- Posted March 10, 2014 by
Kyiv city, Ukraine
This iReport is part of an assignment:
By 1945 the second great war (World War II), had in Europe at least, ended with the surrender of Germany, but only after claiming the lives of nearly 60 million people. Men, women and children, representing just over 2% of the world population at the time. It was then determined that the war that engulfed the entirety of our planet, would be written about, the tales of triumph and defeat would be retold, books would be written, films would reenact, and memorials would be built. But under no circumstances, would the scourge of war that has since shaped this world of ours, be relived, in this generation, nor for the generations of those to follow. And so on the 26th of June 1945 in San Francisco California, the charter of the United nations was signed.
The United Nations have in one respect succeeded, there has been no third great war, thus fulfilling its main goal as stated in the charter. However as Ukrainian sovereignty is threatened from forces both foreign and domestic, and risks being torn apart, thrown into uncertainty, it took not the political representatives of the UN, but hundreds of normal citizens, expatriates, travelers and the like, to attempt to fulfill another part of the charter's preamble and in the eyes of many the most important part.
“to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of
men and women and of nations large and small,”
On the 9th of march 2014 these Expats for EuroMaidan gathered together, at Shevshenko park across from the university that bears the Ukrainian poets name in the heart of Kyiv. And as has been done many times before marched in unity from the park to Kyiv's Maidan. Some of the participants knew each other, but many such as I were new to the movement. But none of this mattered, among the people were men women and children, whole families in some cases. They came from places far and wide, the flag of India, Brazil, and Israel were of those represented along with nearly every flag of the countries of the European Union. As well as Canada, the United states, the United Kingdom, Australia and New Zealand.
Celebrating the 200th birthday of Taras Shevshenko, the park across from his university and the Maidan itself were full to capacity, many came to celebrate, many were still there to mourn, but as the congregation of foreigners and expats who call Kyiv home made there way through Maidan past the stage, where a chorus choir were performing, where the charred buildings still stand, where the flowers left to mourn those who have lost their lives line the pavement, something remarkable happened. The people, mentally and physically beaten, exhausted, and now threatened by a foreign power, applauded.
They said thank you, they cheered, they touched, they cried, took photos, but more importantly if only for a few minutes, a few moments that in the grand scheme of things may be forgotten, it seemed as if they still had hope. That people from nations far away, cared enough to show there support truly meant the world to them. It all goes back to the charter of the United Nations. They, if only for a moment, in a way, fulfilled what the charter has been unable to do so far, reaffirmed faith not only in fundamental human rights, but in the dignity and worth of the human person, men and women, of nations large and small.
The politics that have stunted any attempts at a diplomatic resolution to what has held Ukraine in its grasp, from Kyiv in the west, to Crimea in the East causes us to lose sight of what the United nations truly are. Ordinary citizens from different walks of life, uniting to, at the very least show support to a people who desperately need to be shown, that there are those of us in the world despite distance, religion, or language, who care, and support there efforts in ensuring that they can do and have what the remaining lines of the Preamble to the UN charter is meant to ensure.
-to establish conditions under which justice and respect for the obligations arising from treaties and other sources of international law can be maintained, and
-to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedom,
Taras Shevshenko for whom the university is named after and who appears on the 100 hryvnia note of Ukraine, did not live to see the UN formed. But perhaps in his poetry was able to convey what these expatriates have come to know, what the people of Kyiv and Ukraine have come to see. That the true nature of the United Nations, is not merely to prevent war from occurring, it is to reaffirm what unfortunately took two World Wars to understand.
That we share every battle, every pain and every triumph. That if one of us is in chains, whether they be physical or figurative, none of us are free. That each and every war, is a World War.
Thoughts of mine, thoughts of mine,
You are all that is left for me,
Don't you desert me, too,
In this troubling time.
Come fly to me my gray-winged
From beyond the wide Dnipro
To wander in the steppes
With the poor Kirghiz.
They already are destitute
And naked, But they still pray
To God in freedom.
Fly here, my dear ones.
With peaceful words
I'll welcome you like children,
And we'll weep together.
1847, Orsk Fortress