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    Posted March 5, 2014 by
    Honolulu, Hawaii
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Ukraine unrest

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    My Protest—My Memories of Peace


    In Memory of the Victims of Independence Square, Kiev, Ukraine


    I was lucky enough just few short months ago to visit Ukraine. I spent some memorable time in Odessa, a famous port city, and in historical Yalta in Crimea.


    The amazing impressions I received of these beautiful places with incredible cultural diversity and such warm-hearted, friendly people are still fresh in my mind. I was truly impressed by the spirited energy I found there as well as the cherishment of their newfound sovereignty, their freedom and the deep-rooted wish to control their own political and economic destiny.


    I met with the people’s almost impatient excitement at the opportunity to grab with every possible means a promising future and a better life for upcoming generations. There was a “new building smell” in the air mixed with a kind of naive eagerness to show off their new quality of life and achievements in every aspect since the separation from Russia. (USSR)


    I now try desperately to process the new reality of Ukraine and the shocking occupation of the Crimea region with a petrified mind filled also by frightening flashbacks of my own horrific childhood, which I spent under merciless foreign occupation.


    The memories of enchanted sights, beautiful sounds, great cultural events, and meetings with friends in Ukraine have been constantly cascading like jagged, murky, facetted images of a kaleidoscope in my mind’s eye since the dreadful news. I read daily with great sadness my friend’s messages full of worries about the uncertain future. I hope and pray that this so troublesome political nightmare and crisis will end soon.

    I am in disbelief, and my heart is bleeding for the people of Crimea and for the future of a sovereign Ukraine, which was born after the fall of the Berlin Wall and emerged as many of the Eastern European countries like a phoenix from the ashes. Declaration of State Sovereignty of Ukraine was adopted on July 16, 1990.


    To express my protest against the occupation of Crimea, I would like to share my peaceful sights and sounds of Ukraine as memories of Peace. I tried to capture memorable moments and glimpses into everyday life—a smile, beautiful performances, or the hassle and bustle of vital cities with full of hope for a better future. The pictures and sounds offer only random fragmented snapshots in time, an attempt to capture the feelings and impressions I experienced during my visit.


    When I learned about the Russian military invasion in Crimea, my heart froze. For me it is an effort to undo everything good that has happened in the last years in this troubled region. Wars, repression, and brutality are the most horrible inventions of mankind. They are an ancient curse that seems anchored in our collective evolution. Since the dawn of time, shows of force, killings of fellow human beings, taking of each other’s possessions, and the imposition of people’s beliefs on others for might or other reasons have been the mantras of human history. Just last year, many countries tried to direct their own destinies towards democracy only to fall to a mightier force.


    We all should come together and protest with one voice and one heart against every kind of war and tyranny! Now is the time, in the 21st century, that mankind can finally correct its ancient principles! Every nation and every human being deserves to choose its and his or her own destiny.


    I will never forget that freezing morning of an early November day in 1956 when the quiet idyll of my hometown was ripped into shreds by the cold, metallic, chain-rustling sounds of the Russian tanks rattling along Main Street like prehistoric mastodons. I was a small child, but the images of the dreadful occupying force are forever etched in my mind and heart. NO child in this world should experience that same horror again!


    With this report I would like to voice my protest against any military intervention in Crimea, Ukraine. Thank You.


    —PuakeaJutka iReporter


    Photos (Panasonic Lumix FZ35) and videos (iPhone 4) by Jutka T Emoke Barabas.


    Photo 1, Odessa, Ukraine
    Photos 2 – 9 Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine
    Videos Yalta, Crimea, Ukraine

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