Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Time's up. Isn't it?

If it wasn't that tragic, you could call it ironic. Just minutes ago the postman delivered three books: Ivan Dzyuba's Internationalism or Russification, Vyacheslav's Chornovil's Chornovil Papers and Michael Browne's Ferment in Ukraine. Three books from and about dissidence in the sixties and seventies in Ukraine. Time has always been a matter of utmost interest for Euromaidan. Where did Euromaidan come from? Where will it go? Now, after the brutal and unforgivable death of twentyfive Ukrainian citizens, just people like you and me - policemen doing their jobs, journalists on their way home, citizens standing for their right - it seems that time is up.

Is it? Euromaidan didn't start in November from scratch. It didn't start in 2004 with the Orange Revolution. It didn't start in 1991 with the unexpected indepence. It started in 1965 - if I may choose a year - when Ivan Dzyuba published his Internationalism or Russification. It started with the Ukrainian dissidents, who began in the sixties with their courageous fight for intellectual and national independence. It started with the struggle for the freedom of thinking, writing and publishing. And it took courage, a quite different courage than today on Maidan. It took the courage of independent thinking. Of standing up for your right on your own, not in the midst if thousands. Of standing up for your right in a post-stalinist, post-totalitarian sovjet state. Of standing up for your right, being sure that you will be in prison. Being sure that you will be prosecuted, and convicted to years of forced labour. And they were. Not for two months, but four to six years. Not in public trials, but in secret prefabricated trials, where judges convicted them 'in accordance with the law', thus showing what political justice actually is. Just imagine: six years of forced labour, just for saying in public what you thought wat was right.

Was the time up for these courageous dissidents, when they were put behind bars? Was the time up for Dzyuba, Chornovil, Moroz, or Lina Kostenko? I don't think so. They problably new that they were engaged in something foolish, impossible without a garantuee of success - to put it mildly. They must have known that they offered their life for the next generation. They were prepared to go to jail for it. Maybe even to get killed. But, as I read and understand them, they weren't prepared to kill.

We are the next generation. We inherited the legacy of these dissidents. We owe them something. Our most important and courageous job is to turn Euromaidan in a non violent, political, national movement. Today, after the Maidan killing fields, this seems foolish, impossible or even a betrayal. Still it has to be done in a decent, sober way. Yanukovich can't and won't stop the violence. But we can. His time is up, not ours.

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