INSIDE VIEW: EuroMaidan Lifestyle As It Is

EuroMaidan Kyiv Ukraine Protest

Photo by Viktor Kovalenko

By Iryna Osnach – Kyiv, Ukraine.

What a wondrous night I had…

I came outside – other than two or three windows, everything is dark outside, kind of ashamed to scream, ask for help…

So I went to a bus stop. Cars, including taxis, drove by from time to time, not overloaded with passengers, but no one stopped even though I had sky-blue ribbons on my hat, coat and backpack. I waved, asked for a ride, walked along the highway, and when the cars passed me by, I told them vexed “You are rednecks, not Europeans!”

I had to walk on the snowed-in Podol Descent upwards, feeling sorry for myself because the given taxi number had a busy signal; no one to rely on… But I’m stubborn, so I figured that somehow I am going to make it. I was so happy when another car going by stopped and backed a little! Lena and Sasha, a cute couple, got a taxi to Maidan and offered me a ride and didn’t take any money for their help. However, the cab driver retorted that it’s not free of charge, somebody has to pay for gas. So don’t believe the pretty tales from the stage and social networks – that’s how they romanticized the facts during the Soviet times as well. Two of my friends couldn’t get through to this so-called free taxi.

It was a quick ride, we were in downtown before 6 am. We walked from the Golden Gates, meanwhile a guy stopped us and asked to help carry some water, which we did. People walked from all over. I started getting into the holiday mood. We went down Proreznaya street, nobody blocked our way.

I gave milk and lemons to the girls with red cross, and they suggested to hide in walkways like the arches of the main Post Office during attacks by riot police, and not stay in the open.

I walked around the Post Office, took a metal rod and started pecking the snow, scraping it off with the shovel. Soon, I got tired and went closer to the stage. Priests prayed from time to time (reading the greetings from Guzar and his successor), gave a sermon, talked to riot police and protestors. Church bells were ringing, riot police advanced, protesters shoved them back, women on and under the stage sang. It was dark and dangerous… They ceremoniously sang the Hymn of Ukraine, putting their hand on their hearts, using flashlights and trying not to show their fear. Every 10 minutes protesters called for medics (at first there were many of them but by the time the sun came up there were only two left), and then they took the people away on blankets somewhere; people fell in different parts of Maidan, and one could only guess why.

I met with a friend who took the first subway train from Academgorodok. It was cold, people were fidgeting their toes, then a beautiful young woman came with a thermos and gave us some tea, which I shared with a cold girl. Then I saw a guy in a thin red jacket who was trembling and offered my help; I tapped his middle back with a rib of my hand to help him warm up (as suggested in social networks. Apparently he left for Maidan without considering the weather.

It was dark, gruesome and cold… Only after I got on the Internet at home did I find out that all this time we were watched by five snipers!

Ruslana pop singer and Parubiy, the opposition MP have been constantly (and slowly) reminding everyone on the Independence Square that the protest was peaceful. They asked not to fight the riot police, and that it was better to just take a step back but try to keep the perimeter. They asked the riot police to remember the oath to the people of Ukraine, back away and join protesters, and not to follow criminal orders…

It got better when the sun came up. I gathered my courage and went to see the riot police – just like people go to the zoo to look at animals.

Internal armed forces… Look just like boys… I looked attentively into the eyes of two or three of them – they avoided their gaze. Their faces looked nice, sad, their legs were frozen, constantly stomping. Nearby was a woman, I started talking to her about the riot police, whether they would hit me with the stick if the orders are given, or not. She talked just loud enough for them to hear, asking me not to scold them. The riot police quietly told us that they will not hit people, and that when they were ordered to move a meter with their shields, they moved forward 10 centimeters. They would also let anyone out by moving the shied. I looked at them, and, I confess, started crying saying, “What type of monster puts children on different sides of the fence? Such division entices the civil war! Will they hit me if ordered? My son is just like these boys.” I was sincerely sorry for the riot police boys… I cried and could not stop – and they had it worse, I saw it… Then, I went and cried by the fence; a young man tried to console me, saying that everything would be okay and that no blood would be shed. I started feeling a little better. Especially after finding out that the terribly beaten students had been in fact hurt by the urgently pardoned prisoners dressed up like special forces.

Girls served sandwiches, tea, cookies, sucrets, hand warmers, and something else… People have kept on coming… Three of our leaders and a Polish representative read about the sanctions introduced by Canada. Ruslana started singing, she did a great job throughout the protest at night and in the morning. What composure! I admire her and Parubiy. Then, Marichka Burmaka took over, a young couple gave her a bouquet of tiny yellow and blue chrysanthemums, and she looked shocked by the gesture, promising to never throw it away. They had tears in there eyes! Everywhere around stood such beautiful and pure people from all of Ukraine, the nation’s best, it’s indescribable…

When the riot police left at 10 pm, the people cheered, shouting “Goodbye!” Then, we heard the news that the police couldn’t take down the Kyiv city hall… That there will be sanctions against Yanukovich, that we will be accepted into the EU, that the whole world admires us, that we will travel to Europe without visas…

We sang Ukrainian songs. We shouted out Maidan slogans… We warmed up by the barrels… Some cleaned out the snow, others put trash into trash bags… Then, we went to disassemble the littered tents… The priest asked us to find his vestment and the rest of his garment. People laughed, since he wore boots, a padded military jacket, a priest hat and some sort of apron! Generally, the priests were very friendly, smiling, and said that there are now reasons for creating an autonomous church of Ukraine!

They would not let the protester who wanted to show the destroyed hardhat, on stage. Nor would they let a man who wanted to read something off paper. I left around 1 pm, because people were everywhere: under the Post Office arch, on Kreshatyk, on Maidan and Institutska street, near Oktyabrskiy.,, I stayed for my shift, now I could leave; on the way home, seeing my yellow-blue ribbons, people repeatedly asked how Maidan was, and said that they had been there and would come again. And by the Post Office wall, near the medics, stood no less than 150 bottles of milk…

Furthermore, the most amazing, not merely incidental and meaningful thing happened – the pigeon flew down on the priest’s hands, everybody gasped, I opened my eyes – Marichka had him – and she let him go so gracefully! It was the Sign from Above! And the pigeons kept circling high above the Maidan…

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