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Memorials and museums – 3 years on (Epitaphs)

November 21, 2016

Upon the third anniversary of the commencing of EuroMaidan/Revolution of Dignity, President Poroshenko announced a memorial and museum to be housed on the Avenue of the Heavenly Hundred (formerly Institutska) in Kyiv.

Quite rightly .

He stated “A memorial to the heroes of the “Heavenly Hundred” not only marks the fact of its existence, but the location should remind all about the high price that people paid for Ukrainian independence, freedom and democracy.

Unquestionably.  Not only to act as a solemn commemorative reminder, but also to act as a motivational spur to prevent any backsliding both now and in the future.

As such President Poroshenko announced a charitable foundation to raise the funds, for which he would take personal responsibility and of which he would be a sponsor, going on to state that “the museum should be modern, should look to the future, to be formed from the best international and Ukrainian artists.”

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Well OK.  If the current difficulties regarding land ownership upon which memorial and museum will be placed are resolved, if possible it should perhaps be so orientated as to face “West” if ticking all possible symbolic boxes?

Whatever – the result will have to strive to do justice to what was in effect the birth of a modern Ukraine (despite the current complications following that birth).

There will naturally be those reminded of previous charitable foundations of former Ukrainian presidents that delivered little more than scandal and allegations (Yushchenko and his Ukraine 3000 foundation for example).  There will be those that find it somewhat borderline Pinchuk-esque.  There will also be those that consider it politically expedient populism at a time when opinion polls continue to desert those currently in power.

Well may be so,, but there is no doubt that a permanent and poignant public reminder is required.

However three years on from the beginning of Euromaidan/Revolution of Dignity, perhaps the priority over monuments and museums remains justice?

Justice via due process for what occurred during that time is surely first and foremost that owed, and is definitely a rightful and fitting legacy beyond any honorary construction or artistic imortalisation.  Particularly when it appears to far too many that Ukraine progresses inch by inch in spite of, and not because of, those that politically inherited what became a nation aware of, reunited with, and consolidated within its identity.

Of course monuments, museums and justice are all rightfully due to those that forever changed the Ukrainian view of Ukraine and for Ukraine – but does not any values based (ultimate) sacrifice not demand of those values when they prevail to provide justice first (and commemoration thereafter)?

The question for the reader therefore, which will come first – due process and justice, or monuments and museums?  It would be the saddest of epitaphs for Ukraine to deliver a museum and monument before justice.

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