Both the Anthem of Ukraine and a Muslim prayer Were heard at International Congress-Centre Ukrainian House on 20 December: this is how the photo exhibition “Amina: Life” was opened. The exhibition in Kyiv will last until 26 December, and then it will go on tour to other cities across Ukraine and abroad.
The exposition, consisting of 34 photographs, was created due to joint efforts of Amina’s brothers and sisters in arms commemorating the legendary warlike Muslim woman, a patriot of Ukraine and Ichkeria, who gave laid her life defending freedom and independence of those countries.
Besides the photos, the exhibition contains two large banners with white silhouettes of birds flying away to the skies, where everyone willing could write the words they’d like to address to Amina in honour of her memory.
The guests who attended the solemn opening ceremony were greeted by Amina’s mother, Iryna Kaminska. Among the attendees were Amina’s brothers and sisters in arms, public activists, representatives of State governing bodies and foreign embassies, Islamic religious figures, political activists and journalists from both the Ukrainian and the foreign Media. In attendance were also Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defence Council of Ukraine, Arsen Avakov, the Minister of the Interior, MPs Ihor Mosiichuk, Tetiana Chornovol, Anton Gerashchenko and others.
— Amina, I am happy to have been in the same time and space with you… She knew what being free really meant; she was born free and knew that the highest price can and has to be paid for freedom, — said Amina’s mother during the opening ceremony. —She fought the imperial aggression, that last empire that now writhes in agony, disgracefully living on borrowed time. I have no doubt that one day, that empire will fall, and under its wreck will be buried those who killed my daughter.
As Amina Okueva was a Muslim, Deputy Mufti of RAMU “Umma” Edgar Devliqamov opened the event with a Muslim prayer for her, after which other guests could share their memories of the fallen hero and speak about her life and activities.
A short movie made of cuts of Amina’s intravitam interviews and her amateur footages was also shown, where she speaks her mind on each person’s purpose and on the price she is eager to pay for freedom of Ukraine and Ichkeria.
During the opening ceremony, people who knew Amina personally had a word, too.
— Amina Okueva first defended Checnia from Russian aggression. Then, from the very first day, she’s been on Maidan. And when the war broke out, she never hesitated to take arms and go to the frontline. She became a true hero for both Ukrainian and Chechen people, — noted Oleksandr Turchynov.
— It’s important to gather and pay due tribute to a wonderful person on a day like this. She participated in maidan, and then she joined the first volunteer battalions, She has done so much for the Ukrainian independence!We see all these pictures and recall what a radiant personality she’s been. We must know and remember the deeds of such people, — stressed Interior Minister Arsen Avakov.
Congresswoman Marcia Carolyn "Marcy" Kaptur, the U.S. Representative for Ohio's 9th congressional district, sent her video message where she once again stressed that Amina Okueva’s life and courage would be inspiration for all, and that the International community will stand with Ukraine, shoulder to shoulder, in the clash with Russian Federation.
Tetiana Chornovol and Anton Gerashchenko spoke about Amina’s activities, having stressed her input in fighting for freedom and independence of Ukraine and Ichkeria.
Amina’s brothers in arms were also invited to the microphone:
— In all of my life, I’ve met only a few people so concentrated on struggle, with such global goals, so consistent in their struggle as Amina. At the same time, she was always smiling, even in the hardest situations, during the fighting and after ut, for she had been an incredibly strong person. The smile on her face you can see on these picture was there, even when she was being wrapped in her shroud.
— the best thing we can do to commemorate Amina is continue the struggle…
The Ukrainian Hero’s kind eyes watched the visitors from the 17 black-and-white amateur pictures from Amina’s private archive, and 17 professional pictures in colour by Oleksandra Lysytska. The monochrome photos depicted Amina at war, self-sacrificing in her fighting with the enemy, while the coloured photos show the ever-smiling embodiment of femininity and beauty, of the very invincible life nobody can destroy.