Some of you watching the news tonight will probably see a little something about the events in Kyiv. I’d like to set the record straight.
It is not a protest. It is not a riot. It is not unrest. It is a battle. It is not because some Ukrainians would prefer to align more closely with Europe than with Russia. That’s how it started, but anyone still claiming that is waaaaaay behind the times.
What they want is to oust a corrupt and brutal regime. The government laid a trap disguised as concessions and amnesty laws. They tricked the Maidan activists into opening a gap in a barricade securing their perimeter. This morning, they lured them into an ambush: a peaceful march found itself under attack by rooftop snipers.
This afternoon, riot police burst through the gap in the barricade and surrounded the central square and center of the movement, Maidan, from which the EuroMaidan movement takes its name. The regime issued an ultimatum: Get out by 6 p.m., or we remove you forcefully.
The activists stayed. At 8 p.m. Kyiv time, the government forces attacked. The activists are fighting back. The government has water cannons, AK-47s, grenades, armored trucks. The activists have cobblestones, fireworks, molotov cocktails. Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych isn’t an embattled leader. He’s a criminal, a mafioso, a coward, a liar, a thief, and a sociopath. He is, in short, a real piece of shit.
The Maidan activists aren’t fascists or neo-Nazis. They aren’t fighting this fight for the sake of an EU association agreement which doesn’t even confer full EU membership. They are desperate people fighting for their right to live free, dignified lives in a country which treats them with respect and isn’t shot through with corruption at every level. They are fighting for hope and possibility, and they are fighting because they have no other choice.