Thinking about this the next day, I somehow managed to remember an event that took place when I was about 13-years-old. Sitting in a café with some friends, some older boys had made a mess throwing stuff about. For some reason, the workers in the café thought they were my friends, and I told them to clean the mess up. The older boys looked on laughing. I told them what I thought of them in no uncertain terms, and got a bit of a beating for it. You’d think I’d have learned from this, but I can cite several similar examples since (some more serious, some less so) of my behaving in the same manner.
I’ve always had a heightened sense of justice and fairness, and a complete inability to remain silent when I see things happen I think are unjust or unfair. Don’t get me wrong, I am not boasting here, because I recognise that along with this heightened sense of justice comes an equally excessive amount of judgment. As one friend put it, “You are the most intolerant person I’ve ever known.” Or, as another friend recently said, a little more kindly, “You do not suffer fools gladly.” And not just fools.
Strangely, internally, I am not that intolerant. In fact, I’d actually say that I’m pretty good at understanding people and their motivations. And internally, I accept why people are the way they are and why they do what they do. Externally, however, I find it very difficult to keep my mouth shut.
This, as my emotional guide on Saturday felt free to point out, is often not a good thing, because it can create conflict, upset people, and interfere with relationships in a negative way. For example, if a friend is being treated unfairly by someone, I find it hard not to speak out against it, but often that can exacerbate the situation, especially if that someone is a friend of the friend.
It’s something I’ve understood about myself, and it’s something I’ve been working on for many years, albeit with not a great amount of success. And it’s good that I was reminded of it.
Most importantly of all, who am I to tell anything to anyone? Everyone is flawed, and me more than most.
But some things are simply unjust and unfair, and those things are worth speaking out about. Yanukovych and what he is doing to this country is one of those things. And it is good that the people of Ukraine speak out against it. This is not a time to bite one’s tongue, this is a time to scream from the rooftops! And it’s time for the governments of this world to provide more than words. It’s time for them to take action.
Kyiv Top Five
It’s Christmas time for most of us here at What’s On, and we want to wish you all a warm, healthy and happy holiday season. We recognise that you won’t be opening gifts for a few more days yet, and so we thought we might help steer your shopping away from some of the worst gifts we have ever received.
1. Toe socks
2. Cheap versions of lego
3. Piggy banks
4. Kitchen utensils
5. No gifts at all!
EuroMaidan irony, hypocrisy, promises, and bye-bye Mr President. The revolution usurps drinking to dominate talk of Ukraine on Twitter in our tweets of the week.
Chrystyna Lapychak (@chryslap) notes some irony:
Report of a significant decline in crime in Ukraine’s regions over the past few weeks since most of their police left for Kyiv!!
LBC (@laydbackcat) has a point:
McCain warning Putin that interference in Ukrainian affairs is not acceptable...whilst he himself is in Kyiv interfering ...The hypocrisy
Valeriy Kramarenko (@V_G_Kramarenko) is skeptical:
The Ukrainian police promise not to beat people anymore. I don’t even know to laugh or to cry at this message? #euromaidan #Ukraine
Protesters want to wish Yanukovych a permanent goodbye according to Maxim Eristavi (@MaximEristavi):
200 #Euromaidan activists are protesting at #Kyiv’s main airport Boryspil. They’re trying to say a proper “goodbye” to Yanukovych leaving for Moscow
Who needs Christmas decorations? The sight of thousands of mobile phones illuminating the EuroMaidan fortress in the centre of Kyiv as people sang the national anthem of Ukraine last Saturday was poignantly beautiful. Never has Kyiv felt more festive…or more hopeful.
They are the hired help for Viktor Yanukovych and his ruling Party of Regions. State-employees paid around 300 hryvnias (about $37) a day to stand and feign support for the government or risk losing their jobs. And at the end of their “working” day they leave. Yanukovych and co, you’re not fooling anyone.
A Ukrainian judge is sitting in his private chambers before going out to hear a case. Quietly, one of the parties in the case sneaks into his room, hands him $10,000 and whispers, “Rule in my favour.” He takes the $10,000 and the man leaves. A minute later, there’s a gentle knock on the door, and another man enters – the other party in the case. He hands the judge $10,000 and says, “Rule in my favour.” Now the judge has a moral dilemma... Which man to rule for, both have given him the same amount of money, so he decides to listen to the merits of the case.