Friday, 14 March 2014

Praying for Truth in Calgary-March 16

Фото: Volodymyr Kukhtevych
Ukrainian flag over Historic City Hall in Calgary
March 7-16, 2014
Manipulation of events happening in Ukraine border on the absurd lately. As a Canadian, aware of my citizen rights and responsibilities, it astounds me to hear a foreign power blatantly state their military forces may occupy a portion of Ukraine, and the world should simply stay quiet. And when a foreign entity decides to hold a referendum on sovereign land, by the point of a gun, the world should, again, stay quiet.

The children of Ukraine and her international diaspora understand and respect that the rule of law stands to protect the peace, protect life, protect property and agreements that bind civil society. That is, perhaps why many have emigrated to lands where law and order abide. That is why, in these early spring days in Calgary, the Ukrainian community is again gathering to stand in solidarity with Ukraine in her struggle to enter a new future, one designed and selected by her law abiding citizens!

Calgary's Mayor Naheed Nenshi and the city administration have approved the flying of Ukraine's flag over our beautiful city this week to honor the Ukrainian people during the Sochi Paralympic games - from March7-16th, 2014.. This symbolic act of solidarity with freedom loving people should give hope and confidence to people all over the world that Canada stands for peace, for civil society, for honoring of laws and responsible citizenship.

I understand that Montreal's multi-ethnic community recently gathered in similar fashion, joining Syrian, Georgian, Tatar, Muslim, Jewish, Venezuelan, Lithuanian, Polish and other communities, in a huge outpouring of mutual support for those whose homeland has been negatively affected by their "interesting" relationship with Ukraine's north eastern neighbour. Let us, Calgarians, in similar fashion, stand together in solidarity for truth, dignity, the rule of law, and the sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity of freedom aspiring nations.

Citizens for a better world, please join Calgary in prayer for Ukraine's sovereignty on Sunday, March 16th at 4PM in front of Calgary's Historic City Hall at 700 Macleod Trail SE. More information from Ukrainian Canadian Congress President Robert Kalinovich at 403-703-4425 or Halia Wilson at 403-512-2263.

Saturday, 8 March 2014

Shevchenko's Hromada in Calgary

Taras Shevchenko monument on the Dnipro River near Kaniv
My fond recollection of singing, performing, reciting Taras Shevchenko's amazing writing spans my entire lifetime. Ukrainian school was a place to form some of my strongest life-time friendships. Today, a Canadian public school student by law may study a variety of languages, and some very fortunate ones in a bilingual Ukrainian and English setting. Studying the great literature of the world, one such Saskatoon young person has also learned to love the powerful, moving works of Taras Shevchenko, the bard of Ukraine. She writes : "When all of the awful events happened there, almost leading to war, I was honestly broken, and it made me think a lot about how Shevchenko fought for the freedom of our people. One night I woke up in the middle of my dream and started writing, it was like I was under a spell, wasn’t sure what I was doing in other words. I wrote a poem called “It’s been 200 years” it both talks to the people of Ukraine and about the 200 anniversary of T. Shevchenko."

Kateryna by Taras Shevchenko 1842
Уже 200 років
Там де калина хиталася з вітром,
трава колихалася скрізь.
Тарас Шевченко, наш милий,
писав нам добрий заповіт.
"Любіть, ви діти Україну,
не загубіть коріння все своє,
також любіть ви матір свою милу,
не забувайте слово ви моє.,,

Не бійтесь люди ви свободи,
скажіть ви ворогам своїм.
Шевченко мав таку уже нагоду,
тепер черга і наша розказати всім.
Пройшло вже 200 років,
але пам'ятати будемо завжди,
Героя, Кобзара, Надію,
напротягом як можна,
по землі свобідно йти!
Написала Оля Пільченко                                       

Canada's remarkable diversity, pluralism, tolerance and opportunity is in stark contrast with the events currently pressing on Ukraine, especially Crimea.  In response, many groups in the international diaspora are spontaneously organizing vigils, prayer groups and other activities in support of Ukraine's right to choose their future - their government - their national priorities, and their neighborhood friends. Heros with a cause, indeed!
Calgary's Ukrainian community is gathering to honor Taras Shevchenko on Sunday, March 9, 2014 at Assumption Ukrainian Catholic Church Hall 704-6 STreet NE at 3 PM.  Following the event, the Ukrainian community invites Calgarians of good will to meet for prayer and fellowship in front of old City Hall, where the City of Calgary will be flying the beautiful blue and yellow flag of Ukraine in solidarity with freedom loving people everywhere, especially Ukraine.  Thanks to Canada for its principled stance on the emerging crisis in Ukraine! 

Tuesday, 4 March 2014

Twenty First Century Citizens

Khmelnytsky monument in Kyiv amk2013
The recent events in Ukraine have left me speechless lately.  Like many, I am astounded by the audacity of Ukraine's neighborhood bully.  And the constantly changing scenario fluctuates moment by moment.  So what is true?

Ukraine's relationship with her north eastern partner has been the source of much angst and bloodshed over the centuries. Her patient people have shared, collaborated and created a community of solidarity that stands on the principle of truth. The Ukrainian idea, while expressed in cultural artifacts, songs and dance, is truly about that beautiful ideal. There is a time for everything, for dancing, singing, weaving, planting, and harvesting, ...and yet a droplet of energy properly expended can change everything.
Pereyaslav Khmelnytsky Museum amk2013

Families love their children, children continue to care for their elders in a cycle of mutual love, care and concern - family values matter.  Even when a person departs this physical earth, the continued presence of the 'saints' who have gone to prepare a place for us lingers.  The smells, sights, sounds and remembrances of times past nurture the coming generations.  This is culture.

And so when new generations everywhere contribute improvements to science, communication, medical care and other needs, it is a direct response of care and love for the coming generations.  When a loved one's life is at risk, or in need, the family/community/nation steps in with assistance - we are all one interconnected family.  We may not always admit, but it has always been so. When the earliest travellers stepped into the world, they carried personal honor, truth and principles, trust and reciprocity as their "cultural baggage", and it included poetry, lyrics and histories that nurtured and sustained them through ethical challenges and dangerous times.
Shevchenko Museum in Kaniv amk2013

So when the principled actions of intelligent, patient people in Ukraine over these past months are assessed by the world media, the one consistent message is that these are a very informed and cultured people who care deeply about their land. No longer left in political, social and economic isolation, the twenty first century citizen of Ukraine is crowd sourcing, collaborating, and responding to a system that has cheated them of a real future for so long. Armed with the truth, it hasn't taken long for people to see when rules have been manipulated in a cheating game.  It is Ukraine's gift of patience and fortitude that has made them respond to the smell of tyranny, to stand witness to a manipulative bully, and to speak truth to the power which once held them ransom.

In these changing times, I hope the world continues to be ruled by love, truth and honest family values and that the Golden Rule applies to everyone, including Ukraine.  Who will stand to get the bully and his gang off the field?

Little Hands, Big Hearts

The creative arts play an immense role in the transformation of thinking.  Each life can be full, rich and vibrant through the simple act of creative communication.  That is what the arts foster.  In each of our lives there are ideas that simply cannot be adequately expressed in words, and require the subtleness of an arts expression. It is so with music, dance, and many plastic arts - plastic means to bend.  
Grade 3 Art amk2013
Grade 3 Art amk2013
Grade 3 Art amk2013
These little art projects came from little hands. Their ideas about what is beautiful about Ukrainian people find expression in small statuettes, hand formed of clay, and painted in the bright, happy colours of hope and dreams. 
Grade 3 Art amk2013
Note the embroidered messages, the flowers, the star and colours.  Note the smiling faces, confident and proud.  Note the traditional clothing, practical aprons, festive wreaths, practical belts, and strong postures.   Ready for work, for play, for work and for creating community together.  

Many of us have celebrated our identity in the creation of Ukrainian arts.  It is a language that communicates over time and space - straight to the heart.  Lovely!