feeding, collecting and delivering packages. Therefore, each of them wants to say an absolute, honest “thank you”.
Unfortunately, my song “1944”, presented at Eurovision, has acquired new meanings. When I wrote it, I wrote it about the pain of my great-grandmother, because I lived all my childhood with this story [of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people from Crimea], with this pain.
When I was a child, like any teenager, at the beginning it even annoyed me. Well, why, sitting down at the table, we should talk about the famine, about how Soviet soldiers then killed people and loaded them into freight cars. I can’t say that I understood all this as a child. But over the years, I realized why this is all.
Because I know exactly where my family is from. This is an inner core when you know exactly what kind and tribe you are.
That’s why I wrote this song. In 2015. But at that time, it was very painful for me to sing it, so I put it aside at first. I didn’t even listen to the demo. And then in 2016, when I was offered to participate in the national selection for Eurovision, I thought: if I have a story, my personal experiences, maybe I should tell about it.
And in 2016 Europe voted and the jury voted. This is one of those songs that is really now in the top five of the all-time Eurovision – both as a piece of music, and often it sounds at marches, prides, like a song of struggle for justice.
We could build the future where people are free, to leave in love the happiest time.
And now, in 2022, every word – “They kill and say: “We are not guilty “- sounds scary from the reality of what is happening.
Europe helps children, women, older people. But as for our territory, it is defended by our men, our women, they cover our Motherland with their bodies. Do you understand?
Russia is huge. There are so many people, there are so many good things. So be at home. Why do you climb into a foreign country, with your own rules, kill, rape?! It’s incomprehensible to the mind how this can happen today.”