Etikettarkiv: human rights

A little prayer

My original plan for this blog was to write about all the things Ukrainians are good at, and while that is still my main wish, I find it hard to describe the great things, as I fear none of it might even exist considering the current situation. To save the world from another negative outburst, I’ve decided to write a little affirmation, a dream for Ukraine and her future.

This beautiful land of forests, steppes and fields, tall mountains, rivers and seas. Her wonderful life-giving soil, with plenty of patient hardworking hands to toil. Her perfect climate with clear four seasons to enjoy nature’s best features. Harmonious society with blooming culture, appreciation for history and traditions as much as for innovation and science. Different people living in harmony and appreciation of each other’s differences. Religious beliefs are merely a personal preference and have no influence on the society or politics. Ethical business practices, ecological production and innovation are the center pillars of the economy. The laws are just and simple to follow. Mutual respect and ethics are the base of the social order. An indisputable member of the European community with well protected human rights and high levels of social activism.

I pray for peace, for ways to find wisdom and forgiveness for those who’ve hurt us, and to move forward, no matter how painful or impossible it might feel in the beginning. I pray for people to stay impervious to hate and despair, to stay focused on the one main idea: prosperous, happy and peaceful Ukraine. Let it be so.

The long road to democracy and freedom

In view of current unending events in Ukraine’s eastern regions, I thought it would be fun to tell about one of the Ukrainian leaders, who happened to be the author of the first modern European Constitution. Pylyp Orlyk was a Hetman-in-exhile who devoted his life to establishing an independent Ukrainian-Zaporozhian state. He sided with the Swedish king Karl XII in order to free Ukraine from the constant attacks of its Eastern neighbor, Muscovy.

The Agreements and Constitutions of Laws and Freedoms of the Zaporizian Host  was the first of its kind as it clearly separated the legislative, executive and judicial branches of power in a state. In addition to delineating the clear limits on the executive powers of a Hetman (Head of state) this Constitution also established a democratically elected Cossack parliament called the General Council.

File:Pylyp-orlyk-constitution-1710.jpg

Peace and equal right to all!

The melting pot

Ukraine is wonderfully multiethnic, multinational, multilingual and multicultural, which is not at all strange, given her central location between the East and the West. This location, unfortunately, has ofter been the source of trouble for Ukraine and her people. Invaded by Mongol-Tatar, Polish & Lithuanian, Russian, Turkish, French, Swedish, German, you name it!, armies, it’s no wonder there is no such thing as a ”pure” Ukrainian ethnicity. Nevertheless, 78% of the population consider themselves to be Ukrainians, while Russians, Belarusians, Moldovans, Poles, Crimean Tatars, Bulgarians, Hungarians, Jews comprising the main minority groups. All in all there are over 100 nationalities (ethnicities) represented in Ukraine, all living in comparative harmony, intermarrying, having lovely children and trying to make a living in the not so easy economic situation.

Being the result of such intermixing myself (Ukrainian-Polish-Jewish), I have always considered Ukrainians to be open-minded and accepting of other cultures, and I have luckily never encountered any events that would convince me otherwise. That said, I do realize Ukraine is not perfect and there are definitely idiots (as there are in every country), which make life unpleasant for those looking/acting/talking differently, and such acts should not be tolerated. I believe in treating people with respect until their attitude or actions tell me otherwise. The color of their skin or the language they speak, or the gods they pray to, have very little influence on my opinion of them. Their behavior and actions do.

Recent events in Ukraine, and especially the Russian involvement in the armed conflict currently happening in some parts of eastern Ukraine, have forced many of Ukraine nationals to reevaluate their understanding of who they are or wish to be. The result is an impressive upswing in the national idea with many forgotten or disregarded symbols getting a second life. This national idea is generally aimed at promoting all things Ukrainian, be it the language, the culture, the manufacturing and production capabilities, inventions, etc. It is NOT aimed at oppressing other cultures or languages, nor at diminishing any rights of the minorities in Ukraine. I find it important to state, that no matter how much the Russian propaganda might claim it,  there have never been any problems for Russian-speakers in Ukraine. Most Ukrainians are both fluent in Russian and still use it daily, myself included. Most of us believe that knowing more than one language is an advantage, and it is therefore both sad and mind boggling to see how far some Russian-speakers are willing to go just to avoid learning Ukrainian. The results of such narrow-mindedness have been all over the news for the past 12 months, with no end in sight…

I believe in happy endings, and I know Ukraine will come out stronger and more united in the end. And we will build a harmonious, just society, where everyone will feel welcome, where everyone can contribute and feel good about it. I know, that much we can.

Cheers, and may peace and inspiration be with you!