15 ноября в маленьком и очень красивом предместье города Аустерлиц общество «Платформа Сотрудничество Нидерланды-Украина» организовала мероприятие День Украины.
Здесь текст моего (Анна Геращенко) выступления для англоговорящих друзей Украины.
«It has always been difficult to tell what is happening in Ukraine. So, I ask you to turn on your imagination, as I attempt to make the picture as clear as possible for you.
Just imagine, that in the Eastern part of your beautiful country 30% of the population consists of a certain group of people, let’s call them Martians. They have been migrating to your country for hundreds of years, and have lived and raised their kids here. There are only two little problems with the Martians: they don’t want to learn your country’s language and they don’t recognize your Nation as a Nation. In addition, imagine now that your very young country is recovering from post-communist dictatorship, is suffering from corruption, and things are getting worse every year.
One day, the Martians manage to elect the President and the Government who meet their expectations of being strong, powerful, and very talented as thieves. And this President completely ruins your country, filling his own pockets by extorting every business in the country. You watch desperately as the President’s son becomes the richest person in your country, while official salary of teachers and doctors are 100 Euro per month.
So, you protest. You protest not because you want cheap bread but because you have a sense of dignity. Also you protest because it is something in your genes, the memory of your invincible folk that values freedom and dignity more than anything else. Understandably, in times of national protests, there are some political speculations, geopolitical games, treacheries and cowardice. You see that
regular people are struggling and dying, while some political parties profit from the situation. But at the end you, the regular everyday people, made the dictator run. In this fight you lose your closest friends, you crybecause your heart is broken, but suddenly… in the days of the national mourning another country, your closest neighbor, comes and seizes one piece of your land. You call other countries for
help, but all of them are merely expressing their «grave concerns» and that’s it. And you don’t fight because the invaded part of the country is mostly populated by the strangers, by Martians, who said they didn’t want live in your country anymore. So, you just let it go.
But then, expectedly, foreigners started appearing in other parts of your country. They tell the locals: “Your new Government will come and kill you because you didn’t want learn their language. Perhaps, you would like to live on Mars? We pay your teachers and doctors extra 100 EURO per month, and you will only your Martian’s language.» And the huge Martians population (approx.20-25%) in those
provinces says “Yes”. But nobody knows exactly how many people in the remaining provinces of your country would be willing to sell their Motherland just for extra 100 Euro a month.
So, highly trained special groups started entering all Eastern and Southern provinces. Simultaneously in several major cities the identical scenarios are unfolding: arrival of busloads and carloads of foreign young men, equipped with metal sticks and batons; professionally spread rumours about troops of
Ukrainian «fascists» who are coming to kill all Russian-speaking population; the local authorities announce a demonstration protesting against the newly elected government; the locals who came to this protest are joined by the batons-armed foreign young men. This crowd cheers when a flag of the certain neighbor country is raised on your City Council building, and flag of your own country is torn down and set on fire.
I was a witness of this artificial, orchestrated protest: tens of busloads and carloads of foreigners, armed young strangers, whose eyes show no feelings or emotions, storming into your City Council and brutally ripping down your flag. I spoke with people, who supported this action, and they had two messages:
they would welcome Russian military, and they do not recognize that Ukraine ever existed as a country.
Most of these people were Ukrainian citizens, young and old but predominantly with low level of education. At the same time the same chain of events was happening in many cities
Аt the end of March, we read that the foreign army concentrated an enormous amount of heavy military troop carriers along the border. We heard from Russian TV that the Russian speaking population in Ukraine suffers in the hands of Ukrainian fascists. We were not able to persuade even our closest relatives in Russia that nobody kills us in the streets because we speak Russian.
So, imagine, that every night you are expecting foreign troops to march into your city. You know that you have only two hours to escape from the city. You prepared the emergency bag with medicines, canned food, flashlights, mats to sleep on – the minimum you need to survive. You go crazy from constant monitoring of the news via Internet. So, to avoid feeling completely frustrated you go check if your army is ready to defend your family, because your city is only 150 km from the Russian border. And when you do see your army, to your complete surprise you discover the young boys in sports clothing who are stationed next to a few broken armored troop-carriers. And all of a sudden you are hit with a epiphany, that these boys , shivering in winter weather and suffering from colds, are the soldiers who are supposed to protect you, and the several broken armored troop-carriers are all the equipment available to them.
And you realize that the only way to keep your spirit up is to do something, like bringing food to these young soldiers, warm clothes, replacement parts for the broken troop carriers. In two weeks a group of women raised the money to fix 17 armored troop carriers. And that was only the beginning. And shortly thereafter you realize that there are thousands of people around you who are doing just the same.
There are many supporters: somebody gives money, somebody brings warm tea and coffee, somebody buys warm clothes… I saw a line of cars delivering food to soldiers. The soldiers even had a joke: “If it is a war, we will fight it with cans of condensed milk and cakes: we have such a huge pile of them, but no weapons”.
That is how in March of 2014 my compatriots restored and equipped the Ukrainian army. Not because anybody of us wanted a war, but because were pleading for peace. As one can see, those Ukrainian regions that demonstrate massive support of the Ukrainian army are peaceful so far.
However, those regions, which welcomed the foreign army for extra 100 EURO a month because they refused to learn the language of their country of citizenship, are now engulfed by war. According to the
United Nations data, as of now there are three hundred thousand internally displaced persons, the refugees from the conflict zone. Who do you think are the first to meet those refugees at the railway stations, feed them, give them clothes, money for tickets (even to those who run to Russia!), and provide shelter and medical assistance?? I assure you, it was not the failing official institutions, but
regular pro-Ukrainian women and men, who decided to help their fellow human beings, helping even those refugees who hate Ukraine and Ukrainians who rescue them.
It is very hard for me to talk about the present situation in Ukraine, because it touches my family and my friends on a deep and personal level.
A woman with five kids (one of them handicapped) from Luhansk is living in my parents’ house. My brother went as a volunteer to guard the town which was liberated from the separatists in the summer. He reported that in spite of the declared ceasefire, in this supposedly peaceful town they heard the sounds of bombs very close to them. All my friends and most of the relatives are involved in helping army, refugees, wounded citizens and soldiers, or those who disappeared or are in captivity. Some of my friends were wounded or killed in this undeclared, but a very real war.
So, what kind of results are we facing after the year long fight for our New Independent Country?
•It is clear that in fact a Russian-Ukrainian War has been in progress for at least half a year. However, our President , along with the highest levels of Ukrainian have not dared to call it what it really is, the Russian-Ukrainian war, but are using the euphemism such as «an anti-terrorist operation».
— It is no secret that during Yanukovich rule all the upper echelons of Military and National Security departments were filled with pro-Russian agents, who have remained in their positions till this day. That could explain countless evidence of a very strange behavior of the Ukrainian authorities, and a very strange nature of this war in general.
The soldiers we know told us of a story that looks like treason: they had to let the enemies with lorries full of weapons go away. The enemy was permitted to leave town undisturbed, in the middle of the day in plain sight of our troops who were helpless, just watching the enemy disappear somewhere in Donetsk or Luhansk, but could not fire because they had no orders to do so. We were told that our soldiers are not allowed to fire without the official orders from above –
and they hardly receive those orders, all the while the enemy keeps firing at them as much as they want.
The Ukrainian checkpoint guards are obligated to allow through trucks carrying fuel into the ATO zone, knowing full well that this fuel will be used in Russian tanks.
We’ve had the war for at least half a year. But the army is still not supplied with the cold weather gear, winter shoes, or portable stoves, not to mention such essentials as communication, surveillance, and reconnaissance equipment. Regular people keep supplying the army with uniforms and shoes, communication equipment, navigation gear, medications and so on. Just like they were doing it in the summer, volunteers continue to evacuate the wounded from the front lines using advanced life support ambulances, which were bought with the money raised by the community.
The problems, related to the external threats and the inability of the Ukrainian bureaucratic apparatus to adequately protect Ukraine’s territorial integrity, are indeed fully indicative of the enormous internal issues: the exact issues that almost led to the country’s disintegration. There is pervasive, total corruption, and inability of the government institutions to meet the contemporary requirements and
demands of the Ukrainian society. To this moment, there have not been any substantial attempts by the government to initiate any changes.
The parliamentary elections, in spite of becoming a disappointment for many activists, nonetheless have demonstrated that the Ukrainian society has launched the irreversible process of transformation of its mentality. We can only hope that the authorities will finally realize what is happening, otherwise…»