Sorry I won’t be coming, a matter of principle – Євромайдан 1st January 2014December 30, 2013
Regular visitor as I am to Євромайдан in Odessa, partially in a supportive role of gaining a more genuine, robust and responsive democracy in Ukraine – eventually – and partially due to quite obvious political science interests, I must explain why I won’t be attending the Євромайдан gathering on New Years Day.
This is not going to be due to a lack of sleep or an overindulgence of alcohol. It is not due to a weakening in my support for the cause of democracy – that remains as robust as ever.
It is due to one simple decision by Svoboda – and by default the opposition parties of UDAR, Batkivshchyna, and civil society through either their firm or tacit support by allowing that day’s gathering to be hijacked.
Svoboda has decided that as 1st January is the date upon which Stepan Bandera was born, it will be a celebration of his birth – and that the gathered Євромайдан crowds will celebrate it with them.
Well, to be blunt I won’t allow myself to be used in such a way.
I do not stand in the cold and/or rain, talk to people, take photographs and make my support for a more democratic Ukraine known, for it to subsequently be reframed as support for a Ukrainian historical character of dubious deeds and that represents far right nationalism in today’s Ukraine.
Neither will I partake in any nationalist chanting or flag waving.
I am not supporting the democratic ideals behind Євромайдан for it to usher in nationalism – whether it does or not as a result. And legislation such as this opposition proposal stands a very good chance of being misused if that ever happened!
Whilst I recognise the current need for there to be, if not unity, a working relationship between opposition political parties and their supporters – and I readily accept that Svoboda has far higher demonstrator representation, vis a vis the other parties, than is representative of their national political popularity otherwise – I have no desire to spend that day perceived to be idolising Stepan Bandera or supporting Ukrainian nationalism.
I am no more supportive of far right nationalism than I am of communism. Both are exceptionally cancerous and damaging ideologies to which I have not, do not, and will not, be associated with by way of misrepresentation should I simply turn up – as I would otherwise have done – for Євромайдан 1st January.
Quite why UDAR, Batkivshchyna and civil society has allowed what would otherwise be a significant day – the first protest gathering on the first day of 2014 – to have its integrity compromised like this is beyond me.
I refuse to be used as a “numbers pawn” in what will only magnify east/west divisions over Stepan Bandera and the OUN, with harm to the integrity of Євромайдан itself a likely result.
Inclusiveness and tolerance are what is needed to unite all of society behind the democratic cause – for that is a genuine societal cross cutting cleavage. Svoboda’s branding of the New Year’s Day Євромайдан demonstration a celebration of Stepan Bandera’s birthday is most definitely not going to do that.
In fact, if I worked for the forces of Mordor it would be used to as ammunition to further erode Євромайдан support in my traditional voter constituencies.
Thus I shall probably show up at the following Євромайдан gatherings later in January – and with nothing to get up for on 1st January any more – will probably drink a little in excess now too.