Maidan, the heart of Europe

2014/02/28 • Analysis & Opinion, Euromaidan 2 years, Maidan

k.b.sigov_2-200x300Konstantin Sigov, 16 February 2014

Greetings to you from Kyiv, where I find myself at the moment.

For several months, I have been waking up thinking of the people who spend their nights on Independence Square, called Maidan, in Kyiv. Their bodies must withstand cold; their spirits, fear. During the day they welcome us with smiles and earnest handshakes, determined above all not to give up. These men and women of very different professional backgrounds and of varying worldviews embody the civic society of our country in all its great diversity. Volunteers of all ages do all they can in genuine solidarity. The golden rule of Maidan: absence of self-interest and selfishness. Each of these people says “no” to lies and repression. In the heart of Europe, here and now, these people stand opposed to inhumanity. They have accepted Pascal’s wager, the wager of our faith, without which we would have no future.

Listen to them carefully. The Maidan demonstrators say “no” to active and vindictive nihilism. They say “no” to an inhuman view of people. Nobody listens to them. They are treated as if they are inaudible; their initiative is treated as absurd and weak. They are being shown that the Europe for which they risk their lives no longer exists, that there will be no new renaissance. But Europe is wounded when people are imprisoned and beaten in Kyiv. And if it suffers, it must still be alive! Those who go out to the squares of the cities and towns of Ukraine are witnesses to this. They have not been afraid to express their solidarity with Maidan in Kyiv. They had no fear of beatings and arrests. They even dare to hope that they could be heard in Berlin, in Rome, in Paris. Would their voices be silenced by the howling propaganda of Putin? The clear message of human dignity, would such hardships alter it? 

For several months, I have been waking up thinking of the people who spend their nights on Independence Square, called Maidan, in Kyiv. Their bodies must withstand cold; their spirits, fear. During the day they welcome us with smiles and earnest handshakes, determined above all not to give up. These men and women of very different professional backgrounds and of varying worldviews embody the civic society of our country in all its great diversity. Volunteers of all ages do all they can in genuine solidarity. The golden rule of Maidan: absence of self-interest and selfishness. Each of these people says “no” to lies and repression. In the heart of Europe, here and now, these people stand opposed to inhumanity. They have accepted Pascal’s wager, the wager of our faith, without which we would have no future.

It is in all this that the direction of the existence of Kyiv and Kyiv’s wager lie today.  A wager, of course, hard to accept. And yet, in it, the possibility of a new wave of solidarity awakening in Europe. It is the chance to refuse to lie to ourselves and to others. The chance to refuse to bend under the force of violence and play a game without rules. The people of Maidan are simply and firmly defending the right to human speech, the rules of law, and the rules of fair play. What are European values without the possibility of giving and keeping one’s word?

Skeptical commentaries about “Brussels bureaucrats” cannot serve the European citizens as an excuse for inaction. It is necessary to analyze carefully the particularities of the demonstrations on Maidan. The quality of attention and of understanding is essential. It is in these moments that your intellect can help open your eyes to facts which can no longer be silenced. The multiplicity of perspectives will be very useful if we are to write together the Kyivan “diary.” A joint blog between Kyiv and Paris can help us build bridges of civic cooperation. Thank you for this perspective.

And I thank all Europeans who refuse to see Pascal’s “thinking reed” destroyed by violence. I send greetings from my friends in Kyiv. We invite you to recall the great European authors, who knew how to oppose fear. We feel their timelessness, as if Pascal was writing his “Lettres” tonight. This letter is addressed to us, to you and to me. This is the time to remember by heart. In conclusion, I would like to quote:

“It is a strange and lengthy war, the war in which violence attempts to oppress truth. All the efforts of violence cannot weaken the truth, and only serve to elevate it. All the lights of truth can do nothing stop the violence, and only provoke it more. When force is facing force, that which is stronger destroys that which is weaker; when words are facing words, then those which are true and convincing disorient and dissolve those which are empty and lying…”

Greetings from Kyiv-Mohyla University. Our students and professors are taking part in the struggle for our freedom and yours.

Thank you for your attention.

Until we meet again!

Konstantin Sigov, philosopher and professor at Kyiv-Mohyla University

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Edited by Robin Rohrback

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  • chornajuravka

    Reblogged this on Voices of Ukraine.

  • http://www.NewUnificationChurch.com “Salvation Rose” aka ‘Chris Diamant’

    The civil movement in Kyiv has grown into the most powerful manifestation of the defense of European values since the EU’s founding. In proclaiming this, members of the European Parliament declare that the Ukrainian protests can breathe a second wind into the core values harbored by the architects of European unification after WWII. The driving forces behind unification have faded into the background as people forget the horrors of war and take for granted the advantages of peace.

  • http://fosterdufd.wordpress.com/2014/05/26/in-addition-an-apprentice-should-be-willing-to-follow-instructions-and-take-direction-from-a-supervisor/ Shelia

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