For each generation revolution. For each generation war.

By Nazar Kostiv

| 2022-02-27

For each generation revolution. For each generation war.

As with any old story worth telling, this one has some background so let's start with a bit of yesterday, shall we? While the history of this country and its people stretches far and wide, for thousands of years, for the purposes of today’s discussion we need only look back a few decades. Today we shall talk about the country of Ukraine.

1991 — Independence 🇺🇦

The summer was reaching its close. So was the twentieth century, over which the world has lived through an unprecedented amount of development as well as some of the worst events in the history of mankind.

The world was changing fast and so was the Soviet Union with three of its largest founding members making the decision to part ways. On the 1st of December 1991, a nationwide referendum was held in the country previously known as Ukrainian SSR, which resulted in over 90% of votes in favour of independence.

And so began the tale of a nation under the blue and yellow flag. Blue symbolising the depth of the sky. And yellow the endless wheat fields.

The path ahead was thorned with challenges and uncertainty. Yet the unstoppable desire for a free, and prosperous future which is eternally engraved into the golden trident spoke to these people on a deeper level.

1994 — Renunciation of nuclear weapon

Three years have passed since the Declaration of Independence. The economy was facing major difficulties and GDP kept falling. But the idea of a strong country that is part of a new, and flourishing world acted as the light at the end of the tunnel for these people.

At this point in time, Ukraine was in possession of the third-largest nuclear arsenal in the world as well as significant means of its production. WWII has shown us what this weaponry is capable of and the Cold War standoff further highlighted its potential threat to the world. Even when used for good, it can lead to catastrophic and long-lasting effects if insufficient safety precautions are taken, as seen during the Chornobyl disaster.

A weapon that instantly disintegrates everything at the point of impact, leaves soil unusable in a radius of many kilometres and causes a global environmental effect that lasts for years to come should not be used under any circumstances. And to achieve this the government has signed an international treaty renouncing its right to nuclear weapons in exchange for the promise of protection in the time of need.

The world has felt the ground shake due to a nuclear disaster before. Let us ensure it doesn’t happen again. — the voice of reason

2013 — Revolution of Dignity

Now we fast forward through years full of ups and downs, changes in governments and economies, world financial crisis and much more. And we find ourselves on the streets of Kyiv. Take a look around. What do we see?

We see almost a million people on their feet dissatisfied and mostly disappointed due to the fact that the preparations for signing the association agreement with the EU have been suspended. All those dreams, all those futures that people believed in, worked towards, that kept people going — they have been shattered.

And what happens when you take away the future from people who have “freedom and willpower” carved out on their hearts? You get a revolution.

Unhappy with the choices of their government, Ukrainian men and women stood up and raised their voices in order to protect what they held dear. After several months of police brutality, senseless violence, and stone-hard will they emerged victorious with then-president Yanukovych fleeing the country.

Over a hundred civilians lost their lives in the fight for their country and to this day they are referred to as “The Heavenly Hundred Heroes”.

2014 — Conflict in the East

Alas, the sweet taste of victory never lasts. Shortly after the events of the 2013s revolution concluded the country got a loud bang on the door from the east. A few old men, pretending to play war games as if it was a kids' endeavour, felt threatened by the Ukrainian movement towards Europe. Which lead to one of the largest military powers in the world being engaged in the fighting at the Crimea peninsula and shortly after in two major cities and surrounding areas of Luhansk and Donetsk.

Lots of blood was spilt on that land. Too much to count. And the result you may ask? — Complete annexation of Crimea which remains under the control of the Russian Federation to this day. Two regions became a constant battlefield where shots could be heard any time of day and night. Countless lives were ruined. The list goes on. Oh, and of course immeasurable satisfaction for the self-proclaimed heroes hiding in their palaces.

There weren’t any Devils on this island. No. Just Humans. — Shingeki no Kyojin

2022 (Today)— Invasion

Today, after months of build-up and increasing tension, a command to invade has been given. A command to breach the border of the neighbouring country of Ukraine. A command to utilise deadly weapons. A command to target key strategic locations and spread chaos. But what stands on the path of a lonely rocket to the airport? Sometimes a hospital. Sometimes an elderly care house.

In war, there are no winners. Intelligence on this planet has evolved sufficiently to comprehend this simple axiom. Yet for every generation, there is still a revolution. For every generation, there is war.

As I write these sentences, more and more people are being drafted into joining military action on both sides of the conflict. Some to protect what they love. Some, against their will. Some to hold a gun for the first time.

But what can I do? What can I, sitting here in front of my computer screen, in a country that has nothing to do with the conflict thousands of kilometres from me, can do to help? Alone — nothing. Luckily that's not how our world works. Each person is connected to every other human being on this planet through approximately six orders of connections. We are separated by mountains and oceans, by distance and borders yet there are only six people between you and me. Adhering to this rule, raise your voice my friend and let the world hear you.

We the peoples of the United Nations determined to save succeeding generations from the scourge of war, which twice in our lifetime has brought untold sorrow to mankind… — United Nations Charter

Some Thoughts Out Loud

My internet nickname is “Guy From Planet Earth”. Motivated by the belief that the day shall come when a statement “I am from country X” would have the same or even less meaning than “I like pizza with BBQ sauce on it”. The day when a person’s worth is not evaluated by the colours on their passport, nor any other meaningless form of identity, but by the objective nature of their being. By who they are, what they believe in and what they do in life. And from that day on we can all proudly say — “I am from planet Earth”. Unfortunately, in the light of everything I’ve seen over the course of my life, I don’t think I will live to see the day. But hope dies last as they say )

If you don’t know how to act, act as a human being would. — somebody

View other essays by Nazar Kostiv