This 19-year-old Ukrainian refugee filmed the ‘horror’ so that future generations can see what she went through
Since Russia’s invasion of Ukraine on February 24, more than two million Ukrainians have left their country in order to escape Vladimir Putin’s bombs and bullets. One of them is 19-year-old Diana Totok, who is now in neighboring Romania — and Totok has been filming the events with her smartphone and posting them on TikTok so that future generations can see what she has lived through.
Totok told The Guardian, “It feels just like a horror movie, and I don’t know — filming is just one of the ways I can just put everything that’s going on in my mind, like, in order.”
The Guardian’s Matilda Boseley, in an article published on March 11, notes, “Two weeks earlier, the 19-year-old’s biggest worry had been making a good impression at her new internship.” But that was before Russian forces attacked Mykolaiv, Ukraine, where she lived with her mother, Svetlana Totok, her 17-year-old sister Darina Totok and her father, who is a pastor. The father is still in Ukraine, while Diana, Svetlana and Darina Totok are in Romania — and one of the videos Diana Totok has posted shows her parting company with her father at the Ukraine/Romania border.
Teenager from war-stricken Ukraine documents her plight on TikTok youtu.be
Boseley explains, “The video cuts there. Totok saved the final goodbyes for the family alone. She and her sister, 17-year-old Darina, got on a train with their mother, travelling into the depths of Romania, praying that their father would live to see them again.”
Diana Totok is hoping that 20, 30 or 40 years from now, her videos will live on as a document of the hell that Ukrainians are going through in 2022. Although plenty of black-and-white footage from World War II remains, Totok notes that there were no smartphones back then.
“In the Second World War,” Totok told The Guardian, “there was no gadgets and no filming …. I knew that these videos would be like, historic. I thought, ‘I’m going to show these videos to my kids and say that that’s what we had to go through’.”
Diana Totok points out that her videos have helped raise money for Ukrainian refugees.
“It’s crazy how many views (my videos) have, but it’s kind of cool, actually, because we are raising money,” Totok told The Guardian. “I put a link in my bio on my TikTok so people can donate. I’ve got a lot of messages on Instagram … saying: ‘If you know someone, someone who’s at the border with, like, Poland, my family is ready to take in a family.’”
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