During times of war, sometimes the simplest of words—”I love you” or “I miss you”—can mean so much. Sevgil Mutsaieva (2022 TIME100) knows this well than many. In an emotional toast she made at Wednesday’s TIME100 Gala, New York City, Sevgil Musaieva paid tribute these simple messages.
Musaieva is the leader of a Ukrainian journalist team that reports on war fronts in Ukraine. She shared her experiences as an editor-in-chief of Ukrainska Pravda, a Kyiv-based news website, about how it was dangerous to send reporters into areas of active attack.
“We didn’t even know if he was alive,” she said. “It is difficult to imagine this in 21st century—when we think about life on Mars and MetaUniverse. But this is the reality my country lives in after February 24.”
The designer was miraculously safe. His first message: “We escaped the occupation. I’m OK . I will be able to work again starting tomorrow morning.”
It was simple and straight-forward. Musaieva cried from joy for the first-time in nearly two weeks.
“After this horrible attack on Ukraine, journalism in my country—is essentially nothing more than the search for such words,” she said. “The most important words about our struggle and our grief.”
Musaieva shared another story, about a Ukrainian woman who lived for one month under Russian occupation in a Ukrainian border town. Her greatest challenge wasn’t to survive without food but losing touch with the latest news. “I know dozens of stories of people in the occupied territories breaking into communication or the internet and writing to their families, realizing that these may be the last words they will ever say to them.”
Returning after two years on pause, the TIME100 Gala is TIME’s annual celebration of the TIME100 list of the world’s most influential people, released this year on May 23. Gala participants include icons, leaders, change-makers and celebrities across all sectors and countries for an evening full of laughter and conversation. This year’s Gala features live performances from Miranda Lambert and Mary J. Blige, two honorees on the 2022 TIME100 list. Further attendees from this year’s list include actors Andrew Garfield, Ariana DeBose, and Amanda Seyfried, musicians Jazmine Sullivan, Jon Batiste, and Ahmir “Questlove” Thompson, athlete Eileen Gu, director Taika Waititi, and legal activist Chase Strangio,
TIME and ABC are teaming up to offer viewers a unique television experience: the TIME100 Gala. TIME100: The World’s Most Influential People airs Sunday June 12, at 8 pm EDT, ABCThe film features Simu Liu as host, Quinta Brunson as director, Sevgil Musatieva, a Ukrainian journalist, and many other characters.
You can read the complete transcript of Musaieva’s toast at TIME100 Gala.
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