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7 (2014)
Tunnelling Towards Hope


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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 EuroMaidans three-month-long protests, made headlines around the globe. It was here, on 19 January the countrys 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.

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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.

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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.

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Ukraine Abroad

Special Olympics in Shanghai

The eyes of the world were on Shanghai this month as it played host to the 2007 Special Olympics World Summer Games. The games have been four years in the planning and are much more than merely a spectacle or competition - the Special Olympics have become a global movement fostering tolerance and respect for the disabled, What's On reporter Anastasia Skorina and photographer Roman Orel visited the games to watch the events and talk to some of the celebrities in attendance.


The opening ceremony took place on 2 October at Shanghai Stadium, where a Chinese singer sang 'I Know I Can', the official theme of the Games. After a troupe in traditional Chinese clothing performed a rhythmic dance, China's President Hu Jin-tao officially declared the Games open. The ceremony was divided into four sections, each meant to express one of the Games' four core values: courage, sharing, skill, and joy. During each part, the scale and importance of the festivities that were about to start were obvious. Just as importantly, the goodwill of the crowd, studded with international celebrities, was palpable. Ukraine's 36-member delegation, which participated in seven events, arrived in the company of First Lady Kateryna Yushchenko, who had two important missions during her trip - to support the athletes and to attend the grand opening of Shanghai University's Ukrainian language department on 5 October. "There are over a million mentally disabled people living in Ukraine, and they're isolated from our society," Yushchenko said. "If we call ourselves a European country we have to learn to be tolerant. I believe that a person who's lending a helping hand benefits even more than the person he's helping." The opening ceremony certainly was a good place to see famous people. Among the luminaries in the crowd were the Philippines' President Gloria Macapagal Arroyo, Iceland's President Olafur Ragnar Grimsson, actor Colin Farrell, pianist Lang Lang, NBA star Yao Ming, actor Jackie Chan, singer Vanessa Williams, and music legend Quincy Jones. It was one big happy celebrity family, and it was perhaps the good vibes it generated that inspired Shanghai Mayor Han Zheng to declare, "We're all different, but we have the same heartbeat." Indeed, the entire event was thick with positive feelings. Tim Shriver, chairman of the board of the Special Olympics, gave arguably the best speech of the night, telling the participants, "You know how to stand firm in the face of obstacles, how to fight and win. I want to be as brave as you are."

 Despite California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger's humourous scepticism that Shanghai could accommodate an event of this size - as he noted, 7500 athletes from 165 countries had arrived, accompanied by 40,000 volunteers and 80,000 spectators - the city did a great job. It opened its heart to the participants in a 10-day event in which the most important thing wasn't winning the most medals, but rather teaching tolerance, respect, and compassion. Consistent with that goal, the sports events were accompanied by a number of other consciousness-raising events, which was perhaps why a number of people known for their charity and humanitarian work showed up. Schwarzenegger's wife Maria Shriver, for example, arrived in Shanghai with her kids and her mother Eunice Kennedy-Shriver, who in the 1960s was instrumental in raising consciousness about the needs of the mentally disabled in the United States. Actually, the Gameshave traditionally been held in the United States, the country in which they were founded. These days, however, the impetus is to take the movement global. And the more global the show gets, the more fun it gets - the spectacle becomes more impressive, and more stars show up, circulating in such close proximity to the athletes and the spectators that you can almost touch them. "It's not even a competition now," Maria Shriver said at a 'family forum' associated with the Games on 3 October, "but a global family in which people learn how to live together and how to work as a team. It's important to share our experience with each other."

American society has already made strides in integrating the mentally disabled into the mainstream and making them feel loved and needed. Ukraine, as a developing society, is still somewhat behind. We're just beginning to understand how much the disabled require our constant support. For a Ukrainian reporter, it was touching to see mothers and their disabled kids - promising athletes - relate their life stories, making clear how difficult it could be for children to cope with their fears and failures as they strived to achieve something. The Special Olympics is one of the only chances disabled athletes have to show off what they've got and feel themselves to be integral members of society. There were no losers here. Each participant had already won - the first time when he or she dedicated himself or herself to the hard work of training, and the second time when making his or her respective national team. These athletes are examples to all of us, teaching us what it means to be committed to yourself and to others. That's why they're honoured by the Olympic torch.

Anastasiya Skorina


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Comments (2)
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knxggpq | 01.01.2012 13:53

k2EQVD elbptuxtetlu

Kelis | 29.12.2011 16:03

Insights like this liven tihngs up around here.


 
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    Ukraine Truth
    Rights We Didnt 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 dont 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 childrens 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. Whats On meets Mykola Petrenko, art director of the Theatre, to learn more about those who pull the strings behind the show.

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