The Daily Item, Sunbury, PA


March 6, 2014

Deal with problems in Ukraine

I was brought up in an ethnic Ukrainian community-everything revolved around the church and parish school.

My grandparents were from Galicia and my parents were first-generation Americans and Ukrainian, I understand, was spoken by them until they went into public lest people entertain the notion that all immigrants attain fluency in English as soon as their feet touch American soil! And, of course, Ukrainian was spoken when they didn’t want the kids to know what they were talking about.

We had Ukrainian lessons in school but it was sort of bizarre as we coal region kids were taught in primers from the rural Ukraine which talked of churning butter and cutting down wheat (the Ukraine is the breadbasket of Europe).

As much as I love my traditions and my roots, with the situation as it is in the Ukraine I feel more American than I think I ever did! I had discussed with other Ukrainians months before online about this proliferation of right wing extremists and nationalists in the Ukraine.

I see Ukrainian Americans crying and lambasting Putin and as sad as I am, I can’t help looking at this as an American and a liberal. There is a pattern people have failed to notice in many cases, it resembles the classic neoconservative/neoliberal playbook.

We saw it with Saddam, Gadhafi and Mubarak. We saw it when the duly elected Muslim Brotherhood were elected in Egypt and I think this may have been a legal election in the Ukraine. I am not trying to put a happy face on Putin or the former president. However, we seem to have selective outrage in terms of mistreatment of people and oppression.

Pinochet, Noriega and the Contras were lauded as American heroes at a given time. No big issues with Pinochet stadium executions or the assassination of Archbishop Romero by suspected Contras at the altar because he made the grave error of advocating for the poor. The Contras were freedom fighters and Iran Contra should have led to the impeachment of Ronald Reagan, the great cold warrior.

I see a great willingness of the neoconservatives for a new war. They have been itching and they didn’t get it with Syria or Iran and I think they are chomping at the bit here. Saddam and the others, they were no match for the U.S. and their “shock and awe” and the whole war travesty that was perpetrated with misinformation.

However, Putin is no lightweight and I don’t know if this Crimean invasion was anticipated, but it has scary implications. From what I have heard, the Ukraine is a conduit site to rich oil reserves in the Caspian area and has lots of desirable resources. This divided Ukraine theory is not the total picture but clearly different areas of the Ukraine see this differently and having come from the Western Ukraine and being Catholic while the East was Orthodox does point out some differences.

I want the best for those people and I want to see the killing end. I am not insensitive to the whole scenario. What we need in all this is the truth so people can find out the problems and deal with them.

To take some liberties with a poem about the Crimean War: “Ours is but to wonder why, ours is not to do or die”

Alexis Fasolka, Marion Heights

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