Saturday, April 29, 2006

i wonder if americans would ever do this

this is a picture of a street off Independence Square in Kiev, from November 2004.
it was called "the Orange Revolution" and was a quiet, public "sit in" staged in protest of the outcome of a recent election - the results of which the general public felt had been manipulated.
people lived in tents, on the streets of Kiev, for a month.
a month.
in november.
in eastern europe.
it was cold, snowing, and generally unpleasant.
but the people of Kiev felt they had been lied to, and they weren't going anywhere until the government set the record straight. the prime minister was eventually forced to do exactly that - come clean, and admit defeat. for a month, the people of Kiev endured freezing temperatures, living in tents w/no running water, no bathroom facilities.... nothing. one of the strongest things i gained from my trip to Kiev was a deep respect for Ukranian people. they are resilient. determined. and not easily swayed. they've endured a lot, and so, are able to endure much more than most americans would be willing to endure.
case in point - the florida fiasco from the presidential election. people still talk and complain about it. calling it a "stolen election". yet no one ever did much about it, did they? excpet go on t.v. and complain. there's this overarching attitude that there's nothing we can do when we disagree w/our government. and yet, we outnumber them. imagine if just a small percentage of those who felt the election results weren't right had staged a protest similar to the one in Kiev. imagine thousands of people camping out in front of the white house. for a month. think the powers that be could have ignored that?
we don't realize how much power we really have.
we've gotten lazy.
or maybe just too cynical and jaded to think we can make a difference. which is sad, because, compared to the citizens of a country like the Ukraine, we haven't endured enough to warrant being jaded or cynical. Ukrainians have endured communism, forced famines that killed hundreds of thousands, invasions, corruption... so much. and yet, it's made them more resilient. more determined to fight.
we've endured.... what exactly? some corruption? 9/11 (the only "homeland" attack that's ever come from a foreign land)? rising gas prices? slavery? all bad, yes, but nothing compared with the trials endured by citizens of other countries.
maybe someday we'll realize, not only that this country is worth fighting for, but that we actually have the power to fight. and to win.


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