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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 History

Legendary Israeli Politician was a Kyivan

Before the Nazis and the Soviets did their grim work, Kyiv was a great Jewish city. But while most foreigners here will be vaguely aware of that, not many remember that Golda Meir, one of the founders of the state of Israel and that countrys iconic fourth prime minister, was born in Kyiv on 3 May 110 years ago.
Its true. Walk along the eastern side of Basseyna, across the way from Palace Sport and the Fortuna cigar store, and on one of that streets facades youll see a plaque, in Ukrainian and Hebrew, pointing out that this titan of 20th century history lived in the building in question until 1903, when she was five.


 Not that Meir, who was born Golda Mabovitz, had great memories of the city of her birth. Maybe if she had been acquainted with the Kyiv of the independence era she would have thought highly of this place. But the future state-founder, warrior, and advocate for Jewish interests was born in 1898, when Kyiv or should we say Kiev? was a thoroughly Russian city. Moreover, it was a Russian city during a particularly anti-Semitic period, when the tsarist regime was stirring up pogroms and the Black Hundreds gangs were waging violence. Apparently one of Meirs earliest memories is of her father nailing the familys door shut in response to rumours that an anti-Jewish riot was on the way. In a 1973 interview with the eminent Italian journalist Oriana Fallaci, Mier said, From Russia I didnt bring out a single happy memory, only sad, tragic ones. The nightmare of pogroms, the brutality of Cossacks charging young Socialists, fear, shrieks of terror. In 1906, the child Golda followed her already emigrated father to Milwaukee, Wisconsin, where her father worked as a carpenter and her mother in a grocery. She would grow up in the rather safer environment of the American Midwest, with a stint in Denver. An excellent student, she got involved, like many Jews of her generation, in the heavily socialist Zionist movement. Marrying a Jewish-American sign-painter named Morris Myerson, she joined the Zionist tide and immigrated to Palestine in 1921, working at a kibbutz.

 Ascending to Power
Its in Palestine that, over the years, this natural leader of a woman became heavily involved in the powerful labour and UNI0N movement of Jewish Palestine, and in the political maneuvering that eventually led to the creation of the state of Israel in 1948. She was one of the 24 people who signed Israels founding documents and she went as an emissary on behalf of the state to both the United States and to Jordan (to the latter, disguised as an Arab woman). In 1948 she served a short stint as Isreals ambassador to the USSR and she was Israels labour minister for most of the 1950s before doing a long hitch as foreign minister under David Ben-Gurion. Its at this point that she Hebraicized her married name, Meyerson, to Meir. After a period of retirement in the 1960s during which she battled cancer, she was Israels prime minister from 1969 until 1974. It was a strange time to be prime minister, as this was the era of the 1972 slaughter of Israels Olympic athletes by Palestinian militants at the Munich Olympics. The Yom Kippur War, a near-disaster for Israel, occurred in 1973. Movie-goers will remember that Meir was an important character in the recent Steven Spielberg movie Munich: she was the Israeli leader who ordered the Mossad to kill all of the terrorists responsible for the Munich atrocities. But that wasnt Meirs only film role, so to speak. Shes also been portrayed, in film and television and on stage, by Ingrid Bergman and Judy Davis. Meir retired in 1974 and died an Israeli hero in 1978. Besides her many accomplishments on Israels behalf, shes known for her high quotability level. The tart, witty woman had a knack for saying things that, whether you agree with them or whether they enrage you, are memorable. The Arabs will stop fighting us when they love their children more than they hate Jews, she famously said. And: There were no such thing as Palestinians. When was there an independent Palestinian people with a Palestinian state? It was either southern Syria before the First World War, and then it was Palestine including Jordan. It was not as though there was a Palestinian people in Palestine considering itself as a Palestinian people and we came and threw them out and took their country away from them. They did not exist. And: Above all, this country is our own. Nobody has to get up in the morning and worry what his neighbours think of him. Being a Jew is no problem here. She knew whose side she was on, and she was unapologetic about it.

 Mark Sabchuk


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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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