viewpoint-east.org

Ukraine write Freedom of Information Act with help of German experience

Category: by sophie engström, guests, sociala medier, ukraine, Uncategorized
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(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

In today’s issue of Deutsche Welle Olha Wesnjanka writes an interesting article about the situation for freedom of information in Ukraine. Ukraine has a freedom of information legislation from 1996, but it does not include a specification on general right of access to information. The law therefor needs to be improved.

The head of Center for Political and Legal Reforms in Kyiv, Mariana Demkova, implies that to introduce a Freedom of Information Act in Ukraine will take a considerable long time, and this is due to that fact that processes like this are complex. Demkova refers to how the situation was when Germany implemented the Freedom of Information Act. Germany experience number of complex problems that Ukraine can learn from. “For Ukraine it is certainly important and useful to investigate the German experience: what stood in the way of difficulties in developing, how did it go to implement bill and to enforce the law in practice”, Demkova says to Olha Wesnjaka.


Will Ukrainians be able to get more information about
their rulers online in the future?
Photo: Sophie Engström

A group of Ukrainian specialists, headed by deputy Andriy Shevchenko, will therefor go to Germany to meet German collegues and ministers to discuss and learn about the implementation the federal law on freedom of information in Germany. Since the Ukrainian Federal commissioner for data protection and freedom of information will visit the Ministry of Economy, which takes care of telecommunications issues, the Ukrainian Pirate Party should feel some concern. ACTA traditionally works very close to ministries in Europe that handle questions like freedom of information.

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Bandera is still not an easy task to solve

Category: by sophie engström, EU, guests, ukraine
Tags: , ,

(Läsningstid: 6 minuter)

I was asked a while ago to publish an open letter to the Portuguese MP’s of European Parliament signed by President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal, Pavlo Sadokha, 
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor”, Oleg Hutsko and the 
President of the Association of Ukrainians Algarve, Natalia Dmytruk. The open letter is a criticism against that the European Parliament adopted a resolution on 25 of February of 2010, starting “[d]eeply regrets the decision of the outgoing Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, is granted posthumously to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN)[…]“.

It is not an easy task to write an objective analyze how European Union, Ukraine, Russia should deal with the historical legacy of Stepan Bandera. I therefore hesitaed in doing so, and instead I refer to an article at Kyiv Post, published on the 13 of April 2010.

The open letter below was previously published at ucrania-mozambique.blogspot.com

ASSOCIAÇÃO DOS UCRÂNIANOS EM PORTUGAL
Rua Félix Correia Nº1, 2-Esq., 1500-271 Lisboa
tlm.: 967135885 / 964795123 NIB 506 695 107
e-mail: ucranianosemportugal@gmail.com

17/03/2010

Open Letter to the Portuguese MP’s of European Parliament
Dear. Mr. / Mrs., MPs,

It is now widely accepted that the European project has contributed decisively to the economic and social stability of the continent and to promote freedom and equality of citizens in Europe. Its democratically elected representatives consider the main objective of the European Union to ensure the welfare and protection of citizens rights, and for that, and based on the lessons of history, rejected any form of discrimination (racial, ethnic, religious, etc.). However, this does not mean the denial of historical and cultural heritage of the peoples of Europe, oppositely, the preservation of national cultures and languages, and respect for the historical past are some of the essential prerequisites for EU membership.

Speaking of historical past should be remembered that Ukraine never has any expansionist ambitions, and, oppositely, was the battleground of rival imperialist powers, with the consequent loss of sovereignty and national identity. During the World War II following the Nazi and Soviet aggression, Ukraine lost about 7.5 million inhabitants and approximately 2 million of Ukrainians were deported to labor-slave activities to Germany.

On the other hand, Ukraine, was also the scene of totalitarian tragedies, one example being the Great Famine of 1932-1933 (Holodomor) – qualified recently by the European Parliament of “horrendous crime against the Ukrainian people and against humanity” – that killed about 7 millions of Ukrainians as a result of famine caused by the Stalin dictatorship. At that time, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), headed by Stepan Bandera, was forced to use the only language understood by a totalitarian regime and that could receive the attention of the international community: language of strength. On 22 of October of 1933, the Soviet consul in Lviv was killed by a militant of OUN in retaliation for the millions of Ukrainians decimated in the famine genocide.

This fact regain an greater meaning if we remember that other dramatic moments of the twentieth century, there was a need to commit a similar acts. For example, between 1920–1922, the militants of Armenian Revolutionary Federation killed several leaders of Turkey, in response to the Armenian genocide; on 27 of May of 1942, agents of the Czechoslovak secret service murdered the British Nazi leader Reinhard Heydrich, responsible for terror in Bohemia – Moravia and one of the key masterminds of the genocide of the Jewish population. 

Still on past history, the European Parliament adopted on 25 of February of 2010, a resolution on the current situation in Ukraine, stating that:
20. Deeply regrets the decision of the outgoing Ukrainian President, Viktor Yushchenko, is granted posthumously to Stepan Bandera, leader of the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN), which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of “National Hero of Ukraine” and expects that new Ukrainian leadership to reconsider this type of decision and reaffirm its commitment to European values.

In this resolution, Parliament claims his right to indicate to Ukrainians how they should interpret their own history. Moreover, what is the basis of what decision? Is there any sentence issued by an International Tribunal to sentences Stepan Bandera or Ukrainian Insurgent Army (UPA) for collaboration with Nazi Germany? Have been carried out a thorough historical investigation of the Ukrainian independence movement?
It is important to realize that Stepan Bandera symbolizes in an undeniable and tragic way, a struggle for Ukrainian independence, finally achieved in 1991, was an inspiring idea to generations of freedom fighters and, simultaneously, the target of hatred of those who have imperialist designs for Ukraine.

On 30 of June of 1941, following the German invasion of the Soviet Union, OUN proclaimed the restoration of independence of Ukraine. This act represented a clear challenge to racial and expansionist plans of Hitler, which, in turn, wanted to convert Eastern Europe into a huge Germanic empire. Therefore, the German authorities demanded that the leaders of OUN abdicate its purpose, and at the refusal, unleashed a campaign of violent repression, forcing the independence movement to go underground and fight against the two occupying powers in Ukraine: the Soviets and the Nazis.

In July of 1941, Stepan Bandera was arrested and sent to the concentration camp of Sachsenhausen, where he remained until October 1944. Two of his brothers were deported to the extermination camp of Auschwitz, where they was brutally murdered. In the ravine of Babi Yar in Kyiv, alongside with thousands of Jews, were also murdered hundreds of militants of the OUN. Stepan Bandera himself also met a tragic end, when he was murdered in 1959 in Munich, victim of a secret agent of KGB.

At the Nuremberg Trials of 1945 was revealed a secret document of Einsatzkommando C / 5, dated of November 25, 1941, which invalidates any argument about the alleged complicity of Bandera and OUN with the Nazis:
There is evidence that the movement of Bandera prepares a revolt in Reichskommissariat, whose aim is to create an independent Ukraine. All members of the movement of Bandera should be immediately arrested and, after a thorough interrogation, secretly wiped out like bandits. 

In fact, what occurred was a brave and determined resistance of the independence movement against the violence used by totalitarian powers who wanted to order the Ukrainian nation to the slavery and extermination.
We, Ukrainians who came to Portugal in search of work and a better life, we have been committed to contributing to the progress and welfare of the host country. Many of us have chosen Portugal as their second home, receiving, therefore increasing visibility and relevance to our civic integration.

Therefore, in the dual capacity of Ukrainian and Portuguese fellow citizens, is urgent to repeal section 20 of the European Parliament resolution of 25 of February of 2010, in which the National Hero of Ukraine is unreasonably accused of cooperating with the Nazi tyranny. It is a moral imperative to recognize Stepan Bandera not only as a figure in the history of Ukraine, but also the universal fight for freedom and human dignity.

Yours sincerely,
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal – Pavlo Sadokha 
President of the Association of Ukrainians in Portugal “Sobor” – Oleg Hutsko 
President of the Association of Ukrainians Algarve – Natalia Dmytruk

____
Attachments:
1.
20. Deeply deplores the decision by the outgoing President of Ukraine, Viktor Yushchenko, posthumously to award Stepan Bandera, a leader of the Organisation of Ukrainian Nationalists (OUN) which collaborated with Nazi Germany, the title of ‘National Hero of Ukraine’; hopes, in this regard, that the new Ukrainian leadership will reconsider such decisions and will maintain its commitment to European values;

2.
Open Appeal from Ukrainians to the Members of European Parliament with regards to the defamation of Stepan Bandera in the text of the Resolution of the European Parliament on the Situation in Ukraine from February 25, 2010.

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viewpoint-east.org now with google reader

Category: by sophie engström, sociala medier
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(Läsningstid: 1 minut)

Check out viewpoint-east’s new google reader bundle!!

I strongly recommend you subscribe to it ; )

And are you in it? If no, send me your URL and I will probably add you : )

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Boris Ryzhy – The unwilling survivor

Category: by sophie engström, movies, poetry, russia
Tags: , , , , ,

(Läsningstid: 5 minuter)

How do you describe a suicide, what it implies in loses and sorrow for people close to you? How do you describe the devastating emptiness and hopelessness that the survivors need to live with? I would say that in many aspects it is not possible, but if you have an interest in understanding, without exploiting, there are a possibility that you will be able to describe both the cruelty in being left behind, and how survivors find their way out from the labyrinth of sorrow.

In the documentary Boris Ryzhy, about the poet with the same name, made by the dutch filmmaker Aliona van der Horst, you can actually feel the sorrow in your own breath while watching it. van der Horst has managed to find the special situations, when words has no use and life itself seems to be more grim than ever.

In the introduction we see a woman wondering around in a suburn district. She is trying to get a hold on somebody that knew Boris Ryzhy. After being reprimanded by a babushka, she finally finds somebody that wants to help her and let her enter a staircase in one of the houses. The woman explains that she and her brother lived in this house when they were small. She starts to ring the door bell to the first flat in the house. She does not present herself to the lady that opens the door, but tells her about the film that Ailona van der Horst is making. She says it is a film about her brother, the poet Boris Ryzhy. She asks the old lady if she remember him, and the old lady does not remember him. The woman, the sister of Ryzhy, starts to recite a poem that Boris Ryzhy wrote, but her voice cracks, and finally she starts to cry. The woman that opened the door starts immediately to ask her about why she is crying: “Is he dead? What happened to your brother?” she asks. “He is dead. He committed suicide”, answers the sister. I believe most spectators literary can feels the pain in her voice.


The trailer for the documentary by Boris Ryzhy by Aliona van der Horst.

The documentary then continues with, as it seems, an endless desire to try to understand why Boris Ryzhy decided to end his own life. Was it because many of his friends died already? Was it because he and all his friends lived in a violent world, with gangsters that lacked empathy for suffering? Did he feel alienated or was he just a mad genius that took suicide as a desperate wish to be accepted as a poet? Aliona van der Horst investigate and gets self-disclosure and fearless help from Boris Ryzhy’s family – the wife, son, sister and mother. But even so, she never comes close to explain why, except that it is necessary to accept the unacceptable. The death of somebody you love. This is however not a failure by van der Horst, but actually a strength to a story, that could have became extremely pathetic if it was made in a less intelligent way. To tell the truth, this is actually one of the best documentaries I have ever seen, and I have seen quite a few.

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Boris Ryzhy, born in 1974, grow up in Yekaterinburg. His family was well-educated family and his father was a geologist, unknown what his mother did, though. When he was rather small his family moved to a rough area in Yekaterinburg. There Boris had to learn how to survive in the tough environment. He started to boxing in the same age as writing poems (14 years old) and violence and poetry seems to be utterly connected for him. Boris Ryzhy’s poems often depict and describe the neighbourhood that he and his sister grow up in. It seems like he never left the area in his soul. One of his very old friends, that Aliona van der Horst managed to track down, describes Boris as rootless and very lonely man, even though so many loved him.

Boris Ryzhy committed suicide by hanging in May 2001, 26 years old. It is impossible to tell how his talent would develop, because his poems mostly describe the Jelstin years during 1990s. How crime and gangesters are more usual than ordinary jobs and loving and caring situations. Even so, Boris Ryzhy was not a gangster all though, but was also a PhD in Geophysics.


The poem “Show me, Gypsy woman” read by Boris Ryzhy.

In the documentary it is perhaps Boris Ryzhy’s wife that says the most devastating words. She tells about her and Boris childhood, how they were encouraged to believe in the communist future, and they thought they lived in the perfect socialist society. But when they finish school in 1991, the Soviet Empire fell apart. It didn’t come as any surprise for them, but after the fall of the empire, the “first generation of perestroika” was abandoned by the society itself. The only way that far too many saw, was the road of criminality. “We are the generation of body guards”, she says when she stands at Boris grave at the cemetery, and around her we see hundreds of graves for young men born in the beginning of 70s that dead in the mid 90s.

It is obvious that Boris Ryzhy felt as a survivor, and to survive in this “war”, like one of his friends remarks in the documentary, is “a shameful business”. We can only hope that Boris Ryzhy’s legacy will survive, because his poems is not only violent but alos beautiful. And they are a legacy from a time that we all must try to prevent to return.

If you want to read Boris Ryzhy in English you can find some here.

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Dza in London at RBMA

Category: by sophie engström, music, russia
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

The annual Red Bull Music Academy in London has just finished and one of the participants was Sasha Dza, the how2make frontier that previously been highlighted here at viewpoint-east.org. So I connected to him, in London, to ask about impressions from the two weeks long experience at RBMA.

Dza – † Dance With Me ( preview ) by DZA

Sasha Dza: RBMA is a really heavy and nice experience for all participants. Every time, when I’d meet some one who has been a participant at RBMA before, they have told me to remember only one thing, Get a lot of sleep before academy! Because while you are there you will not get any sleep in two weeks!. And that was really true! Every day implies intensive studio work, lectures and live chatin’ with famous musicians like Hudson Mohawke, Roots Manuva, Busy P, Dj Zink, Marco Passarani, FlyLo (Flying Lotus) and many more.

It was also very cool to collaborated with another participants, such as Ad Bourk, Homeless Inc., Los Macuanos, Nando Pro and Hudson Mohawke. This guys gave me crazy energy and new inspiration!

RBMA has finished last week, but I have stayed in London for a few day to enjoy new places, museums and people.


Photo: Dan Wilton

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Alexander Lukashenko loves Sweden

Category: belarus, by sophie engström, sociala medier, web 2.0
Tags: , , , , , ,

(Läsningstid: 2 minuter)

Alexander Lukashenko has a political reputation that few wants to be confused with, and one can think that also Swedish politicians would try to avoid being confused with his ideas of running a country. But unwillingly the Swedish government has got a new fan, and perhaps a fan they never wanted to have, and that is, again, Alexander Lukashenko.


Alexander Lukashenko from wiki

Recently the Swedish Minister of Justice, Beatrice Ask, got a request from Alexander Lukashenko, where he asks her to start an exchange project, where Belarus government can learn more about how to reduce economic crime on Internet. I am however sure that this is not Alexander Lukashenko real intentions. Sweden did more than a year introduce the FRA law, that actually gives a certain department the right to track and read all emails and sms’ that crosses the border. The idea is to try to track down terrorists, which of course is complete nonsense. Sweden has a long tradition of tracking its own citizens. (It is no wonder we are the land of accurate statistics on all the moves the citizens takes.) Many in the Swedish piracy movement interpets this as a new way to violate human rights in Sweden (and other countries), and also because FRA can sell the information to anybody they want to!

I am pretty sure Alexander Lukashenko understand how the Swedish government can use all the information they track from the email and sms’ that crosses the border. (To be clear: all emails in Sweden cross the borders. Servers have a very unpatriotic style and don’t really care which server it communicates with, inside or outside Sweden, the server never care.)

It is however very easy for me to be ironic, sitting here in a country with freedom of speech, but I am really worried that this interest of Alexander Lukashenko in Internet, is more and more threatening all activity on Internet in Belarus. And outside the borders! I think it is high time that we, the blogging swarm that wants to help the citizens of Belarus to get freedom of speech and a free internet, to speaks up! At least I will do all in my power to try to high light all this crimes against human rights!

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One-year anniversary of Ukraine’s first Gender museum

Category: by sophie engström, gender, ukraine
Tags: , , , , ,

(Läsningstid: 5 minuter)

Today, 3 of March, it is one year since the first Museum of women’s history,
history of women’s and gender movement in Ukraine
opened. I wanted to highlight this and asked the museum’s guiding star and director Tetiana Isaieva a couple of questions.

gmuseum

How did it all start?
The idea to create the museum emerged in 2006, after a group of Ukrainian journalists had visited Sweden with the Gender Program «Olga&Oleg», (this project was supported by SIDA). The group studied gender situation and gender equality in Sweden. The visit resulted in a first exhibition and we began to look for new ones. In 2006 we was not sure we could realize our idea about a museum. It just didn’t feel realistic, but we started to search for other gender museums in Europe and around the world. We investigated how other museums worked and what kind of projects they implement.

We have many who support our idea, and also some financially. Olena Suslova, Gender coordinator at the Ukrainian parlament, supported our idea and initiated to put the first brick. We got 100 UA (Ukrainian grivnes which is little bit more than 10 €). We understood that we could not make any exhibition from that contribution alone, but it was a responsibility, a start!
Also The Program “Equal Opportunities and Women’s Rights in Ukraine” supported our project and provided an opportunity to present our project to a larger audience in September 2008, within the Project «Exhibition of gender ideas and projects». In 2008 we could show our colleagues our collection of pictures.

In March 2008 our project was supported by the Global Fund for Women. Global Fund for women is one of the funds which support women’s initiatives around the world. And our first exhibition was presented in Kharkiv, on the 3d of March 2009 in Kharkiv national university within the Study Program for the directors of the gender resource and study centers in different regions of Ukraine.

Larisa Kobelanska – the Head of the Program “Equal Opportunities and Women’s Rights in Ukraine”, also assisted us to come up with the name for our project name: «Let’s create a Museum about us!».

Could you describe your activities?
We gather information about women and men, gender theories and practice, which shows ideas of gender in Ukrainian society. There are many different points of view on roles of women and men in our society of course. The traditional roles for women are mothers and wives, keeper of family. But I am sure that in in many years from now these roles may have changed a lot. One important question for us is that women have to have equal rights and possibilities in all spheres of life. During 2009 we created four panoramas of social feminine and masculine roles and twelve new exhibitions. For exemple, the history of women’s, feminist and gender movement, domestic violence, masculine problems. These and many other exhibitions will be exhibited at our museum. We will also tell about female solidarity and women’s and gender movements. We want to show that gender problems are not only problems for women but the problems of the whole society. One of the exhibitions is devoted to «Stop sexism!». We hope that in a few years we will be able to see sexist advertisements only at the gender museum.

What do you exhibit at you museum? How does it work?
Our collection consists of more than 350 items, such as pictures, study books, films, interviews, CDs and DVDs, different documents, souvenirs, children toys and books, the post cards and envelopes, household goods, such as “easy labor of women”, and even personal things from gender activists. We have some art projects too, «Gender in pictures», «Women’s face of Ukraine», «Fеmіnіsm is…», «Gender in children eyes», «Children against violence».

Ukraine has chosen the course to the democratic changes and we are looking for our own way to solve the gender equality. The «Law of Ukraine of equal rights and possibilities for women and men» (2005) and Government Program of gender equality (2006) are items at our museum. The government are implementing gender perspective in Ukraine but changes are rather slow. Nevertheless stereotyped ideas about social feminine and masculine roles continue to remain in society consciousness. Even in new books you can see stereotyped pictures of women and men.

We also tries to gather items about gender situation, about women’s movement in different countries. We are extremely grateful to our friends from Germany, Georgia, Sweden, USA, Italy, Lithuania, Korea and Vietnam.
We have created an Internet portal. And it is one of the most powerful Internet gender resources in Ukraine. We have a virtual version of our museum and a Gender Channel. Here we gather films, video materials, interviews and other pieces of information concerning.

What is your hopes and wishes for the future?
We are looking for new items to exhibit and conduct PR and fundraising campaigns for our project. We hope that the creation of the museum will increase the cultural connections between Ukraine and other countries, it will consolidate the women’s movement, attract journalists attention and the whole society towards gender issues.

In April 2009 we visited Frauenmuseum Bonn. We were invited to participate in the second International Congress of women’s museums and to get in touch with representatives from women’s museums in different countries. In September we presented our project at the Congress in Bonn and since then our museum is the member of the network of International women’s museums.

In autumn 2009 we prepared two exhibitions, devoted International action “16 days against gender violence” (2009, November) and exhibition “White on white”, devoted to International day of solidarity of women and unknown pages of women’s history of Ukraine (2010, March).

We are writing our own history, and also rewriting history as it has been perceived. Our society has to travel long until we reach a situation where women’s right are fully respected, but this is a start. We also think it is very important to show young generations how ideas about stereotypes are realized in our society and we hope to be able to create a consciousness about this through or exhibitions.

And last I would like to make an invitation: The First Gender Museum in Ukraine invites everyone for cooperation and interaction! And please, pass this information to your colleagues and partners! Become a participant of the project «Let us create a Museum about us!».

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