On Independence Day it is very easy to get lost in banalities. Especially when the day is celebrated by a country in a state of undeclared war with a vicious neighbor. A country that has a part of its territory occupied by the troops and mercenaries of one of the most heinous and deceitful regimes in the modern world. A country that is experiencing one of the most difficult economic crises in recent history. What kind of holiday is that?
A magnificent one. Because from now on every subsequent year in the existence of independent Ukraine will be a real celebration. For many years it was possible to think that it was simply an official date. That independent Ukraine would continue to wobble for decades between the civilized world and the Russian insanity, of no particular interest to anyone and incapable of bothering anyone. That it would remain yet another fragment of the Soviet Union, lost in time. A country of no importance even for its own citizens. That it was doomed to be swallowed up sooner or later by the former metropolis.
I trust that there is no need to prove to anyone now that this view was erroneous. Ukraine has turned out to be a country able to defend its future. A country whose citizens have become the embodiments of heroism and selflessness. A country with a powerful enemy intent on its destruction. Unexpectedly for many, Ukraine’s national flag has become a symbol of freedom and the flag of last hope for those Belarusians, Kazakhs, Armenians, Azeris and even Russians concerned about their own countries.
This is precisely why each subsequent year of Ukrainian independence is a year of hope. Hope that Ukraine will become a civilized European state. Hope that the territorial integrity of our country will be restored and the flag of freedom will fly over liberated Donetsk, Luhansk, Sevastopol, Simferopol, Yalta, Bakhchysarai. Hope that the post-Soviet space will cease to be the space of darkness and lies. That the dictatorial regimes will collapse. That peace will be restored in Europe. That we all will think about the future and not live with illusions of the past. This is now the special meaning of our celebration.
Now it is no longer simply the day of the Independence of Ukraine.
It is now the day of our common hope.