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    BRAMA News and Community Press

    BRAMA, Dec 14, 2004, 11:00 am ET

    Op-Ed

    Ineffectiveness of diasporan organizations with the outbreak of the Orange Revolution
    By Max Pyziur

    Ineffectiveness of diasporan organizations with the outbreak of the Orange Revolution
    (Excuse me, but I must have missed the obituaries.)

    On Wednesday 12/1/2004 I fired off an email to several internet-circulated lists. Quoted below in full, it reads ...

    - * * * * -

    Excuse me, but I must have missed the obituaries. Where are all of the Diasporan institutions, both collectively and individually?

    Having perused the Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, Ukrainian Weekly, CIUS, and Encyclopedia of Ukraine web sites there is little if no mention of the Orange Revolution. Add to that the UABA (Ukrainian-American Bar Association) and some others to help us understand what is or isn't proper VR parliamentary procedure.

    The only people/organizations doing the heavy lifting here are Infoukes, Brama, Roman Senkus, and Dominique Arel; the rest seem to have rolled over and are playing dead, save for a few self-appointed fearless leaders - one probably calling for the revocation of the never-as-yet-received Pulitzer prize awarded to the current NY Times reporter covering the fSU; another probably proclaiming some sort of Republican triumphalism of George W. Bush's success in developing Democracy in Ukraine (given that he's failing horribly in Iraq). Thank goodness for all of the individuals taking initiative and getting out into the streets!

    (I should mention Radek Sikorski at the AEI holding his roundtable last week as being the example to aspire to.)

    People, you've been handed a narrative which Hollywood itself couldn't do much better at creating. The non-initiated (CJ Chivers of the NY Times, Jim Lehrer of the PBS NewsHour, Diane Rehm of NPR to name a few) are scrambling to understand it. Sure, it's overwhelming to everyone to try and read all of the news and at the same time listen to Radio Lux (or whatever your favorite Ukraine Internet radio feed is). (I myself along with being part of a two person team running Brama have a day job where among other things make sure $5 billion is assets under management is correctly reported for several thousand accounts). But that shouldn't propel you into stupor and inactivity! Don't wait for your phone to ring or your email to be uber-shtupped.

    off soapbox, but more to follow ....

    Max Pyziur pyz@brama.com

    - * * * * -

    Several other individuals circulated similar items; one in particular reads:

    - * * * * -

    To the Staff of HURI:

    As an early supporter of and active fundraiser for HURI (from the early 70's), it is with great regret that I must concur with the comments made by Vlodko Lupan as to the obvious inactivity of your organization in light of recent developments in Ukraine. As you should know, there is a revolution going on that is of historical proportions. HURI has a moral obligation and duty to actively stand up and take a position rather than merely make academic commentaries from the sidelines. IT WAS FOR THIS PURPOSE THAT THE UKRAINIAN COMMUNITY RAISED MONEY OVER FOUR DECADES FOR HURI. I would strongly suggest that you review your attitude to present history - if you do not do so then do not look to the Ukrainian community for any future support.

    - * * * * -

    The responses to these postings on the part of the cited organizations were for the most part defensive and feeble. They specified all of the calls they received, the interviews they had given, the individuals they had referred. What they failed to recognize was that rather than be integral they were essentially on the sidelines of the whole process of generating information and analytics of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine.

    Since the time the email was circulated, a few organizations did take note and assumed a more pro-active stance. However, the majority are still operating in their status quo mode.

    I refrained from extending the argumentation on the Internet email lists; to do so would be wearying and counter-productive. Instead I made one reply to one individual and then later circulated it to several others. The gist of it follows with a few modifications for the purposes of clarity:

    - * * * * -

    ... What's going on in Ukraine has been brewing for quite a while and was foreseeable.

    I don't see anyone compiling a list of experts and distributing that list to media - Fox, CBS, PBS, etc., - and maintaining contacts at these organizations. Good journalists/reporters work their sources and a large part of what they do is maintaining their sources. Universities such as Harvard and Washington University in St. Louis (to name two) already maintain these lists and actively and consistently maintain contacts with media organizations. So do institutions. I'm sure that that is how McFaul got the shot on Lehrer's NewsHour and his mention in the Wall Street Journal. Hoover pushes/peddles its policy experts.

    Look at CJ Chivers piece in the New York Times (NYT) (a href="http://www.nytimes.com/2004/12/02/international/europe/02oligarch.html" target=_blank">Power Behind the Scenes in Ukraine Crisis (12/2/04)) about Pinchuk (or any of his from the last several days). Notwithstanding that he is an ex US Marine captain, avid New England fisherman, former Providence RI reporter, he's obviously very green, having no background for being NYT's reporter in Moscow. Good and bad. Good in that he will be fresh in his perspective, bad in that he is going to have create his list of sources. He's obviously scrambling to me, earnest in wanting to do good reporting, but very weak.

    If the Ukrainian diasporan academic organizations actively maintained a list of policy experts and actively marketed and maintained contacts w/ media orgs and their respective reporters and analysts the chances of Chivers soft-peddling Pinchuk would diminish, and AAUS/CIUS/HURI would be deeper "in the mix".

    To me this is a no-brainer.

    Great efficiencies could have been gained if the approach was preemptive; instead, everyone is scrambling.

    - * * * * -

    Max Pyziur
    pyz (at) brama.com
    Brama Gateway-Ukraine

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