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So, Happy Easter Ukraine
by Thanos Kalamidas
2014-04-20 13:14:40
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I presume the last thing most of you expect from me is to write about Easter and its symbolism. Well, you are right. Actually the only thing I could write about the subject is how much ancient Greek believes and celebrations have influence Christianity. Oddly most of the Easter traditions in Greece surrounding the Greek Orthodox Church are a straight reference to ancient traditions and celebrations including their mystic background.

But I’m not going to talk about that.

You see, lately I live a strange déjà vu which I find far more interesting and the same time scary. I grew up in the peak of the cold war in an era where protection to nuclear war was a weekly hour lesson. An era where the enemy was pictured with red eyes – greatly symbolic – wearing a red uniform, with sharp teeth, thorns and a tail you couldn’t see but you were sure it was there.

Later we found out that the other side had similar pictures about us. We were all pictured like fat vampires with sharp teeth, pig shape noses and a tail you couldn’t see but you were sure it was there. In a visit to a museum in St. Petersburg a few years before I couldn’t stop laughing with these images. The same time it saddened me the similarity with the ones in this side of the hill. Actually it was as they were exactly the same pictures with different use of colours.

In 1980s we found out that the other side of the hill was not much different from this side and the grass was neither greener nor weaker. It was just the same. And people in the other side suffered just like the people from this side, and they loved. Lived and died just like in this side. Oh, I can hear you saying something about the system, the political system.

easters01_400Let’s see, do you really think that the dead in Chile feel better than the dead in Poland, because they were imprisoned, tortured and in the end murdered because during Pinochet’s era their country was called Republic of Chile and not The People's Republic of Chile? Do you think the people of Greece during the seven-years dictatorship – a period I actually lived myself – felt better than the people of East Germany while they were imprisoned, exiled, tortured and murdered because they weren’t part of the Warsaw Pact but they were part of the NATO?

People died, tortured and imprisoned unfairly and against any human dignity and right in both sides because of some others’ half true and half lies.

And after 1980s we had the chance to find out the truth. We saw the people of the other side of the hill as tourists and visitors in our side of the hill and we visited their side. We saw that they didn’t have murderous red eyes and they saw that we don’t have pig style nose and sharp teeth. Actually neither side has tails imaginary or true.

We also had the chance to look at the mirror and we saw that our reflexion was not so angelic and pure as we liked to believe. We didn’t have pig noses but we had Guantanamo, we didn’t have sharp teeth but we had eavesdropping and NSA. Half true and half lies.

Oh, don’t worry the other side had her share as well. And in their case the trauma was even worst. You see after decades in oppression they thought that crossing to this side of the hill the grass would be greener. It was not. They actually found out that in some cases they had something right; it just went wrong when it got to humans and power. A very bad cocktail.

The last couple of months we all live the rebirth of that very cold era in Ukraine. An era with half true and many lies. While the west is all about democracy and free speech their actions show that they are after Putin – it used to be communism in general, now it has a name and a face – and to succeed in their agenda they are able to ally even their worst nightmare. The neo-Nazis that thrive in east Europe this minute. Putin on his side is not much better; talking about people’s wishes and liberation from the neo-Nazis he actually invades a neighbour country veiling it with protestors so he will not lose full access to the south and the same time to protect a land that traffics his gas lines to Europe.

In the meantime the Ukrainian people have locked themselves in their houses hoping that this will end soon so they can continue doing all these simple things, everyday things people do. To love, to share, to feel secure and peaceful to make dreams for themselves and their kids.

The plead of the Ukrainian people for peace has been lost under the screams of the McCains and the Putinis. And their voice has been shut from the patrols of camouflaged uniformed undercover Russian militia and black clothed neo-Nazi paramilitary troops that patrol the streets of Ukraine this minute. So much for freedom of speech and the people’s will and wishes both sides champion. Half true and half lies.

You see that’s why I said the whole thing is a déjà vu. In Ukraine this minute we see the rebirth of the cold war with all the half true and half lies we saw forty years ago. And we all know that half true is worst than a full lie.

And by the way I feel that I should remind you one more thing, while half of the world is celebrating Easter and the resurrection, somewhere in this globe, perhaps next to us, next door or in the same neighbourhood a kid suffers and some more die. Actually 30,000 kids will die this Sunday, Easter Sunday, just like they die every Sunday and every single day. Some in Ukraine.

So, Happy Easter, Ukraine!

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