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    Posted February 21, 2014 by
    Kiev, Ukraine
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

    KievG and 14 other iReporters contributed to Open Story: Ukraine crisis as it unfolds

    Myths About the Conflict in Ukraine Perpetuated in Western Media

    I am a US Citizen living in Kiev for many years. All hell broke loose yesterday morning. Live fire is being exchanged. I witnessed columns of dead and wounded delivered to the medical tents on Maidan Square. There is a lot of media misinformation in the West, including by AP, Reuters etc. This is misinforming the public about the heroism taking place there, and the importance of these events to the free world.
    Rumor 1. The Conflict is About Joining the EU- this is not about the EU. The President engaged in negotiations with the EU for over two years, and did an about face just 2 weeks before the signature ceremony. Instead, he came to an arrangement with his Russian benefactor, Vladimir Putin, who carefully maintains his influence here. This triggered spontaneous student demonstrations, not because of the EU, but because once again this proved that this regime was built on lies and Soviet style intrigue and propaganda. The question is: will a modern, civilized democracy in Europe be taken back to totalitarianism without a fight? The answer: no.
    Rumor 2. This is a fascist power grab. This is not a fascist power grab. The vast majority of the 300,000 people who came out in protest at it's peak, and the 30-50,000 who are there daily, are ordinary citizens. They are doctors and lawyers and engineers and nurses and bus drivers. I have seen my Ukrainian colleagues, who are Western educated investment bankers, take their lunch hour to buy food from the market and deliver it to the Maidan, distribute flyers in the Metro after work, and spend the night on the square tending to the injured. The protesters started wearing makeshift protection, such as helmets and knee pads, and carrying bats, in response to several brutal unprovoked assaults by riot police. They started to cover their faces in response to brutal cold, and then to hide their identities from the brutal dictatorial laws passed on x-mas. They started wearing gas masks to be able to breathe through the burning tire smoke they use to shield themselves from sniper fire. These are not fascists, although Putin would like you to think so. (I am watching the news right now, about a bus full of uniformed police officers who just arrived from L'viv to Kiev to join the protesters and convince their colleagues to do the same.)
    Rumor 3. This is Ukrainian speaking East vs Russian leaning West. This is not an "East v West" problem. Ukraine has been taken hostage by a criminal political class, who is raping the country, stealing assets, using State organs (courts, police, army) to terrorize the common population, and stacking all levels of government with thieves and crooks who pass bags of money up to the top to perform regular everyday government functions. Live fire has broken loose in the streets, it has turned into a real war. But it is not West v East. Many many protests are cropping up all over the East, even in the face of paid thugs savagely assaulting these protesters under police protection. Large groups are blocking roads to prevent military convoys from reaching Kiev. (A group laid on the train tracks to stop a battalion of 500 combat ready soldiers from deployment. They turned them back.) Parents are coming from all over Ukraine to retrieve their children, Army recruits and riot police cadets; and asking all parents to do the same. These poor kids, on the side of law enforcement, are being used as cannon fodder by a criminal government sending them to the lines.
    There is a local saying "When a Russian protester sees the riot police he turns and runs. When a Ukrainian protester sees the riot police he calls his two friends and stays to fight to the death." The acts of heroism I have witnessed in the past 4 mos are indescribable. The churches are being converted into makeshift hospitals. The central square is mobilized with food, clothes, blankets and protection for all who come. The propaganda machine will tell you this is Western backed and paid for revolt, but this is all happening spontaneously- a cry of the soul of the people, who will sit idly by no more. For those who are interested in many interesting facts and real time updates, please feel free to join my Facebook page: GregSF. Please help to report accurately the plight of the citizens in this European country of 45 million, who are fighting for Western values in the face of Russia and local tyranny.
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