Radka Rubilina /Bzonkova/: The Maidan’s Occasional Newsletter, March 22, 2014
“You are being a part of history”, John, the initiator of the entire project, started his speech. “Whose history?” Immediately I wanted to contradict certain pathos in his voice. But, I bit my tongue. After all, this is a very first day of our mission in Ukrainian…
Before the local security guard managed to impose a ban on going to that place, I went ahead. It is impossible to miss it, a tall column with a gold angel seems somewhat to be placed in a hollow, yet you can notice it from every small and crooked Kiev’s street. Always around are pitched tents, people in uniforms that were gathered in a quick manner; each part of the uniform marks a different style. A field-style kitchen, chopped wood, smell of fire, and people, people, people – all this in the middle of a two-million city. A beautiful day. Over there a buckwheat porridge is being cooked; and over there a tea is being poured. Everywhere piles of tires and barbed wire – nevermind that all the rush is over by now. (And what if not?) The entire square is clean – no cigarette butts, no trash. The colors on the Ukrainian flag create striking contrast against the burned building walls, scorched trees, and charred asphalt on the streets. Everywhere are hanging poster boards with pictures of the dead. People are softening their voices. Oh my God, who painted those pink dots on the burned down five-story building?
“Do you see this? Here now, there is a new border-line being formed between Russian Crimea and the rest of Ukraine. People will be leaving and they will take this and this road. Here, some administrative posts should stand; they will be moving with their whole families, they must receive some basic administrative assistance from the state,” says gray-haired Janet; we are staying in front of a map and debating. She is smart, well-educated, and correct; I admire her keen reasoning. Thirty years in the British diplomatic service is being reflected in her distinguished behavior and analytical thinking. Why she is standing with me in front of the map on the wall, I was thinking, for sure she has grandchildren and garden and house…
“Why did you arrive here, Janet?” I asked suddenly. She looked at me through her glasses: “Do you know where I have learned Russian?” She asked later. Pause. “In Czechoslovakia, in 1968.” Long pause. “It is an experience that I would not let the recent young generations have. That is why I am here.”
So, this brings us back to the main question. Are we a part of history, but whose? I do not think that only the Ukrainian ones. This is about them as it is about us. In other words and according to a sticker posted in one of the restrooms in the center: “This is not about EU. This is about that we no more want to give bribes in a kindergarten. Come to Maidan!” This history is about all of us who care about things around, about all of us not satisfied with a statement “everything is already lost anyway”. And this is has nothing to do with age. Janet is a retiree, the guy next to me is about up to twenty five.
It actually appears to me that everyone has her/his own Maidan. That we do not need to go and chase it in Ukraine. And that it does not need to have an image of a burn-up square. It is everywhere around us; and if not – lets create it. This is not about EU. This is about us, and about our nearest world.
Djakujem za uvahu
(Thank you for concern)
Radka Rubilina, 22. 3. 2014