Tuesday, 12 February 2013

Pra-Did's Language

Unabashedly Canadian, my ancestral lineage nonetheless derives from Ukraine.  Though my family has been here over a century, we strive to maintain our language, culture and traditions.  It is so normal for us, however I know that other families have experienced other forms of assimilation in Canada.  Perhaps my family just stubbornly called it "who we are".

So when meeting new Canadians, new arrivals from the ancestral lands of Ukraine, it continues to strike me so odd that some of them carry perceptions of their homeland that are so different from mine.   Call me naive, but it seems that if a person grows up in a country with such a vast and impressive treasure of history one would feel proud to speak the language and revel in its beauty.  I love speaking English too.  But it doesn't deter me from wanting to retain Ukrainian for my - hopefully - children's children....etc.  There is just something delicious about singing the baby songs, praying in pra-did's language, and knowing this honors the ties that go back centuries.  The smells, the tastes, the fabric of time - these things bring me great joy.

Many people of Ukraine have suffered, it is true, due to the political acts of the "rulers".  It is not even subtle.  Forcing generations of Ukrainians to assimilate into a fabricated culture - the Soviet culture - all while stripping them of their spirituality, the heroic stories of history,  ancestral memory, and language of their forefathers is just beyond me.  Dishonorable if nothing else.  There is a dehumanizing sense about it all - that certain people have less worth, that robbing people of their dignity, their spirits, their property, their land, their culture is ....  Usurping historical truths, it is like a bully who believes the louder the noise, the truer the lie.

On the other hand, I know of wonderful people who have performed mission work the world over, working to preserve ancestral songs, rebuild communities whose domestic way of life has been shattered through no fault of their own.  Good people doing good work for a world that needs help.  It is time to speak truth to power.  Thank heavens for people of moral conviction.

Did you know that in the 2013 year, Ukraine could celebrate the 1025 year since its baptism into the Christian faith?  That is a ridiculously important idea too.  Imagine, Ukraine existed that long ago as a unified  nation, and the faith was accepted as the state religion that long ago, the kings and queens were welcomed in houses of European royalty, and ... Well, what historical truths have been intentionally twisted? Whose loud stories have we been suckered into hearing?   Who owns history?  What bully in our midst has asserted, postured, manipulated and usurped?  Well, truth has a subtle way of expressing itself - quietly, quietly, it simply is.

I wonder what the Ukrainian Christian community in Calgary is planning for the 2013 year?  
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