Monday, November 29, 2004

Ukraine II

I wrote earlier that the best thing is mass democratic participation from both sides, peacefully - here are some striking quotes from Neeka's backlog:

...One by one, the orange guys started coming up to the blue ones; then, more and more; until they all mixed. There were only men among the blue, while the orange had men and women of all ages in their ranks.

It was totally exciting - it was hard to believe at first that it would end peacefully, but when the orange ones started their chant, I knew it'd be okay: they were chanting "Slava shakhtaryam! Slava shakhtaryam!" ("Glory to the coalminers!" - referring to those from Donetsk region, a coal-mining region that Yanukovych used to be a governor of.) Some of the blue guys sounded indignant - "But we are from Crimea, not Donbas!" - and the orange ones standing nearby replied, laughing - "Oh, who cares now... Slava shakhtaryam!" Another chant was his: "East and West together!" (strangely, I don't remember what it sounded like in Ukrainian - I mean, I know the translation, of course, but I don't remember how to say it so it rhymes, as it did then...)

...Among other things, we saw half a dozen men standing in circle, one guy holding a torn half of Yanukovych's portrait, and another guy, orange, telling everyone around loudly that it's not right to tear the portrait, that the guy who held it had the right to vote for Yanukovych, that it's not the portrait that's to blame and not the portrait's owner, etc. We saw many groups like this, the orange and the blue together, discussing something totally peacefully, like old buddies. No one was beaten, though the blue ones were in such overwhelming minority that I'm still quite shocked nothing bad happened.

We stopped one blue guy, asked him if he thought there'd be civil war, as many people were predicting. He said, "No, Ukrainians don't fight, won't fight. East and West are together." He was a metallurgic factory worker from Kryvyi Rih, a town in Dnipropetrivsk region, who came to Kyiv to support his candidate, Yanukovych.


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