Euromaidan

by svitlanamatviyenko

I have several live stream sites open on my computer in a hope to see as much as possible from different angles and distances. I keep watching–to witness and to remember. Many friends are there in the crowd. As I am writing this, the special police units are cleaning up the square. This is what I see now at ukrstream.tv:

We hear that women and the elderly are asked to move back from the front rows, because police is unpredictable. Meanwhile the huge groups of Berkut police are pushing through to break the lines of protesters who guard their barricades and tents, where they keep food and hot tea. A ‘non-violent’ clean-up… with only ‘occasional’ victims. It’s -11 C now, at about 3 am in Kyiv. The 20th day of protest.

There was a long, strange, and extremely uncomfortable silence in media after the first police attack on the early morning of Saturday, November 23rd, at 4 am, when the peaceful protesters were woken up by the strikes of police’s clubs.  When heavily beaten, they could not stand up, they were dragged away and thrown “in piles,” as a witness and a victim of that night recalls. I saw the first video of what happened posted online at about 11 pm EST; it was terrifying. As I started checking Twitter and Facebook accounts of my friends, I noticed there were no updates from anyone for about 4 hours. It felt like Ukraine was shut down. And it was. Surreal… and so scary.

On Sunday, December 1 there were over 1, 000 000 people on the streets in Kyiv. Appalled by the violence, they demanded the government to step down. Instead, they encountered even more violence. Below there are several videos; everyone who cares – at least slightly – about such things as human rights (accidentally, it’s December 10 today, Human Rights Day…), should see them.

On this video you can see how the policemen beat the protesters, put them on the ground, and then were taking pictures of their abused and humiliated victims.

A shot from the video where you can see how the policemen beat the protesters, put them on the ground, and then take pictures of and with their abused, humiliated, and barely alive victims.

See the video above by following this link.

A screenshot from the video of the police attack on December 1, 2013

The riot police attack on the protesters after the Korchynsky group provocations near the President Administration building on December 1, 2013

See the video above by following this link

The riot police attack on the protesters after the Korchynsky group provocations near the President Administration building on December 1, 2013

The riot police attack on the protesters after the Korchynsky group provocations near the President Administration building on December 1, 2013

See the video above by following this link

The speakers on the Independence Square are begging police to stop violence… it is happening right now… I recognize the voices of people I know personally…

Catherine Ashton, the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy for the European Union, is in Ukraine right now. She attended Maidan 5 hours ago. President of the (ALDE) Group in the European Parliament is now asking her to wake up and come out on the Square to protect Ukrainian people.

Besides the silence in media after those several violent nights, there has been a lot of hostility spilled via networks – some due to people’s complete confusion about the situation in Ukraine, some just because hostility is a human thing…

The screenshot of the Twitter feed of #Euromaidan from December 29, 2013

The screenshot of the Twitter feed for #Euromaidan from December 29, 2013

Some thought they wished well… I want to think.

The comments on my Facebook post with a link of the USTREAM video of the police cleaning up the protesters from the square and a cry for attention, if not help...

The comments on my Facebook post with a link to the USTREAM video of the police cleaning up the protesters from the square and my cry for attention, if not help…

…While I keep watching the live transmission from Maidan, I’ve put together a short list of – in my view – good publications that appeared in different non-Ukrainian media after the awkwardly long silence. I think they are worth reading.

International New York Times, December 2, 2013, 8:35 am

A Whiter Shade of Envy

From Moscow, it was like watching that guy you’ve seen around the high-school cafeteria suddenly stand up to the bully you have so often wished you could confront. You cannot believe his courage at first. Then you fear for him because you think you know exactly how it’s going to end — badly. And then you are simply in awe, in white envy, and the world seems transformed.

Gawker, 12/02/13 4:06pm

What the Hell’s Going On in Ukraine, Explained

Yanukovich has been here before, kinda sorta. A former Soviet central planner, he faced a reformer, Viktor Yushchenko, in Ukraine’s 2004 election for president. Yanukovich was certified as the winner, but that result didn’t sit well with protesters, who (correctly) alleged large-scale voting fraud, took to the streets, and ultimately succeeded in getting a new election. (Yushchenko, the spry opposition candidate, also was allegedly poisoned with dioxin during the bitter campaign; here’s an insane before-and-after pic.)

After the popular outpouring of disgust with the election results, a second ballot was held, which Yushchenko and his “Orange coalition” won handily.

But Yanukovich wasn’t finished. He ran again for president in 2010, this time against a reformist woman, Yulia Tymoshenko, who had served as Yushchenko’s prime minister after the Orange Revolution. Yanukovich won, but Tymoshenko refused to recognize the results, arguing that the old Soviet was up to his old vote-fixing ways.

The New York Review of Books, December 5, 2013, 9 a.m.

A Way Out for Ukraine?

The EU (and of course the United States) should support a dialogue that might consider resolutions of that sort. Western leaders must also condemn violence and consider personal sanctions upon those who were (or will be) responsible for the beatings of peaceful protestors. The EU should also invest where it has strength and will eventually win: in youth. Visa-free travel and university education are less dramatic than secret meetings and televised beatings, but they could be decisive in determining the future course of the country.

For now, all interested parties should do what they can to keep the discussion squarely on the basic issues of free trade, free speech, and freedom of assembly. The Ukrainian fantasy of geopolitics has played itself out, the Russian fantasy of Ukraine as part of its slavic sphere of influence perhaps has not. Putin is no doubt too canny to really believe in some fairy tale of fraternal assistance. But it would be wise to make very sure.

Al Jazeera, 9 Dec 2013 17:31

Watch Kiev if you believe in Europe

Europeans fear the tide of immigration – not simply of North Africans on their boats, but those who move along the passage of EU expansion. I wonder if the cries of ‘Yevropa! Yevropa!’ in the frosty air of Kiev are being heard in Paris or Berlin.

The Russian media has sold the story well to those who believe European values are an illusion. They say that the EU is a miserable place to be. Look at what it’s done to Greece or countries on the threshold of membership like Serbia.

Business Insider, DEC. 9, 2013, 11:52 AM

Why Ukraine Isn’t ‘The Ukraine,’ And Why That Matters Now

Ukraine is key to Putin’s Eurasian Union ambitions — not only is it a big state with an important geopolitical location next to Europe, it also plays a key role in his grand historical vision of Russia as a great power. The Ukrainians protesting in Kyiv loathe this idea, however. They don’t want to be “the borderland” anymore. They want to be Ukraine.

snob.ru, the week of December 8-14, 2013 [update]

Территория воли

Майдан — это Сечь. Та самая Запорожская Сечь, о которой мы все читали у Гоголя.

Тот самый полупоходный-полувоенный-полугражданский образ жизни, который и связывается у каждого с казаками.

Майдан — это территория воли. Не свободы и не вольницы, а именно воли — это украинское слово лучше всего характеризует происходящее здесь.

И баррикады, которыми «протестувальники» оградили свою площадь, защищают не этот конкретный клочок земли, а именно саму их «волю», их право жить так, как они хотят сами, а не так, как им навязывает власть. Да и власти здесь как таковой нет.

Майдан — это сообщество свободных людей, не признающих над собой никакой власти, кроме той, которую они готовы признать над собой сами. «Нет власти аще от Майдана».

Bloomberg.com, Dec 16, 2013 2:50 PM ET [update]

Ukraine’s Protesters Show Its Leaders How to Govern

Their civic sensibility is in many ways more mature than that of the political establishment. Demonstrators occupying the city center have created what is possibly the largest self-organizing, self-sustaining revolutionary commune the world has seen since the 1968 riots in Paris. The Euromaidan — as the protesters’ camp in Maidan Nezalezhnosti, or Independence Square, is known — is increasingly looking like a nation within a nation.

And two more other things:

#Euromaidan now - about 6 am Kyiv time

#Euromaidan now – about 6 am Kyiv time