Friday, 4 April 2014

New Times

I have been paying attention to the international press about the situation in Ukraine, as have many other millions of people.  In fact, I was startled to discover there are actually 20 million people identifying as Ukrainians in the diaspora! Astounding, there are actually people on islands of the Pacific, living under another political jurisdiction, identifying as Ukrainians there too!  Imagine churches, clubs, organizations, dancers, ......everywhere!  The diaspora is a very interesting phenomenon!

Whether one assimilates quickly or slowly in the diaspora, a lot of people have close ancestral ties to their homeland.  Caring, hoping, and contributing in very small ways to the efforts for Ukraine's wellbeing, there are thousands of places where Ukrainians gather for community - outside of the homeland borders! Astounding!

Sadly, here in my community, when the most recent events started unfolding in Ukraine, there were people who were "of another opinion". What other opinion?  Imagine, people living with freedoms, rights, privileges guaranteed by their new homelands, in the embrace of a democratic, sovereign state, presented with economic opportunity for all, being of "another opinion" on the status of Ukraine! Imagine those who would not extend a prayer or stand in principle because of "another opinion".  Quite frankly, I have been quietly incensed!  And I don't mean in a holy way!

The generations of people who escaped the clutches of totalitarian states, choosing dignity, freedom and opportunity for their offspring, all dreamed of a time when their homeland would attain these cherished prizes too. Ukrainian churches, institutions, organizations, foundations, choirs, drama groups, dance troupes, Ukrainian schools, scouts, youth groups, community connections and personal relationships create opportunities of embrace, with the smells, tastes, sounds, textures, of "home".  They all flourish out of an idea  - the beautiful idea that justice and truth should always prevail, that the torch of freedom is raised for all!

Twenty million people of Ukrainian ancestry in the diaspora - and about 46 million in Ukraine?  Does that mean one third of all Ukrainians have left the country for better opportunities elsewhere!  What does that say about roots and wings?  New Times indeed.  
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