Back in June, Ani Lorak—Ukraine’s “Shady Lady”—sparked controversy with the music video to her song “Maljvi”. The video explored the trauma mothers experience when they lose their children in battle. Politicians across the former Soviet Union accused her of expoliting the conflict in Crimea for personal gain.
Their response to Miss Lorak’s video is misplaced and insensitive: she lost her brother who was enlisteded to fight in Afghanistan. So far she’s remained silent about all the criticism, but now she’s speaking out in an open later published on her Facebook page. She’s no longer willing to be used as part of their “dirty games”.
“My voice is for peace,” she writes. “And I ask for peace for all of us.”
You can read her complete letter below.
Ani Lorak’s Open Letter
I am writing this letter sincerely from the heart. I have kept silent for a long time, which was probably a mistake, as this silence was used against me. Now I’d like to dot all the “i”’s and cross all the “t”’s, to say what I really feel.
Lately my name has been used cynically in political and media manipulation and speculation. At the same time my civil position as a Ukrainian citizen has not changed: I love Ukraine. Born in wonderful Bukovina I cherished this love from early childhood. I think that patriotism should not be measured by words, but by actions. During the last 20 years of my music career I have been glorifying Ukraine all over the world by representing it in various competitions and festivals, winning awards and helping to form positive image of Ukraine. My mission as an artist is to bring people joy and happiness through my music.
I am not a politician. I have never had such an ambition. I am sure that one should not mix these two universes: arts and politics. But it happened so that the politicians have used my name in their dirty games.
The day my brother was killed in Afghanistan carrying out his “international duty” my heart broke into pieces. I kept thinking “what for?” and couldn’t understand. They brought him home in a zinc coffin that we weren’t even allowed to open. I was on the verge and had to choose between love and hate. How to live with it anymore? I chose love. People think about power and money, someone’s political games… I still haven’t found the answer to the question I asked myself that day – “what for?”…
I made my choice – to give people love through music. It has always been and will be my choice: to serve people through my songs. When I am on stage in front of the audience love and music unites us. When I sing I sing for everyone without division and bias of nationality or religion, race or sexual orientation. For me the audience consists of people loving my music and I sing for them.
No one has the right to dictate me how I should love and support my country. My contribution to peace and harmony in Ukraine, actions to support Ukrainian citizens are made without TV cameras and far from the spotlight. It is done as I consider fit and worthy. I don’t ask everyone to agree with my decisions, but I ask to respect my opinion. Because democracy among other things is respect for decisions of others. It is a civilized way of any democratic state in which the primary values are human life, family and peace.
So, no “DNR” and “LNR”, “Pravyj Sektor” or “Svoboda” have any moral right to speculate on my name. We are not connected in any way!
My voice is for peace! And I ask for peace for all of us! I believe that there are more kind people than bad people. And sooner or later good will conquer evil!