To read / 7 June 2024

Where are you from?



TW: It’s me,
TW: I am from Russia.
TW: I am an activist,
TW: I am a minority,
A minority wherever I go.
TW: I am sharing today’s news,
Russia is bombing Ukraine.
It’s happening every day.
Israel is killing civilians in Gaza.
TW: If you are German, you are complicit in the genocide.
But I am Russian, and I understand not all Germans are bad.
Also, TW: I am a man,
And I don’t trust myself.
TW: I am speaking up,
Climate is changing,
And not for the better.

You must be tired of TW,
Yes, me too.
My whole life is a TW,
All the time,
And nobody told me
That it should not be like that.
I didn’t know that it could be different.
TW: Sorry! I am really sorry for being depressed.
Life is beautiful, pity that it’s escaping from me.

TW: Please don’t cry.
Or cry if you want to.
But don’t feel anything.
Resist without feeling.
Having feelings is a privilege.
Having human rights – as well.
But being alive is not.
It’s our duty,
Being alive, to resist.
You know, it’s going to be much worse.
And we need everyone in our fight for a better today.

Where are you from?

I am from the 24th of February,
I am from fields of resistance,
A country of terror.

I am here to continue
and find a way,
Somewhere in between,
I am looking for friends.

I am from nowhere to go,
Words of hope,
My loudspeaker is
But I am shouting anyway


Woke up,
Drinks morning coffee,
Reads the news –
People have died,
More have fallen,
Bombs dropped
Here and there.

The activist reposts in stories,
As if human feelings remained,
But it no longer hurts.

Then the cops come
To friends,
Break arms and souls.

The activist goes to lunch,
A strange twinge in the heart,
Everyone is silent.
My Russia screams,
But I am in Berlin. I can barely hear it.

Midnight arrives,
She said nothing,
A shiver runs through.
All refusals come to mind,
Contempt for people.

Everything burns,
Crying is already hard,
I want to go to war,
I want to stop the war
And remember,
What it was like before.


Imagine opening your window and seeing Ararat,
Taking a walk around it, being afraid to go there, because they say the
gods live there.

Now Armenians open windows.
They don’t see Ararat anymore.
They see what we have survived:

Millions of broken lives,
Hopes and sadness, and a tragedy that is bigger than the biggest
mountain in the world.

Even after hundreds of years, we can still feel it.
We can’t forget how the mountain looked before.

Strange people

Strange people are walking around.
They don’t know my friends are being bombed.

For them it’s not Lilya, Natasha and Sasha, it’s the news everyone’s
tired of.

strange people walking around,

and they know nothing about wars, life and love. They are just walking
around our tragedies and reading the news.

They don’t know that I’m sad, that if I have a soul, it hurts, if not, what
does it hurt?

strange people walk around, they don’t know that I’m reading a book
to forget myself. And everything else – too.

and all my worries, my personal problems, are worthless.

my tragedies, my personal pains, are devalued by rockets that fly for
no reason every day.

devalued by my country, which has abandoned me,
I have no monument, no documents, no family no friends.

strange people walk around

as if they don’t know what dark thoughts are in my head.

I had a late coffee, I won’t be able to sleep. I’ll be tossing and turning
in bed, thinking about the war, about her, about this and that.

and these strange people probably sleep just as strange, they don’t
dream about the cops, they don’t have to run away in their sleep, hide
from them.

These weird people. They’re just like them.


Arshak Makichyan

Arshak Makichyan is a climate and anti-war youth activist from Russia, originally from Armenia. He staged a solo strike for the climate every Friday in Pushkin Square, Moscow for more than 100 weeks. He has inspired others across Russia to take part in strikes for the climate, including other single-person pickets in Moscow, and organised the Fridays for Future movement in Russia. In December 2019 he was jailed for six days, hours after returning from Madrid, Spain, where he spoke at the 2019 United Nations Climate Change Conference (COP 25). After Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in 2022, he expanded his protests and joined anti-war protests in Russia. At the end of March, he went to Germany to develop a new strategy for activism, with the intention of returning to Russia, but in the middle of May, he found out that the Russian government had brought up a case against him to strip him of his only citizenship. After the final trial in February 2023, his family members were deported from Russia and illegally deprived of their citizenship. Currently, he lives in Germany.