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November 27, 2004

Babushki of the Revolution

". . .We were told that she went up to the guards in front of the entrance, guards in full riot gear, masks and shield, in ranks twenty deep. She went up to one and said, “I am a babushka [translated roughly as “grandmother” but used for every older woman grandmother age] from the village. I came here to find out how you are. Are you fine? Are you hungry? Maybe your parents are somewhere worrying about you?

“Babushka has come from the village with some warm socks for you. Maybe your feet are cold and you need some socks?” She talked to this fellow in this way and won him over. He lowered his shield to expose his face and he was grinning at her while she spoke to him.

Today, she was supposed to come over and see us. She likes to do this especially since she has a new grandson she dotes on. But today she can’t be bothered with that sort of thing. She is part of the revolution. Getting out of bed this morning, she went to the store, bought bread and sausage and is on her way down to make sure that the protestors are fed and taken care of.

Before she left, she called her husband in the village. She had been planning on going back home and letting him come to take part but, when she called, she told him “There is nothing for you to do here. There are enough men here already. A woman’s touch is what is needed here to help take care of the people down at the square. So I will stay here. You don’t need to come.” (This is terribly un-PC but that is the way she is and the way of life is in the village.)

Read the rest.

I'm tired of people outside of Ukraine trying to frame what is going on here as a "US/EU vs. Russia" thing, and so condescendingly refusing to see this is all about Ukraine. It is Ukrainians who have risen up, joined together, and finally have hope that things here can change.

The above story is from ForeignNotes who lives here in Kyiv, and is about his mother-in -law. This is the real story of this rally. Each day, a million individual gestures of freedom and unity are joined together to make up the big picture on the Square.

I sure wish ForeignNotes would allow anon comments. hint, hint.

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» Blogger in Ukraine Posts: My mother-in-law, revolutionary from Hyscience
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» Blogging the Revolution in the Ukraine from JOLLYBLOGGER - a weblog for jolly beggars
The husband and wife blogging team - Le Sabot Post-Moderne and TulipGirl live in the Ukraine and are blogging about the events surrounding the recent elections in the Ukraine. [Read More]

Tracked on November 29, 2004 01:45 PM

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Comments

To find individual stories of common people from the streets of Kiev the weblogs like TulipGirl are the best source we have in Germany. It never could be enough. Thank you for the contributions.

Posted by: Jens-Olaf at November 27, 2004 04:47 PM

You are spot on in that many in the "Western Media" insist on portraying this as an East vs. West thing.

It's arrogant, simplistic and, well, wrong.

Posted by: Daniel Medley at November 27, 2004 05:15 PM

I'm jealous. In America our people are arrested for peacefully expressing support for the opposition candidate (Kerry t-shirts at a Bush rally). Our police act against the peaceful people in support of the ruling corporate party. American oligarchs are ascending and acting to privatize our national property and social support programs. American oligarchs are reducing or avoiding their taxes and in the process of putting a regressive tax system into place. I wish the best for the Ukrainian people and nation as well as my own.

I do have a question about Orange policies. Will Yushchenko withdraw Ukrainian troops from Iraq and support from the Bush coalition?

Did I already ask that? Maybe you removed an earlier post.

Posted by: Rob at November 27, 2004 06:05 PM

Rob,

I believe that Yushchenko would like to remove troops from Iraq, though I'm not sure whether that was a campaign pledge or not. You asked over at Le Sabot. I haven't deleted any comments here.

However, you are really *minimalizing* the reality of life in Ukraine when you try to compare the oligarchy here with anything in the US. It's not even an apples/oranges thing--you're making an apples-kangaroo comparison. You do not know what you are talking about.

I'm sure you have strong feelings about US politics, but I am now asking you to refrain from posting about them on any Ukraine-related post on my blog. Thank you for honoring this request.

And, if you are truly interested in showing support for Ukraine and her people, you will not try to draw parallels between the US system and situation and Ukraine.

Posted by: TulipGirl at November 27, 2004 06:23 PM

Rob,

Hmm, I'm not sure what version of the US you're living in.

You've been watching too much Micheal Moore and not getting out enough.

Bottom line, this is about Ukraine. To try to usurp their cause and purpose to advance your hard feelings about coming out on the losing side of our elections and misguided opinnions is, in my opinion, disrespectful at the least.

My wife, who is Ukrainian, fails to understand people like you. You just do not get it. We have more freedoms here than in any place else. Even freedom to spew your bullshit.

Posted by: Daniel at November 27, 2004 06:25 PM

Of course it's all about Ukraine. No one in their right mind would suggest otherwise, in my opinion. To see what has happened in the past few days has been an intensely moving experience, and one's thoughts and prayers are with the Ukrainian people at this time.

None the less, Ukraine is not an island - it exists in one of the most politically sensitive regions of Europe and the world, and what happens in Ukraine may be an indicator of what could happen elsewhere in Europe in these uncertain times. While it's obviously wrong to reduce what is going on to a "US/EU versus Russia" conflict, as Brzezinski and others have done recently - it is far, far more than that - the role played by Russia, and Russia's president, in the conflict cannot be ignored.

Posted by: David McDuff at November 27, 2004 06:43 PM

As you wish, I won't post again.

There is one thing to know, if Ukraine does throw off the oligarchs remember as a matter of faith that it is not over, it's not a one-time thing. The people will have to keep constant vigil and stay vigilant to see that those ever-present forces do not again gain the upper-hand.

That's where America is so it's not that we are so dissimilar.

Posted by: Rob at November 27, 2004 06:44 PM

I partially agree with you on framing the discussion. However, there is a certain degree of US/EU support for democratic development and Russia opposing it. That's not to minimize at all that it is Ukrainians that are out demanding change. They definitely deserve all the credit too. There are a number of programs--exchange, civil society, business development, etc--that have played some role (I would argue a very crucial one) in helping to prepare Ukrainians for this moment.

However, the media is missing this story. In fact, it's only the leftist media that seems to report on this history of involvement at all, and it is usually to discredit the protests.

I don't seem to remember this being as much of a problem during Georgia's Rose Revolution. Reporters did a generally good job covering the history of Western support for democratic development there. Although, many of them did fall into the East vs. West trap.

Posted by: Nathan at November 27, 2004 08:25 PM

I think it also might be worth quoting part of the statement by Lithuanian Americans which was published on November 24:

"On behalf of the tens of thousands of members of the Lithuanian-American Community, Inc. we express our solidarity with the people of Ukraine, particularly the democratic forces of Ukraine, who today are standing firm against a corrupt, arbitrary and lawless regime to defend their electoral process and the future of their children.

We call upon our own government to support the democratic forces in Ukraine and not recognize the Ukrainian Central Election Commission's decision to certify Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the Ukrainian presidential election -- an election which has already been judged by independent international observers as flawed by wide-scale and visible fraud.

The attempt to steal the elections from the people of Ukraine makes this no longer an internal matter of Ukraine and Ukrainians. The United States and other Western democracies must act on their convictions in defense of the democratic process."

Posted by: David McDuff at November 27, 2004 10:52 PM

Thank you for providing first-hand reporting on the situation in Ukraine. Reflecting back on when Ukraine declared independence from the U.S.S.R. in 1990, it is amazing how the Internet has changed how we get information. Then, most of us could only watch from afar--learning what little we could from mainstream media. Today, we can communicate directly, and as we strive to learn what is going on our thoughts often go to those who are in the midst of it.

Maia, my wife and "co-blogger" was inspired to create a drawing calling for Democracy in Ukraine after she become a regular reader of your blog (and your husband's) over the last few days:

http://www.houseofthedog.com/2004/11/democracy_for_u.html

thank you,

loki

Posted by: Loki at November 28, 2004 02:52 AM

Your link to foerign notes is not working, extra "l" at the end.

Posted by: fgfd at November 28, 2004 03:13 AM

Here's a useful link that has a lot of news about how the churches of Ukraine are responding to the events.
www.risu.org.ua

("Religious Information Service Ukraine")

Posted by: WRY at November 28, 2004 03:27 AM

i haven't been commenting - but i wanted ya'll to know i am checkin in everyday. prayers and love.

Posted by: mtmamma at November 28, 2004 06:29 AM

"You are spot on in that many in the "Western Media" insist on portraying this as an East vs. West thing."

It is called spin. It is sad, but 'outsiders' always look at events at an angle that suits there own interests and ambitions. That is a perversion of the true motives of the Ukrainian people, sure, but it is a reality that we need to watch closely.

The danger is that outside political forces will co-opt the people's movement and manipulate it for their own gain.

The people in Ukraine should be aware of that. The West is not portraying the Ukraine events as an East-West confrontation solely out of ignorance. There are agendas at work as well. As I said on my blog, Sharks are moving under the surface of the Ukraine waters.

As an outsider myself, I can only comment on what I see happening here in the West and get people here (the handful that read my blog) to focus on the real issue at hand: democracy.

Posted by: Non Tibi Spiro at November 28, 2004 01:02 PM

One clarification of my previous post: I think the East vs West debate started when Putin prematurely congratulated Yanukovych. This prompted an immediate reaction from the West and moved the attention away from the real struggle.

But, thanks TulipGirl, for keeping things in perspective.

Posted by: Non Tibi Spiro at November 28, 2004 01:30 PM

This is not the time to debate East/West, it is the time to support the Ukranians. Be it liberal or conservative. Support them in their bid for deomcracy!!!

Posted by: Rick Zahn at November 28, 2004 07:52 PM


 
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