why don't you understand

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Posted by mseidner on February 08, 2006 at 05:32:36:

In Reply to: Re: show me where I'm lieing? posted by Ivan on February 08, 2006 at 04:31:34:

Please bear with me, and I'll tell you my tale

I am a VLSI designer. Had a consulting business in the US doing this and was very successful. Came up with a "killer idea", and needed 2-3 years to develop it. Sold our house and business in silcon valley and came to Sevastopol where we had a summer house on a Black Sea beach for a sabbatical to work on it. Started a business here as well, built some apartments/houses for fun and profit, helped relatives start businesses here and started an English school. My wife LOVED America, especially it's shopping I was not such a devotee, especially of contemporary politics or culture. Told her our move was temporary, after here we'd like to relocate to Western Europe, and we're evaluating several places, if they don't work out for us, then it'll be back to the US, maybe Florida, and I plan on doing something else for a change.

It has been a HUGE culture shock for me here. This is what I write about. The garbage, the dishonesty, the chaos, the corruption, and all the tears that it brings. You are right, you should feel insulted that I write these things, I would like you to feel angry when I write that a lot of little children go to bed hungry here, or get sick too easily from a poor diet, or that one of every 8 orphans in Ukraine will commit suicide, or that hospitals have a horrible infant mortality rate, and are selling organs from dead children and lying to their parent about it. These things infuriate me. However there's more. Let me give you an example of what I'm talking about. Last year a city in Western Ukraine received a 50,000 USD grant from a US aid organization for “civic improvement”. This is a poor community like all communities in Ukraine. Did they use the money to improve the schools, nope. Did they use the money to turn some idle farm land into vegetable gardens for the poor, nope. Did they give micro-grants to start small businesses, nope. What they did was to build a statue to the Ukrainian poet Taras Shevchenko as an expression of “Ukrainian national spirit”. You see the people who made this decision, felt that this was more important than educating children, more important than feeding the poor, and more important than boot-strapping the economy. On a national level, it's more important than having natural gas available in homes, schools, and industry.

Why do I care? In the area of Sevastopol I live is a group of apartments, since there are no nearby playgrounds, the children play in front of the buildings. Some are my daughter's friends, and I know most by recognition, and in the summer my daughter and I give everyone homemade Ice Cream, for this we are justly famous. There was one little girl I remember, she always sat by herself, sometimes teased by the other children, my daughter said. Her clothes were old, dirty, and worn out. I would always nod my head to her, but I never received any response in return, she had a sad, vacant expression. I never even noticed when she wasn't there anymore. Then one day one of our neighborhood friends came over. She told me the little girl had gotten very sick, her mother didn't have the money for a doctor, and then it was too late. She died of kidney failure in the hospital. She was just 9 years old, but she looked like she was about 6. I was really upset at this, if you have children, you know what it feels like when you hear of someone's child dieing. I felt guilty about it. I could've done something, I could've saved her, but I didn't know, and so I didn't do anything. So she's dead. Now, I study all the children's faces I see in our neighborhood carefully, I ask my daughter to ask them if they're hungry,

What you interpret as my "stubborn devotion" to Russian culture is completely misunderstood by the people on this board. I have no feeling for a "national Ukraine" if you will. My sympathies belong to the people that I live with, not to an abstraction like “flag” or “country” or “nation”. The people here all speak Russian, because this area was settled by Russians, and not once, but twice! I would have to travel hundreds of miles from here to get to a region that you would describe as being “Ukrainian”. It doesn't matter to me that they speak Russian, they could speak Swahili, my affection for them and sympathy for them would be the same. I suppose if I lived in Lviv I would feel the same way about Ukrainian/Ukrainians and you'd all think I was a really swell guy. Well, sorry about my choice of location! The people here have been continually victimized by the circumstances of history, Tzars, Stalin, Hitler, have all left their boot mark on the soul of everyone here. These days, the oppression takes the form of a sick economy, a sick government, and a sick society. Then on top of that I see, at least for the people here, a new oppression , called “Ukrainianism”. Ukrainianism says, “thou shall speak but one language, thou shall love but one culture”. It's just another boot on people's faces here, I agree it's not the largest one, but why is it necessary to add it in the first place. Why is it necessary to fire Russian speaking teachers and hire Ukrainian ones, why is necessary to have local courts register documents ONLY in Ukrainian, when the constitution says that each Oblast can have whatever multi-lingual documents that suits it. Why in a Russian speaking area, are English and other languages taught in public schools, only taught in Ukrainian and not Russian?

Why? Why did I write something so lengthy?

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