“Protesters say these new laws take away their democratic freedoms”.
I heard the above on the news last night about the protests in Ukraine. My first thoughts were what a bullshit way to present the news that is. It is not just the protesters who say the laws take away their democratic freedom, as if this is a point up for debate.
When public protests, called mass disruptions by the Ukrainian government, become illegal with a penalty of 10-15 years in prison, there is no debate. Democracy in Ukraine is no more.
As I intend this to be a scathing review of the current Ukrainian government, they likely consider it “distribution of extremist materials”. That could land me three years in prison in Ukraine. I’ve now spent five minutes trying to come up with something more eloquent to say than “What kind of fucking bullshit is that???” But I am so angry on the behalf of humanity in general, and Ukrainians in particular, that I’m struggling to find words to adequately convey my rage and sorrow.
And what brought upon these new Draconian Laws? Peaceful protests by the people of Ukraine who were upset their government backed out of a deal with the European Union.
I’m not of Ukrainian heritage. The Ukrainian government is not bullying me or my family, so why do I care? It’s not my problem, you may think. But it is. Bullying is everyone’s problem. Watching silently gives power to the bully. Accepting bullying, including widespread, institutional bullying, is not a characteristic I want to see in myself.
I’m just a solitary woman in Canada and I don’t know how to help. How can I help?
I’ve met a man who witnessed a savage beating of his father in their home because he was proudly Ukrainian in the 1930s.
This man took refuge from the Russian Communists with the Nazis, only to discover the horror of the Nazi regime. He risked death to escape to Canada, never seeing his family again.
I’ve heard stories where Ukrainian families were forced to speak the Ukrainian language in secret, risking banishment to Siberia if caught.
I’ve heard of children being born and growing up in refugee camps on two pieces of bread and one cup of soup per day, in exchange for their parents working 66 hour weeks.
I’ve heard of families carefully choosing a suitcase of their most precious possessions to take with them on the journey to establish new lives in Canada or the United States, only to be separated from them on the way. Their new lives began with nothing but each other.
With the new laws abruptly put into place without debate or proper procedure, the current protests in Ukraine have turned from peaceful to violent. The above stories cannot be repeated.
Canada’s Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird says Canada as a country “strongly supports the Ukrainian people, who have spoken out courageously in support of a free and democratic Ukraine. Canada is ready and prepared to consider all options to make clear on whose side we stand.”
Please join me in spreading the terrible and shocking truth of what is happening in Ukraine. World leaders need to take immediate action to stop the bullying by the Ukrainian government and prevent further devastation to a people who want their voices heard.
Buzzfeed has an accurate account of the events here.
Citizen Journal has an infographic of the new laws here.
The New York Review of Books summarizes the situation better than I can. Get informed here.
As someone with PTSD, my heart is with the Ukrainian people who have experienced lifetimes of trauma I cannot fathom. I cry and pray for your healing, good health, and an end to the systemic trauma you are now experiencing again. Please let me know how I can help beyond sharing my unfiltered, unorganized, and unedited thoughts.