The Tree of Liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants
– Thomas Jefferson
On February 21th, diplomatic representatives of the European Union, the President of the Ukraine, leaders of Ukrainian opposition groups, and Russian foreign diplomats agreed to a compromise to seek a way out of the violent upheaval in the streets of the capital city of Kiev and across the Ukraine. The plan sought a reduction in the current president’s powers and earlier elections then planned for the nation’s federal offices. Solemn remarks of the participants after the agreement suggested it was the only way out of the crisis. The EU’s Polish representative Polish Foreign Minister Sikorski told opposition leaders, “If you don’t support this deal, you will have martial law. the army. You’ll all be dead.” An agreement was signed and the current government had achieved some breathing room. President Yanukovych, the hated focus of the protestors for selling out the Ukraine to Russia after previously agreeing to a stronger relationship with the European Union, was allowed to remain President to the next election.
Apparently no one asked the opinion of the people of the Ukraine.
Revolutions don’t seek compromise, they seek fundamental change. And what was seen as a mob driven protest by the negotiators was instead an overwhelming surge of national conversion, driven by the blood of 100 dead and thousands injured in the violent battles in Maidan Square. Blood was not spilled for compromise, but for liberty, for the country to direct its own future free of Russian domination. The political leaders did not recognize the depth of conversion that had taken place. Within hours of the agreement, the fundamentals of government control began to crumble in the face of overwhelming public pressure. Opposition leaders, explaining the agreement to the masses were shouted down, and the call rose for the immediate resignation of the hated President. The police, sensing the shift, began to side with the demonstrators. The army stood aside as the nation convulsed in determination. Governmental offices were overrun. President Yanukovych, sensing the sand shift from beneath his feet, hurriedly abandoned the capitol for the supposed safety of the Russian speaking city of Kharkiv. What he found in Kharkiv was ten of thousands of more protestors and his ability to exit to Russia blocked. The Ukrainian parliament voted for his impeachment, and arranged the release of his imprisoned rival the previous Prime Minister Yulia Tymoshenko. This incredible 24 hours of events is reported minute to minute by the UK Guardian in a way that current American newspaper organizations could not hold a candle to.
One week ago, President Putin of Russia was sure he had bucked up his satrap in the Ukraine with enough money to use what ever means necessary to maintain governmental control, and Russia’s dominant position in the affairs of the Ukraine. A week later it appears his dream of a greater Russian confederation in the style of the Soviet Union is in tatters. As it turns out, money can’t buy everything.
The people of the Ukraine have achieved through their blood and determination a chance at a better future. Given the miniscule current backbone of the United States and the European Union, however, it is an uncertain one at best. Putin may yet prove to be a Brezhnev, who 1968 sent his tanks into Prague, or achieved the silencing of Solidarity with marshal law in Poland in 1981. He has suggested on multiple occasions that he sees the inaction of Gorbachev allowing the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1989-1991 as the mortal sin of governance. With tens of thousands of dead in the Chechen republic battles he is not about to go “weak kneed” in the face of a few hundred dead in Kiev.
Whatever the outcome, the people of the Ukraine, and less recognized but equally passionate, the people of Venezuela, have determined that casual acceptance of a life under socialist tyrants is not their vision of a livable future. The world, including the previous citadel of individual freedom, the United States, continues to slide in governance to a progressive socialist mediocrity. It is no surprise that large bureaucracies like the EU, felt it important to tell the Ukrainian opposition that, aspirations aside, the agreement for a surrender to managed decline was the best the people could hope for.
The message from Kiev is that the understanding of and desire for Jefferson’s eternally defined rights has not yet been eliminated from the face of the earth.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.–That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, –That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.
And THAT – is what its all about…