Sunday, June 13, 2010
Ukraine is able to Identify with Taiwan
Pro-Taiwanese organizations should expand their connections to Ukraine. This nation has a cultural and historical background to readily identify and desire to support a nation like Taiwan oppressed by a geographically and culturally nearby expansionist empire. As you open up a dialogue and seek to convince Ukrainian organizations to acknowledge Taiwan, bring one name into the dialogue: Taras Shevchenko.
Sometimes, just a few men and women can lay the groundwork among a people for a future yearning for freedom and self determination. Ukraine, a Slavic nation, had been under the foreign rule of the Russian empire and afterwards the Soviet empire. Although possessing their own distinct language, it was increasingly being overshadowed by another Slavic language: Russian. In the 1800s, one artist, Taras Shevchenko awakened to the need to preserve his people, language and culture and to stir a longing for freedom among his people. While few around him even cared, he began to produce art works, poems, and other writings in his own Ukrainian language. Today he is heralded as both the father of Ukrainian literature and also one major cause for the perseverance of Ukrainian identity that resulted into them today having their own distinct nation.
In a time where those in search of power and prosperity would not deign to seemingly waste their time with the native Ukainian language and culture, Shevchenko produced a remarkably large output of art and literature whose subject was his native Ukraine.
He had a lot of trouble even convincing many of his fellow countrymen of the worth of being their own masters and throwing off the yoke of the Russian empire. In one poem, "Shevchenko turns his bitterness and satire against the Ukrainians themselves, reminding them that only in ‘one's own house’ is there ‘one's own truth’ and entreating them to realize their national potential, stop serving foreign masters, and become honorable people worthy of their history and heritage, in their own free land."* Hope beyond the present seemingly insurmountable difficulties drove him: "he remained steadfast in his belief that divine justice would triumph one day not only in Ukraine, but throughout the world."* Though he did not live to see the day, and even died in Russia away from his homeland, his labors for Ukraine and its people were indeed a major cause to help bring about that day of freedom for Ukraine.
* quotes from The Encyclopedia of Ukraine website.