Features News Events Interviews Take me out Competitions
On the cover
№7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope

28 February - 6 March 2014

Ukraine History

A Stronghold of Rulers and Rebels

With the recent death toll jumping to nearly 100 and 1,000 injured, Hrushevskoho Street, one of the strongholds of EuroMaidan’s three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the country’s stand against government corruption, abuse of power, and the violation of human rights turned from peaceful protest to all-out revolution. Having witnessed much over the years, Hrushevskoho is a street with a history, and not only care of recent days.


Ukraine Today
Acelebrity using their status and intelligence to influence public views and opinion is rarely seen in modern society, even less so in Ukraine. Here, the majority of celebs use their time, effort, and money to enhance or further their career rather than put their name to something that can do good for others. However, as EuroMaidan intensifies, some are making themselves heard – and they fall either side of the EuroMaidan divide.
It used to be that when rebellion and revolution occurred, the intellectual, creative, and spiritual elite would be front and centre.


Ukrainian Culture

When Walls Can Talk

People have been writing on walls since the dawn of civilisation, we call it graffiti, and ranges from simple written words to elaborate wall paintings. Sometimes it is merely the creator wanting to leave his or her mark; sometimes there is an underlying social or political reason. And it is due to the latter that graffiti has exploded across Kyiv in recent months. Anti dictator messages aside, we peel back a few layers of paint to look at graffiti in the city in general.


On the Sofa with...

The Man Behind the Myth

Clarence Benjamin Jones wasn’t the personal council and advisor to just anyone. It was a role he filled for Dr Martin Luther King Jr, defender of civil rights and liberties for all people, regardless of colour, race, religion… Here in Kyiv last week, What’s On jumped at the opportunity to talk to the man who helped King draft the celebrated speech “I Have a Dream”.

28 August 2013 marks the 50th anniversary of the March on Washington, one of the biggest political rallies for human rights in the history of the United States, which included that famed speech of Dr Martin Luther King Jr. Commemoratory celebrations across the world are beginning to take shape, including here in Kyiv. Invited to speak to those at the American Embassy as well as Kyiv’s Mohyla Academy, Clarence B Jones arrived in Kyiv last week on a whirlwind visit. 

An Air of Excellence
Our meeting at the InterContinental Hotel where Dr Jones is staying is set up by a mutual friend. I arrive on my own, but it doesn’t take long to spot out this distinguished-looking man, who is sitting relaxed and collected in an armchair, amid the hotel commotion. He is impeccably dressed in a dark blue suit with matching tie and pocket square; only later do I notice the earing. 
We waste little time with trivialities and dig right in. “I have always been concerned that there be more factual information about the icon that I was privileged to spend so much time with.” Clarification about whom he is speaking is not necessary. “I feel a heavy responsibility [of disseminating Dr King’s message]. Particularly because of the closeness of the advisory relationship we had.”
At first part of a team of King’s lawyers, Dr Jones quickly became a friend, confidant and personal advisor to the civil rights’ activist, consulting him on various issues, including helping draft a letter to President John F Kennedy regarding the Cuban Missile Crisis. “My role was to help shape opinions on certain critical issues,” says Dr Jones. “I was Dr King’s political advisor, lawyer and speechwriter.”

Role Reversal 
Giving me an example of the way they would work, he starts, “Let’s say there was role reversal,” and says, as if he were King, “You know Clarence, I’ve been invited to Ukraine. I know a little bit about it and I want to try to speak to the people there about our movement in the US and I want to be in a position where I can appear intelligent and comment about the country.
“So I would say, now commenting as myself, you can’t understand current Ukraine unless you understand where it comes from. Formerly part of the Soviet UNI0N, 1991 was really the official start of Ukraine. That doesn’t mean that the history of Ukraine prior to that day is no longer valid. It just means that politically, that history is carried over into a new political form." 
He then jumps 13 years ahead in Ukraine's history as he continues: “The other thing I would say is I recall seeing on American TV during the Orange Revolution some of the younger students singing in English We Shall Overcome – the national anthem of the civil rights movement in the US. And the other thing I noticed was that the leadership of the dominant component of the Orange Revolution seemed to publicly commit itself to non-violence. 
“And so I would point his out to him and I would say that he should feel justifiably proud that he now has the opportunity to go and speak in a country that recognised and adopted his commitment to the non-violent struggle.”

Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow 
I wonder how many issues these two brilliant men saw eye to eye on, or whether there was ever any disagreement in terms of how to broach a certain topic. Jones picks up the theme: “There may have been 40% of instances when what he would say would be different from what I would say, and I would have to tell myself that this is not you, you have to be consistent with what he would say. Today, I think those differences would be much more narrow. I don’t know if I’d have moved closer to his position or he’d have moved closer to mine (laughs), but they’re certainly less.”
Dr Jones has written two books, numerous articles, and is an oft-requested speaker at events around the world. He says his message is the same, regardless of whom he is speaking for or with. “The message today goes back to the sermon of the Nobel Peace Prize when they awarded the prize to King in 1964: to recognise the political, moral necessity for non-violence. His position on a world basis is either non-violence or non-existence. Or non-violence or co-annihilation – there is no choice.”

The Legacy 
Our time together is coming to an end – he is a very busy man after all. And while there is so much more I would love to learn, I put one final question to him. If he were to have the attention of all of the young people here in Ukraine for one moment, what would he say? “I would say that the extraordinary transformational changes in access to information, the dissemination of information through the various technologies we have today – the Internet, Facebook, Google – provides you with unprecedented opportunities to communicate your ideas with one another and that this technology properly used and in your hands can also make a difference, and possibly giving you greater access to economic opportunity. To take advantage of that you have to commit yourselves to what I would call the 21st century legacy of Martin Luther King, Jr: the pursuit to nonviolent conflict resolution and the pursuit of personal excellence.”

Lana Nicole

Go back

Comments (1)
Events Calendar
«« June 2015 »»
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30


Ukraine Truth
Rights We Didn’t Know We Had

Throughout EuroMaidan much has been made of Ukrainians making a stand for their rights. What exactly those rights are were never clearly defined. Ukraine ratified the Univer­sal Declaration of Human Rights in 1952. The first article of the Declaration states all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights, they are endowed with reason and conscience, and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood. The ousted and overthrown Ukrainian government showed to the world they don’t understand the meaning of these words.

Kyiv Culture

Pulling Strings
Located on Hrushevskoho Street – the epicentre of EuroMaidan violence, home to battles, blazes and barricades – children’s favourite the Academic Puppet Theatre had to shut down in February. Nevertheless, it is getting ready to reopen this March with a renewed repertoire to bring some laughter back to a scene of tragedy. Operating (not manipulating) puppets is a subtle art that can make kids laugh and adults cry. What’s On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.


Essential Kyiv listings
Car Rental
Bars & Pubs
Catering Services
Courier Services
Foreign Banks
Hotel Service
Internet Cafes
Lost & Found
Medical Care
Language Courses
Souvenir Shops
Travel Agencies
Real Estate
Cable & Satellite TV
Fitness Centers
Flowers and Gifts delivery
Food Delivery
Freight Forwarders
Internet providers
Translation Services
Veterinarian Clinics
Beauty Salons
Whatson Birdies Party