Appeal to the Right Sector: more spiritual bonds for Ukraine, they work so well in Russia!

Anti-gay campaigners clash with gay rights activists during a rally in Russia [Reuters]. 

Op-ed

Specifically, regarding the statements “Sodomite orgies are unacceptable in Kyiv” and the statement in which the Right Sector asks to prohibit the Kyiv equality march on the Right Sector’s website.

Note: this article is an English translation of an appeal to the Ukrainian Right Sector military-political movement who have threatened to attack a Gay Pride march planned in Kyiv on 6 June 2015. On the time of publication, the Kyiv mayor Vitaly Klitschko has, following the appeal of the Right Sector, advised the organizers of the March to abstain from holding it.

Spiritual bonds: here, an ironical allusion to a saying of the Russian patriarch Kirill who once called the Russian-Orthodox Church the “spiritual bond” of Russian society

For more than a year and a half, I have been trying to prove to the English-speaking world that the Right Sector are not fascists and demons as the Russian media asserts on EuromaidanPress.  Because I was next to you on Euromaidan, and was with you in the frontline village of Pisky, and know that there are heaps of passionate and zealous people in the Right Sector that are willing to sacrifice their lives for Ukraine. But after these statements I’m not sure if I was right. It is fascists that divide people into real people and sub-humans, using definitions such as “sodomites” and calling for harassment against certain groups in our society because they are different.

It doesn’t matter much to me if I live in Russia’s totalitarian society where the today’s Tsar  will decide how you think, dress, and what you write in social networks, or the totalitarian society based on nationalist ideology, which, apparently, you want to build in Ukraine. In both situations I will spend my life in helping those who are oppressed, humiliated, and exterminated by the limited and cynical regime.

Right sector, your threats of violent reprisals against people who think and behave differently than you do make you no better than Putin in my eyes. Dictatorship in any of its manifestations is evil. But it seems that for you moral relativity is not a problem, just as it isn’t for the Euromaidan activist turned MP Tetyana Chornovol, who doesn’t consider pressing several voting buttons at the same time bad as long as she is the one doing it: the dictatorship of Putin, who invades Ukraine to forcefully establish his “Russian world” is bad, while the dictatorship of Right Sector, which forces its ideas about the world upon others is good. Are you sure that you haven’t become the monster you are battling?

Another thing that makes you similar to Putin is how you use your notions about religion in order to call for violence. The similarities between Russian “Orthodox jihad” to ISIS has been noted long ago. It is based on distorting the Holy Scripture and the Christian faith in order to achieve political goals. You say that the Kyiv Pride (as opposed to an entertaining gay parade, a gay Pride is held in solidarity with LBGT people) are a “public insult to Christian values,” but the Bible is as not clear on homosexuality as the Russian media is.

But it’s all simple for the Right Sector: “a lot of soldiers who oppose this anti-Christian phenomena are on rotation in Kyiv and may not accept LGBT parades.” Calls for violence in the name of Christ who prayed for his executioners on the cross are not Christian values, just as the values of the “Russian Orthodox army” [a Russian paramilitary group that wages war in the name of Orthodox Christianity and the “Russian world” in Donbas], imposed upon Donbas with guns, are not Christian. Are you not turning the Christianity of Christ into the “spiritual bonds” of the Russian Orthodox Church? Because Russia is world known for its hateful attitude to LGBT people that started with legislative restrictions that turned out to be a license to harm for hate crimes.  And please, do not hide behind concerns for the “Kyiv believers” – I am a believer in Kyiv, and the March for Equality does me no harm.

By the way, the Head of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church Sviatoslav Shevchuk, who in your appeal for some reason “rejects the false values ​​of gender ideology” on behalf of the whole country, also expressed the opposite view: when talking about the program of Women’s/Gender Studies at the Ukrainian Catholic University he called it “excellent” and “innovative.” Certainly, There are discussions on the intersection of gender, Christianity, and LGBT. But to use the words of a Christian leader to justify your calls for violence against people coming out to defend their rights on the basis that you disagree with their opinion is immoral.

By calling LGBT Ukrainians “sodomites,” “perverts,” and “degenerates,” you not only insult their human dignity, but also promote ignorance in our society. Nearly a hundred years of attempts to “cure homosexuality” have ended in a fiasco, and the world is more and more inclined to think that people are simply born with homosexuality. You can judge how easy it is for them to live in a society where they are considered to be “perverts who need to be treated”in the trailer of the film “Children-404,” a project to help Russian LGBT children whom society tells that do not exist, or openly mocks those who gathers the courage to come out (I strongly recommend watching the whole film).

Thus, the Gay Pride in Kyiv will only allow people with LBGT will not hide and feel that they are full-fledged citizens who, by the way, were standing with us on the Maidan Square during the Euromaidan revolution and join us now in protecting Ukraine’s independence with arms.

Addressing the mayor of Kyiv, you call upon him to prevent “provocations, conflicts and troubles of any kind” in this difficult time for Ukraine. However, in this difficult period of our history, we must, on the contrary, treat our fellow citizens with exceptional respect and understanding, regardless of their sexual orientation, religious beliefs, and so on. And that is why the Right Sector should not divide Ukrainians into the “right” and “wrong” sorts by using hate speech and calling for harassment or violence while hiding behind religious or patriotic slogans. It is precisely such behavior that will at the very least lead to these “provocations, conflict and troubles,” and in the long term can lead Ukraine to create its own “spiritual bonds” and build a new totalitarian machine to impose them upon all those that disagree.

Since you’re here – we have a favor to ask. Russia’s hybrid war against Ukraine is ongoing, but major news agencies have gone away. But we’re here to stay, and will keep on providing quality, independent, open-access information on Ukrainian reforms, Russia’s hybrid war, human rights violations, political prisoners, Ukrainian history, and more. We are a non-profit, don’t have any political sponsors, and never will. If you like what you see, please help keep us online with a donation!

Tags: ,