Happy New Year – And a moment to acknowledge you all!December 31, 2015
Customary it is appears to have become to regurgitate “most read” or “favourite” posts throughout 2015 as the year inevitably draws to a close – this blog won’t.
Instead this last entry of 2015 will take the opportunity to wish a Happy New Year each and every one of the 130,000 readers who either mistakenly (in all probability), or deliberately (rather flatteringly) took their time – or indeed wasted their time – rummaging around in the meandering ruminations presented here, coping heroically with the grammatical errors and limited vocabulary that provide proof, if needed, that little time or effort is given to the daily offerings published.
Of the 130,000 readers that visited more than once, then it is humbling – or perhaps a rather sad reflection that there is such a limited commentary upon Ukraine (and Odessa) in the English language that you were forced to return through lack of alternatives.
Further thanks must go to the politicians, local, national, and foreign, that have sought out this blog for the off the record chats during 2015 when passing through Odessa. Likewise, the same thanks goes to the diplomats both domestic and foreign who form an often under-acknowledged front line for Ukraine. The erudite and informative conversations are always something of a joy – even when they simply can’t be repeated.
To the publishers and editors that have requested (paid) essays from this blog after reading it, then a humble thank you (as well as thousands of words) is all that can be offered. The blog was never intended as a “teaser” to attract work.
For those journalists whom will request interviews and “for the record” comment in 2016, the same answer to that of 2015 (and years previous) will apply – The answer remains “No”.
To the think-tanks, GONGOs, NGOs and civil society people who sought an exchange of views during 2015, and to those that jetted your author around Europe to take part in round-tables and to sit on panels full of people far more enlightened and erudite, sincere gratitude is all that can be expressed. There is no better outcome than to leave such events with new ideas, thoughts to ponder, or perhaps most importantly new and intellectually challenging friends.
It is also time for a confession to all those that pressed the “Donate” button on the blog Home Page during 2015 and sent their hard earned money not really knowing how that money would be spent.
A pittance ($24.95) from the far larger grand total received was spent on a banner/logo – self indulgence.
The rest was given to various charities/NGOs and/or impromptu acts of kindness for the needy as witnessed when wandering aimlessly around Odessa – (such as selecting a random pensioner and buying food for a week when witnessing them weighing and pricing a single potato to stretch their meager pension that little further).
However, for those having somewhat blindly pressed “donate” and sent money, then hopefully some integrity is projected by the blog to earn such trust, and thus you will understand the morality of the author in “further donating” your hard earned money to causes and people far more in need (and far more deserving), even if it was meant for the betterment of the blog. For those that pressed “donate” with intent of buying the author a beer, and are therefore disappointed that no beer was bought – apologies, your forgiveness is sought, but be assured that many a prayer has been offered for you by many pensioners in many Orthodox churches in Odessa for your (redirected (and perhaps unintended)) kindness.
2016 will not see the princely sum of $24.95 spent on more blog aesthetics, so in all probability all “donations” will be “further donated” ad hoc to various needy causes/people – for 2016 will remain a hard year for many in Odessa and Ukraine.
When it comes to thanks, it would be entirely remiss not to thank those largely unknown soldiers on the eastern front doing their duty, and all those volunteers that work anonymously and tirelessly to support them – and support the other areas of Ukrainian life where the State is failing.
Such people are a constant and perhaps troubling reminder of just how underutilised our time or abilities – or both – actually are in comparison.
With that, a Happy New Year for 2016 is wished to all – and for those that will continue to face seemingly unending fecklessness when dealing with the Ukrainian establishment and institutions, some wise words from a wise man that will continue to stand the test of time, and that will hopefully restore your constitution before dragging the feckless kicking and screaming into doing what is necessary – “When you wake up in the morning, tell yourself: The people I deal with today will be meddling, ungrateful, arrogant, dishonest, jealous, and surly. They are like this because they can’t tell good from evil. But I have seen the beauty of good, and the ugliness of evil, and have recognized that the wrongdoer has a nature related to my own.” – Marcus Aurelius.
Normal service (such as it is) will resume in 2016, with the same aim of giving you something about Ukraine to read during your coffee break.