Philippe is just 23, and the least publicised Frenchman among the volunteers who are fighting in Donbass. The discrete youth got here in Donetsk in March, 2015, but elected to serve afar from the stirrings of the first volunteers of Novopole and the Continental Unit.
So Philippe first set out for the south, incorporated into an infantry unit, where he spent four months in the trenches on the front. He has known some serious fighting and is now, after several stages, in a unit on the Donetsk front. Running into him at a Franco-Russian Cultural Institute event at the Donetsk Technical University was a great moment. Behind the youth hides in fact a certain purity, and the story of his commitment is by itself example to all French youth.
He indicates that he understood fairly quickly the disaster heralded by the Maidan, and was shocked by the horrible Odessa massacre where somewhere between 106 – 200 Russian speakers were massacred in horrible conditions by 1500-2 000 ultranationalist and neo-Nazi fanatics armed with hammers, axes, rebars, and firearms. In the House of Unions, those who fell at the hands of the madmen were finished off with edged or blunt weapons to cries of “hang the Moskals, stomp the beetles, clean the place! “
Philippe was a long time in organizing his trip. He spelled out his commitment with his parents, who made no attempt to detain him, despite their worry over his decision. Once setting out to fight in Donbass, his life story foretells, even at his young age, an exceptional destiny. After some long months, his father Alain comes for a visit to Donetsk where he has also seen the people of Donbass and combatants.
A thirty-ish young sergeant in his unit is there along with him, and speaks excellent French: “I was living in Kiev where I was cruising through quiet days, and then I realized that “all this Maidan shit” would lead us to disaster. I admit that at first I wondered if I should not support the Maidan, but then in the street I saw the flags of the UPA, the neo-Nazis of Svoboda, the dregs of humanity, in sum, I saw fascism reborn, so I decided to leave and get back home to fight. That was in April 2014. I turned in my resignation and my boss, a beautiful western woman from Ukraine replied “I’m a bandériste you must obey me and work two weeks to comply with the advance notice, it is the Law of Ukraine”. I wouldn’t write Alexander’s answer…. she was firm.
He gathered up a few things and lit out for Lugansk, where he would be a participant in the insurgency and has experienced the entire Donbass war to this day. Speaking to me about Philippe, he tells me: “our officer in our unit says this about Philippe, he’s the bravest of the French in the Donbass, and “he’s got it!” The company laughs with this declaration.
Philippe throughout the discussion stays very modest, but clearly stating the political reasons for his commitment. It is for France that he is fighting here, against a system, to fight for people’s rights, for social justice. I find in him the convictions of my youth — that I hope are still alive within me. Right in his uniform, simple in dress and speech, this is a character who refuses the title of “hero,” though there is already written without his wish, a heroic story. His admirable commitment, the purity of intentions, the dismissing of his combat in very difficult conditions demands admiration. If there are still in the ranks of the youth of France souls like him, the hope of a renewal of our people does, no doubt, exist. He and I will conclude with a lot of jokes that, after the Donbass, we will need to start a new battle, the battle for France. Because one day or another, the European “Reich of a Thousand Years” will end. One day or another, the oligarchic elite of France and Navarre will see born a breath that no government media propaganda can stop.
Contributing editor and volunteer translator Tom Winter, retired Classics professor, monitors the news in 6 languages, and sometimes cannot help writing satire, since that’s what today’s news mostly deserves