by Jerry Alatalo
hen first becoming aware of protests in Ukraine in the fall of 2013, like most Americans there was no idea where Ukraine was on a map. After reading a few articles it became apparent that Ukrainians were in a struggle between western Ukrainians over joining the European Union, developing a western-style society, and leaving the eastern/Russian sphere of influence, and the eastern Ukrainian view to stay close to Russia. What was puzzling was how it came to be that Ukrainians had seemingly become forced to decide between Europe and Russia, one or the other, and that possibly simply dealing with both Europe and Russia wasn’t an option.
Unfortunately, Yanukovych wasn’t born in the dead-center of Ukraine but in the eastern region, so the mostly Russian-speaking people there reacted strongly to the overthrow of “one of their own”. Also puzzling was how, after an agreement became signed days before the coup by representatives from Europe, leaders of the Maidan protests, and Yanukovych on reforms, power-sharing and elections, everything went to hell hours later when nearly 100 protesters and police were victims shot dead by snipers.
Nobody has been prosecuted and imprisoned for the sniper killings; the result was Yanukovych fled for his life to Russia, and a new government was established in his place. Why didn’t those in the Ukraine government who wanted the elected president out for corruption initiate impeachment of Yanukovych, but extreme violence replaced a legal constitutional process to remove a leader?
What is puzzling as well is the lack of focus and detail, in especially western mainstream media, on exactly what the problems/disagreements are in Ukraine which have led to over 5,400 Ukrainians perishing and near one million refugees and internally displaced. Is it oil and gas geopolitical strategy at the highest level, control of Ukraine’s immense agricultural sector, the rise of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) alliance of nations as a previously absent option for nations instead of the International Monetary Fund, World Bank and the largest international banks?
Are eastern Ukrainians very concerned about the dangers of hydraulic fracturing (fracking) and planting of GMOs in Ukraine, known as the “breadbasket of Europe” for its ideal black, rich soils and massive acreage of farmlands.
How does Russia’s only warm water naval base at Sevastopol in Crimea factor into the crisis – Russia’s only southern sea access to the Mediterranean? Or the factor pointed out by experts of Ukraine joining NATO? Can the extremely odd developments surrounding the downing of Malaysian Flight MH17 be placed on the peace dialogue agenda, or Joe Biden’s son becoming involved with Burisma Holdings – Ukraine’s largest private energy firm, along with every concern of every serious party?
These questions and many more need to become seriously addressed to prevent any more bloodshed of Ukrainian citizens, or God forbid beyond. The real causes of differences must become placed on the table for/of discussion, followed by the working out of possible compromises and mutually agreeable solutions – not more war, violence, human suffering and destruction, and effectively solving the crisis. Conflict resolution, although often described as a very complex endeavor, is fundamentally simple – but successful peace efforts must be founded on the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
This was the proposal from the Russian side after the February 2014 coup which chased Viktor Yanukovych out of power; a “tripartite” model, reforms, and addressing the concerns of the Ukrainians in the south and east region nearer the Russian border. Hopefully peace talks will result in a situation where Europe, Russia and Ukraine trade and conduct business like all other nations sharing borders.
Escalation of violence in Ukraine will harm men, women and children whose only fault, the same as innocent victims of war for centuries, was being born in a region of the Earth where powerful people see possibilities for increasing their wealth and power. A for-as-long-as-it-takes peace conference among all “sides” to the Ukrainian conflict, inviting the world’s experts, academics and spiritual leaders, where there is a rational, patient dealing with every last one of the concerns and differences of opinion of all serious Ukrainians, can set an extremely positive example of conflict resolution for humanity, and could forever change – for the better – humanity’s perceptions on war and peace.
While distressing, disturbing, worrying and heartbreaking, the Ukraine crisis can at the same time be seen as an enormous, historic opportunity. There exists a real opportunity to construct a model for creating peace which will become replicated in the future time and time and time again. In 2015, such a model would represent a truly beneficial, positive advance and evolution of civilization.
And isn’t now as good a time as any?
(Thank you to TheRealNews at YouTube)