The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Going Viral

On one day last week, 793 people died in Italy of the Coronavirus otherwise known as COVID-19.  Since the start of the pandemic, over 6,000 people in that country have succumbed to this deadly killer. Globally, the death toll now sits at over 18,000. In the U.S. more than 600 people have died of the virus, while in Canada, we have been fortunate to have only had 24 deaths to date. That number will surely rise dramatically in the coming weeks, and it is hard to predict when the fatality rate will start to slow down.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Hryts and the Coronavirus

I heard last week that the Coronavirus had finally reached Ukraine, and as I have no shortage of family still living there, I was more than a little concerned about their welfare. I know well the limitations of Ukraine’s health care system.  In particular, I was worried about my cousin Hryts in Pidkamin since he is well on in years, so much so that he often claims to have gone to school with Taras Shevchenko. I do know that he can recite Shevchenko’s poems endlessly from memory, almost as well as my wife can recite the dialogue from almost every episode of Star Trek.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Indigenous Affairs

Canada has been experiencing some significant discomfort these past few weeks as a result of protests and blockades of railways lines primarily by Canada’s indigenous first nations seeking to stop the construction of a pipeline through the lands of the Wetʼsuwetʼen Nation in British Columbia. These have managed to shut down most of Canada’s rail network causing considerable negative economic impact. Although court injunctions have been issued against the protestors, the various police forces involved have been reluctant to forcibly remove the protestors, fearing further escalation and damage to ongoing efforts at reconciliation between the various levels of governments in Canada and its indigenous peoples.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Zellenials

Last year’s stunning victory by Volodymyr Zelenskyy of Ukraine’s Presidential election with 73% of the votes cast marked a seismic shift in Ukrainian politics.  This was followed up by the equally stunning success of his newly minted Sluha Narodu party in the subsequent parliamentary elections, where it won an absolute majority of 254 or the 450 seats in the Verkhovna Rada. 

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Zemlya

Back in 1930, master Ukrainian filmmaker Oleksandr Dovzhenko made the widely acclaimed film “Zemlya” (Earth) in which he portrayed the Ukrainian peasants’ deep love for the land that they owned and farmed, against the backdrop of Stalin’s nefarious collectivization campaign. Although Dovzhenko, understandably, was forced to do so through a Bolshevik prism, he still managed to capture the almost mystical tie that Ukrainians had with their famed “Chornozem” or black earth, some of the richest and most fertile land on this planet. That struggle against collectivization cost millions of lives and untold suffering, before the whole Communist system fell apart and the collectivized agriculture experiment in Ukraine was dismantled.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Election Hangovers

As we all know, Petro Poroshenko lost the Presidential election in Ukraine last year by an overwhelming majority to newcomer Volodymyr Zelenskyy. The reasons for his loss are also fairly clear. Despite having done many commendable and progressive things during his term in office, he failed to address the issue that was most painful to the Ukrainian electorate, namely the endemic corruption brought about by an oligarchic controlled state. Though he himself might have been a relatively altruistic oligarch, nonetheless, he was seen as helping perpetuate a state of affairs in Ukraine that the people were not prepared to condone any longer. Voters were willing to take the risk of electing a neophyte rather than endure the same old, same old.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

The Only Truth is Music

America’s famous itinerant beat poet and philosopher Jack Kerouac once said, “The only truth is music.” I know well what he meant. Words and pictures can be used and abused to create a false picture of life and reality, but music cuts straight through to the raw emotions that our inner selves are made of. Music does not lie.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Collateral Damage

Last week’s news was dominated by the crash of Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) Flight PS752 shortly after it left Tehran airport in Iran headed for Kyiv.  After the expected initial denials by the Iranian government, they eventually admitted in the face of incontrovertible evidence that the plane had been shot down by two Iranian anti-aircraft missiles, in what they claimed was a tragic mistake.

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The View From Here

By Volodymyr Kish

Year-End Hryts

Newspapers and journalists are prone at the end of each year to writing tendentious reviews on the key events that transpired over the course of the previous year. These usually come in the form of “The Ten Most Important..” or “The Ten Best or Worst of…” and purport to summarize what was most important or worthy of our attention over the previous twelve months.

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