Saturday, March 22, 2014

Look them in the eye and tell Ukraine she is on her own. Or not.

Western sanctions and anti-Russian rhetoric may have little meaning and effect...the answer may lie in China. 

I have been watching, like many Ukrainians in the diaspora, and waiting to see how things will unfold after the Russian annexation of Crimea. I cringed when the un-Russian troops marched into the Ukrainian barracks and marched the bewildered Ukrainian soldiers out, taking the Commander, Admiral Serhiy Haiduk, away as hostage. The Russians released him Thursday as they ousted Ukrainian forces from bases around Crimea.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Ukraine isn't dead yet!

The Prophetic Ukrainian National Anthem: Shche ne vmerla Ukraina! 

Plast group Nezabudky performing traditional Ukrainian songs in Philadelphia circa 1970

The count is in from Crimea and not surprisingly the vote is 96% in favor of Crimea joining Russia. Of course there were only two choices on the ballot: 1) join Russia 2) have greater independence from Ukraine. And of course, the Ukrainians and Tatars boycotted the vote and the troops stationed there were not allowed to vote. So who voted? The Russians. Of course, they would vote in favor. I wouldn't be surprised if they also got paid for showing up at the polls.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Russian and Ukrainian are the same language, aren't they?

The politics of language and culture

My sister, Oksana, at Plast camp in NY - a typical Ukrainian American

When I was growing up in America, we did not yet have a television but we did manage to get a phone with a party line. Those old enough to remember will understand this strange phenomenon of sharing phone lines with neighbors and being able to listen in on their conversations. Except it didn't do us much good as we didn't understand a word of English.

Friday, March 14, 2014

Tensions escalating around Ukraine

Fear creeping in...along with the hope that there are still options. 

Our family aboard the USS Constitution setting sail for America.

Some of you who read my first entry in this blog mentioned that there was an anti-immigrant sentiment when you arrived in America. It caused us to congregate together in a support structure that allowed the children to flourish, slowly integrate and change the perceptions of those around us. It took a bit of effort, and often we did the melting pot thing and became American to the world. But inside, we never gave up that feeling of being different and connected by a common bond wherever we chose to reside.  We never gave up hope that the promised land would offer new options. 

Monday, March 10, 2014

Being Ukrainian in the Diaspora

A foreigner in my home land

Ukrainian-American family at home in 1958. I'm the baby. 

by Daria Blackwell

I grew up Ukrainian in America.  My parents were immigrants from this Eastern European country with a rich culture and tumultuous history.  They left their country unwillingly when the Bolshevik and German fronts collided on their doorstep during WWII.  They were among the millions of displaced persons leaving a land they loved for the unknown but promised potential of life in a more peaceful world. More on that later.