Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The violence of dead end street

It wasn't a surprise, but still, it took us by surprise. You could feel it coming after the undeclared state of emergency by the Party of the Regions, the Communist Party and first of all, the current president Yanukovich. You could feel it coming after the week in, week out failure of 'the opposition' to present themselves as a sensible political alternative. You could feel it coming after decades of humiliation, terror and fear. 'Not again a wave of totalitarianism. No way.' You could feel it coming, building up anger, hate and powerlessness, week after week. You could also feel it coming, first of all, because of the failure of Euromaidan to build a sustainable structure, a decent independent leadership and a long term non-violent civil society strategy. In the end the molotov cocktails were probably unavoidable. As Kateryna Kruk wrote: 'I can't agree with the violence, but I can understand it, and I'm behind them.'

The non sense of violence

But, does it make any sense, this violence? Is it gonna solve anything for Ukraine? I'm pretty sure it won't. To be honest, I hate this rhetorics of war, traitors, enemies and revolution. And I read it again, in this Right Sector statement

"Only such a protest, demonstrated by Ukrainians on the 19th of January, made the gangster regime of Yanukovych start talking about the need for negotiations. However, one must be an absolute fool to believe in the prospects of such negotiations. The only language, that is understood by the current criminal regime, is the language of force. Therefore, we condemn and completely reject the idea of negotiations with Yanukovych in order to achieve half of the claims. (...) We consider that the interim government should be formed on a basis of those who really showed his/her leadership skills in the revolutionary struggle. Because of this we still assume the presence of the representatives of present opposition parties in the government as those that continue to have some support among citizens. Therefore, we call on leaders of the opposition parties to come to the side of the people and support our revolutionary demands. People can win even without them, but without the people they will become political corpses."

The last years we have seen this 'revolutions' in Tunisia, in Lybia, in Egypt, in Syria. It is because of this political practice, the imitation of '1789' till '1917', why Lenin called the 20th century 'that age of war and revolution.' Just ask yourself what have these 'war and revolutions' brought us in our great bloody 20th century? Where has this 'revolution' produced something other than bloodshed, terror and counterrevolution?

To be honest, I don't know if Yanuk will be ousted by this violence on 100 square meters. Who knows. What I know is that this violence won't bring Ukraine a promising future. (May I subtly suggest that I'm now a foreign agent and an enemy of the state according to Yanukovich, ánd the Right Sector. Thank you very much. That feels really comfortable.) Euromaidan can't avoid the question: if Yanukovich isn't the future, if 'opposition' isn't the future, if violence isn't the future. What than should we do?

The heroes of the Age of War and Revolution

The answer is not very far away. You just have to see it. You just have to feel it. You just have to ask yourself this question: who were the heroes of the 20th century, this age of war and revolution? Not Lenin, not Stalin, not Castro, not Che Guevara, not Hi Chi Min (do you remember?). The real heroes were Mahatma Ghandi, Martin Luther King, Nelson Mandela, Vaclav Havel, Adam Michnik, L'vivian Adam Kuron, Lech Wałesa. And what made them a hero? I don't answer this question. You do it.

The real puzzle of Euromaidan is, that these two months have not produced an independent leadership and strategy. You didn't like 'the opposition' but you keep reproducing them. (I'm unfair, I know) You shout: 'give us a leader', without producing some yourself. (I'm unfair again, sorry for that) You keep producing your own dependency. (again, sorry, but I'm angry) And then the radicals toke over. I try to understand this, but I hardly can't. Why is it so hard to see, what is so obvious? Why do you talk about Soldarność, without seeing it's non-violence, it long term thinking, under far more difficult circumstances that nowadays in Ukraine? Workers were shot in Gdanks. There was no free press at all. Their leaders were in prison. And they won! Why is that so hard to see?

The only thing I can come up with, I found in the best book available on Stalinism in the Ukraine, by the German historian Katrin Boeckh. She points to the fact that between 1945 and 1991 Ukraine was de facto isolated from the world, due to this well known disaster of Stalinism and Sowjetism. Intellectually you can reconnect to the world and recover in twenty years, but mentally, deep inside becoming a citizen and a democrate, is much harder. It takes 1991, the Orange Revolution and Euromaidan. I agree with Kateryna Kruk. I don't like the violence, but I understand it. I can even admire the courage of these fighters, and the offer they are making. But still there is no alternative: Stop fighting. Start thinking.


  1. Dear Ruud, isn't it obvious that there is no other way than violence. I think you don't have any right to write articles like that. I am a Ukrainian living in the Netherlands, having a good job here, I spent two weeks at peaceful Euromaidan, looking for any opportunity to fight these bastards, and I was so disappointed that I did not have a chance. Seems that now this time came and I will have to come back to fight. Why you would ask? I have a stable life here. My answer is that I have dignity, as well as the people fighting the police in Kyiv right now. We are ready to sacrifice our life for Ukraine, in a way our ancestors cossacks, haydamaks, Sich rifflemen, Ukrainian insurgent army did. The whole history of Ukraine is the history of rebels and warriors. Check it out. You, almost all Dutch people nowadays are pussies, so don't write articles like that, and go fuck yourself.

  2. Dear Anonymous, thank you for you reply. I'm coming to Ukraine for about seven years now. Persistently working on the reduction of corruption of government. When I, and my friends came to Ukraine, we earned no Hrivna for five years. I build a company in Ukraine where your fellow countrymen and women earn a (a part of their) living, funded by the European Union. If your history is a history of rebels and warriors (what isn't true), was has it brought you? I can understand that you're angry. But wouldn't this be the moment to stop this history of violence. What about a national strike? What about non-corporation? What about creating corruption free universities? What about creating a decent political party?

  3. Imagine a situation: they come to your house, they slaughter your kids and rape your wife in front of your eyes and instead of trying to kill them you call the police and stay peaceful.
    That's your suggestion.

  4. No, that is not my suggestion.

  5. You see, now you absolutely agree with me and even have nothing to say. We have to take the arms and fight for our country and for our Nation. For us Freedom and Ukraine are above everything.
    We will kill all these fucking bastards, and will build a really great Ukraine, on the ruins of Kremlin.
    Glory to the Nation! Death to the enemy!