DEC 17: On the Maidan.
Even though live music is played throughout the day to keep people going, I have not been shoved once. My bubble of personal space is actually too roomy. The barricade openings are only several feet wide, and even with the #Maidan being splendidly full today, things never seem to get rowdy like that.
Today there were many important speakers saying many important things. The crowd right in front of the stage is filled with elderly; out of respect, younger people move back and give this space up knowing this is the right thing to be done.
It is still amazes me how silent the crowd is when it needs to be. Of course when a cheer is shouted on stage, the crowd answers in unison with the correct phrase, however, the whole Maidan is completely silent during everything other than this.
You can hear single voices shout things even from the back of the crowd. The speaker will actually stop for three seconds or so and listen to what has to be said.
Near the front of the crowd, there were two flags that were blocking the view of the famous boxer, Vitali Klitschko, who spoke on stage. Many people shouted for the flags to be brought down, but obviously it’s hard to hear over the blaring speakers and 100,000 heads.
When a message needs to be heard, the people literally pass the message one by one up to the front.
Within 7 minutes, the flags were brought down.
The Klitschko brothers are loved here in Ukraine. They are international celebrities and one of the brothers, Wladimir, is engaged to Hayden Panettiere. They have both been helping on the Maidan everyday now (discontinuing their boxing career for this moment).
They urge and call people to come to the Maidan, while they have stopped tractors from entering and tearing things up to even turning Berkut around.
As Vitali spoke, energy flowed throughout the crowd. He called Yanakovitch out to a personal battle- just the two of them- people cheered.
I was scared that the President would send people out to attack Vitali for calling him out like that, but the next speaker did the same!
So did the next one, and the next one! People aren’t exactly being disrespectful towards the President, but strong and hilarious statements are definitely being voiced.
There was even a mini golf strip set up on the street with the Presidents head right above where the holes are (so you can hit his face.)
Oleh Tyahnybok spoke after Klitschko, and he had my heart aching and brought tears to my eyes. The opposition leader spoke how Ukrainians have been through enough, and that it IS TIME for return and restoration.
I was thinking about this the other day to myself… this country deserves every inch of freedom.
After all the corruption, force, intentional starvation, robbery of our culture, pride, and human rights have been tried on us, were still fighting in the year of 2013.
Yanakovich has promised us many things, but nothing has come to fruition. An agreement (bailout agreement) with Putin was apparently attained today (concerning the lowering of gas prices between Russia and Ukraine along with an apparent loan of $15 million and other things attached.)
Even though an agreement may have been reached, there is no word of anything actually being signed.
Yes, thank you for ATTEMPTING to lower our gas prices bro, but this is not nearly close to what the people are asking for. Plus, this means even MORE ties with Russia.
GOOD NEWS IS …
Opposition lawmakers announced today that the Parliament is 9 votes short (a vote of no confidence) for the dismissal of the Prime minister, Mykola Azorov. The last time this vote took place, we were 40 votes short.
More opposition leaders, prominent people, and well-known influential diplomats all spoke with powerful statements and words.
No one really applauds and yells during speeches though…I have not come to understand this yet, but I think it has something to do with this being the 26th day on the Maidan as well as a culture thing. People are very startled by me personally…they are not used to excited, smiling, energetically filled confrontational people.
For live streaming, visit Espreso.TV
Tomorrow, many people are going home for Mukolay (Ukrainian santa.) It is an important time to be with family, especially for the children. Someone said they will bringing horses and carriages next week to celebration Mukolay as well.
Later at around 10:30 p.m. we met this group who has a little tent community set up right near the “city wall” of wooden blocks (where everyone has been writing where they have travelled from on wooden blocks and stacking them on top of each other.) They have 3 little shacks built out wood and metal which they filled with blankets and pillows- its actually really comfortable!
I met a girl who has been spending day and night at the Maidan with the people we were hanging out with before, and I told her I wanted to help out. I will be walking around with cups of tea for people, and helping serve lunch. She also said that the men get hungry and need to be fed- Kobasa, cheese, and bread is the usual daily diet for the people of the Maidan (I will be buying some and handing it out.)
I met a boy my age (21), and he had travelled 8 hours by train to get here, only to be here for one night because he has to work the next day. He and his three friends are sleeping in a tent (look like military tents → burlap material.)
Larissa Szyszka, Mateo Diachok, and I also got into the main press building. This building with filled with journalists, looking like there was some international reporters as well. We showed our Virginia ID’s and let them know that we were working with The Euromaidan Journalist Collective. They took our names down and gave us press passes (after having to get through about 3 other checkpoints.)
Outside the press building (before we went in), we waited for about 10 minutes as guards formed a pathway (they hold hands, acting like a gate, so people cant get through.) Water and small ration of food was brought in.
We brought out the American flag today. We were a little bit nervous to bring it out before, but when two speakers from the Diaspora (people of a certain decent, but live outside of that country) spoke, we figured we would hold the flag up to show our support and true care for the country. There was also a sign in the crowd saying Philadelphia on it (he did not speak English though, haha.)
After the flag was whipped out and held up, we were constantly shown on the jumbotron TVs. We later left the Maidan to grab a beer and some food as I draped the American flag over my shoulders for the walk. People yelled “molodtsi!” which means “well-done” (molodetz is a person who has done well.) We were stopped for an interview twice on the street and “are you from America?” was heard throughout the night.
The Ukrainian people are truly grateful of other countries support. Tomorrow, I will again drape the American flag around my shoulders, and decorate my neck with yellow and blue, the colors of pride, strength, and determination.https://www.facebook.com/tatyana.kolybabiuk/posts/10151896971151319