I am not Ukrainian but I support you and here’s why. Part 1

 

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During over eight months of its existence, Euromaidan Press has made a lot of friends around the world that are not Ukrainian in origin, but have shown lots of support to Ukraine through its quest for freedom during Euromaidan and, currently, with fighting off the Russian invasion. We interviewed them to find out why they do it.

Supporting Ukraine was obvious for me; As an EU citizen, I feel responsible to help and support other citizens and countries looking to build a society with high human values and creativity. Ukraine is like this and full of opportunities, but just needs to build itself and believe in itself.
-Arnaud Lumet, Esch-sur -Alzette, LUXEMBOURG

I support Ukraine because I have studied history, especially WWII. It’s impossible to not see the parallels between then and now. It’s painful to see how little the world has learned. It’s demoralizing to feel the apathy in the US and Europe in the face of this great threat to Ukraine and the world.

I support Ukraine because I have studied eastern Europe and Russia. I learned all about Putin and his philosophy before most Americans knew anything about him at all. I recognized him as a threat to global security and called him evil over 10 years ago. Nothing in that space of time shook those beliefs and much of what I perceived then is now coming true.

Ukraine is a beautiful country with amazing people and I always felt at home in Kyiv. Never in my 5 years there I met violence, xenophobia or hate. Ukrainians deserve a better future, which Putin tries to deny them as freedom in Ukraine and a corruption-free democratic future for Ukrainians threaten his rule over the oppressed people of Russia. To stand with Ukrainians in their fight for freedom, liberty, dignity and human rights is every humans duty, who doesn’t wish to live in darkness, bitterness and Russian enslavement.
Thomas C. Theiner, Kyiv, Europe

I support Ukraine because I have studied psychology. I learned about prejudice, discrimination, ethnic violence, hatred, and dehumanization. I see very little of this in even the most extreme nationalist groups in Ukraine, but much of it in the most average Russian Kremlin supporters. Ukraine is clearly striving for a pluralistic society with acceptance of the many different facets of cultural and national identity. Russia personifies xenophobia, targeted hatred, ethnic propaganda, and the glorification of a restrictive homogenous identity to the exclusion of all religious, cultural, political, and regional variations.

I support Ukraine because I lived in Latvia after it gained independence from the USSR. I saw the struggle and pain it went through to shake off the pervasive poison that is the Soviet legacy and crawl towards freedom and democracy. I saw the regular threats and intimidation wielded by Russia to prevent the Baltic countries from pursuing membership in NATO and the EU. I saw that they had very good reason to do so.

I support Ukraine because I am a Slav. My paternal heritage is a combination of Czech and Rusyn. It is very likely that my ancestors lived in modern day Ukraine. It is certain that they were oppressed by the tsars, dictators, and tyrants that Putin desires to emulate. Not much seems to have changed. Russia has long referred to Ukrainians as “brothers” in a paternalistic and patronizing way. Ukrainians ARE my brothers, in blood and at heart.

My reasons for siding with Ukraine are straightforward. I was appalled by the behaviour of Russia in the 1980’s(Georgia) and 1990’s (Chechnya). I had visited Ukraine for business 4 years ago, and when I saw the first news from Mustafa Nayem on 21st November 2013, I had hopes that maybe the promise of the Orange Revolution might be fulfilled. After the euphoria of the triumph on Maidan my outrage at the invasion and expropriation of Crimea, meant that I had to do what little I could to help. Giving money is easy – I was keen to do more and actively contribute if I could.

I support Ukraine because I am an American. My maternal heritage can be traced back to the beginning of US history and the early settlers who fled persecution in Europe for the chance to build their own life on their own terms in the New World. They made plenty of mistakes along the way, but the ideology of a right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness changed the world. Ukraine has made some mistakes in the past too. But it still has a right to self-determination free from oppression by a bully of a neighbor who believes it should control the world on its own primitive and violent terms.

I support Ukraine because I believe in right and wrong. It is wrong to invade a neighbor under a guise of “humanitarian aid”, to support terrorism, to intentionally use civilians as human shields, to try to destabilize a neighboring country for your own gain, to arrest and murder those who point out human rights violations, to whip up hatred and violence with intentional lies, to hypocritically accuse others of improper behavior as you blatantly disregard treaties and international law, and to oppress others so you can continue to oppress your own people. It is right to stand up to this behavior. It is honorable to continue to do so when no one will help you in any significant way.

I support Ukraine because I believe in democracy. It may not be the right answer in every time in every place, but when a society is ready for it and willing to fight for it, they should be supported in pursuing that goal. The Ukrainian people deserve better than what they have experienced under previous rulers and they have shown a willingness to commit time, energy, and money to making a real change happen. They have shown a hunger and thirst for democratic principles and values that put the old timers in Europe to shame. While western Europe fails to appreciate what it already has, Ukraine brings a passion for what it knows it wants. 

I support Ukraine because of the people – they are beautiful. It strikes me how resourceful they can be. They deserve to be free from interference, to be sovereign. – Tim Buckles, Joplin, MO, US (Founder of UkraineStrong.org)

I support Ukraine because its victory against the Kremlin is the only hope for peace and prosperity in Europe and the world. A bully will continue to bully so long as it can. But it only takes one refusal to become a victim to end a bully’s reign of terror. So long as others stand behind that brave one and refuse to accept failure. Ukraine is fighting a battle for all of us, and it should have the support of all of us. Not only for the sake of Ukraine, but for the sake of all others who might be next on the list, including ourselves.

I support Ukraine because it is the right choice.

–Beth Martin, Seattle, WA, USA

 I support Ukraine for several reasons. First and foremost, because I admire the Ukrainian nation for taking the concept of freedom seriously, for standing up against a corrupt and abusive regime, for persevering during hardships and many challenges and eventually toppling it. And then to take the flame of freedom further, defending the country against internal aggression, and eventually against a foreign invader that uses all illegal tactics to crush the hopes of this proud nation. I support Ukraine because it managed to rebirth, to find a national unity, and to defend freedom on behalf of all of us. I support Ukraine because it has become the front between freedom and cynical 21st century totalitarianism, based on the heritage of one of the biggest disasters of the twenty-first century, the Soviet Union.
–Robert van Voren, Europe

When the 1 million march happened in early December 2013 in Kyiv, I remember what a Ukrainian asked me: “Did you ever see this before?” No, I never did! I am French, I believe in “La Republique” (Res Publica = the common good), in Democracy (Demos Kratos = people ruling), and in the French Revolution, but only learned about it in history books. What I saw that day was a real Revolution: people raising and fighting against barbarians and thieves, people fighting for Freedom, Democracy, a fair State, a tolerant society. These people were called a so-called “Kyiv Junta,” “Nazis,” or “Banderas” by ruSSia’s Soviet propaganda. 

Shortly – success of Ukraine is success of my country (Georgia) and success of all civilized nations! God Bless Ukraine! God Bless the Heroes! –Giorgi, Georgia

Ukraine is fighting for the values of Europe and the free world. Values that are above money or any other consideration. Values our grandparents fought for against the Nazis and our parents fought for against the USSR Soviets. Values that the EU, NATO and USA seems to have forgotten…

Today, the Soviets are back in ruSSia and threaten Ukraine’s quest for Justice and Liberty. I support Ukraine because it’s duty as a man, a citizen and a human being who want to live in Honor and Dignity. Ukraine is the future, ruSSia is the past.

–Erwan Bouvet – Paris/Kyiv, Europe

As an American of Russian descent, I support Ukraine for many reasons. The key reason is, unlike Russia, Ukraine has found strength to break free from the Soviet Past. Russia, to my dismay and aversion, is trying to pull Ukraine back to the Soviet swamp Putin has chosen to stay in. The Civilized World must not let it happen!

Because the cause of freedom and justice transcends borders and continents. Because if the great evil of KGB revanchism is not confronted sooner, it will inevitably turn into an even greater tragedy for all of us. This one no one will be able to just sit out, the question remains if you prefer to fight it now or run from it later. The Kremlin Gremlin has an axe to grind with the entire world and the stakes could not be higher! Anthony Lysenko, FL, US

My husband and I went to Ukraine on a whim. Among the handful of Ukrainians we met was a young university student who showed us around Kyiv, even inviting us to hang out with him and his friends one evening so we could see the ‘real’ Kyiv in addition to the tourist centers. He and his friends–all of them bright, funny, friendly, ambitious, vibrant–painted a vivid picture of life under the Yanukovych regime. Afterward, I thought of them often, always with a pang of regret that such incredible young people had to live in a country that was rotten to its core.

We were in Kyiv for Ukraine’s Independence Day in 2012. I still remember how new and raw and immediate it felt. These people were celebrating an independence that was, at that time, only 21 years old. They were celebrating the strides they’d managed to make in the face of a truly corrupt government.

When the demonstrations turned deadly in late January, my heart broke. I kept thinking of the people we met in Ukraine, particularly the young university students, of what it would mean for them to live in a country free of the Yanukovych regime’s corruption and repression. But mostly I remembered the atmosphere on Maidan on Independence Day in 2012. I felt sick at the thought of valiant, long-suffering Ukraine sinking into a dictatorship; now that the revolution of dignity has been won, I am livid, furious at the idea of Ukraine getting swept up in Russia’s neo-imperialist ambitions, losing its independence before it even has a chance to show the world what it could do with it.

Something incalculably precious hangs in the balance. I want to help tip the scales.

Happy Independence Day, Ukraine. I can’t wait to see you take your rightful place as a nation which matters to the world. Слава Україні!

–Robin Rohrback, Fairfax, VA, USA

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