Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Canadian politicians clueless about cultural diversity

Interesting how politicians and the media fall over themselves to exclude European cultures from Canada's multicultural mosaic as a demonstration of their great respect for cultural diversity.

The Winnipeg Free Press recently illustrated this with a news story, editorial and letter to the editor chronicling a political squabble over the optics of acquiring bloc votes from visibly "ethnic" communities.

The end result is that both the parties and the media appear totally clueless about the realities of Canada's multicultural mosaic.

It starts with the Winnipeg Free Press news story "Liberals miffed as Tories court minorities" which chronicles the insults traded between the two parties.

WINNIPEG Liberals accuse federal Conservatives of vigorously courting ethnic voters who traditionally vote for the Grits -- and they're miffed at what they see as a disingenuous political manoeuvre. ... In Manitoba, Tories have approached leaders of ethnic groups, said Liberal sources, who are angry at what they see as a blatant vote grab rather than a genuine effort to understand ethnic issues.

Speaking of blatant vote grabs, my father can drop some pretty big Liberal names that he recalls having visited the family farm in rural Saskatchewan to enlist my grandfather's help in "reaching out" to neighbouring Ukrainian and Russian-speaking homesteaders. My grandfather, eager to be a "good" Canadian, learned English quickly (without ESL classes or any other government assistance) and became politically informed. He was understandably flattered to be asked to deliver messages from such important people to an assembly of his fellow immigrants in the local community hall.

But, that was then and this is now. Although back at the press office old habits die hard. Hot on the heels of that article comes this editorial that opines on the current political squabble so that, presumably, readers can understand what is really going on here.

SHAME on those dastardly Conservatives. They're vigorously courting the ethnic vote, even though they know those ballots belong to the Liberal Party of Canada. The nerve! ...Since when is it wrong for a political party to broaden its appeal by reaching out to new Canadians or those with a special interest in minority rights? ... A political party is free to snub any group or people, but such a faction is unlikely to last very long. No one needs permission to "learn more" about their neighbours. Indeed, all Canadians should seek such understanding. It is a prerequisite of good citizenship. ...

Unlikely to last very long?? Define "long." The author is either mistaken or being deliberately obtuse. Both the Liberals and the Conservatives have snubbed Ukrainian Canadians from the earliest days of immigration and still do today.

This Conservative government, like the Chretien Liberals, steadfastly and studiously refuses to grant official recognition of and restitution for human rights abuses against Ukrainians and other East Europeans during the WWI internment operation.

This is not a request for taxpayer money to compensate individuals. Rather, it is a request for the government to return the equivalent value of money and property the federal government confiscated from innocent, hard-working and loyal immigrants for an education campaign to help Canadians indeed "learn more" about their neighbours. But, perhaps neither party is particularly keen on that actually happening.

Meanwhile, oddly enough the national and regional media has not considered this outright snub of Ukrainian Canadians as the least bit scandalous ... and therefore newsworthy. So the current government continues (like all those before it) to treat Ukrainians, their ethnic identity, and their cultural contribution to Canada as if they were non-existent.

Which is evident in this letter from Canada's most recent Secretary of State (Multiculturalism and Canadian Identity). The honourable member wrote:

... Conservatives have a distinguished record of reflecting Canada's diversity. For starters, Conservatives boast a number of firsts: the first Muslim elected to Parliament; the first Hindu elected to Parliament; the first Chinese-Canadian elected to Parliament; the first Indo-Canadian woman elected to Parliament; the first Japanese-Canadian cabinet minister; and the first black cabinet minister. Manitobans can take pride in the remarkable accomplishments of former Conservative senator Paul Yuzyk, who represented Manitoba in the Senate from 1963 to 1986 and was one of the earliest proponents of multiculturalism. ...

Well, good on the Tories for claiming a "Manitoban" as one of their own. How much more diverse can you get, eh?

A tad odd that the honourable Tory member would name just one particular individual in that ethnically diverse list ... and use a provincial instead of an ethnic label to help readers make the connection between Mr. Yuzyk's accomplishments and his interest in furthering multiculturalism.

Did his complexion have something to do with the omission? Who knows. Whatever the reason, it doesn't seem very politically astute to risk offending Canadians who identify even in small part with the missing ethnic label. (I do and believe me, I am offended.) Furthermore, if I were a Manitoban I'd be further offended by the member's clumsy semantics.

Maybe I'm naive, but in light of this latest article citing a big drop in the opinion polls for the Tories, you'd think every single Tory might be rather careful not to snub any potential voter.

However, I don't want to be accused of picking on the Tories. Because in their mad quest to be seen as respectful of cultural diversity, politicians of every stripe (as well as the media) would be wise to consider that Canadians may want to see recognition of their heritage cultures, rather than merely their skin colour, reflected in the "changing face of Canadian society."

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Update on latest attack on freedom of speech in Ukraine

The Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group sent out this press release yesterday. This group works so hard to save lives. Please do what you can to help save their voice.

Ukrainian civic and human rights activists under virtual attack

Since around 17:30 on December 9, 2007 the server supporting the civic network “Maidan” website and the sites of the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group and the Ukrainian Helsinki Human Rights Union have been facing a sustained and intensive DDOS (distributed denial-of-service) attack. The attackers are inundating the server with a continual barrage of requests in order to paralyze it and thus block access to the websites.

Why attack human rights workers?

We believe we pose a threat to anti-democratic forces because we are often the only sites publishing material in English on human rights abuses in Ukraine and its close neighbours. Two of the targeted sites have recently published a number of hard-hitting articles and reports on human rights issues in neighbouring countries.

During the week which ended with the attack, articles were posted in Russian and English regarding the illegal expulsion of an Uzbek, Abdugani Kamaliyev (Tursinov) from Russia to Uzbekistan, some 24 hours after the European Court of Human Rights had applied Rule 39 halting the expulsion.

The article “Worth Their Weight in Questions” was published in Russian on Saturday December 8.

What or who is next?

This attack comes just over a month after an almost identical onslaught against the main Russian human rights website HRO.org. In Russia there have also been attacks on other sites, often organizations which cover human rights issues (for example, “Memorial”).

This present attack is the first in Ukraine and affects two sites which regularly report on human rights issues in Russia, Belarus and some other former Soviet republics.

We believe therefore that the question of “who is next” is one that transcends all borders.

What you can do to help

Add your voice to ours! Please help us and other human rights activists resist the powerful forces trying to silence us.

1. Support our publishing efforts. If you have access to any websites and/or blogs, particularly civic or human rights ones, please post our articles there.
Attempt to Silence Human Rights Defenders (Russian and English)
So Who is Silence Golden For? (English)
Worth Their Weight in Questions (English)
«Потому что молчание – золото» (Russian)
Russian Authorities flout the European Court of Human Rights (English)

2. Spread the word. Pass this information around, to family, friends, co-workers and human rights activists in your personal networks. As well, forward it to your electoral representatives. Although we cannot say with certainty who is behind the attacks, governments need to be made aware of them – and the human rights abusers the attackers are trying to protect.

3. Join our network. Our experience in helping our Russian human rights colleagues, and their enormous support over the last few days, has made us acutely aware of the need for a wide emergency network of people around the world who can help when urgent action is required. Even simply forwarding email messages and URLs is a tremendous help. If you are willing to join our network, please contact Halya immediately.

For more information please contact:

In English: Halya Coynash at halyapuff@gmail.com or Tel: 0048-58-710-7401
In Ukrainian: Yevhen Zakharov on 8-050-402-40-64

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

French police beat Ukrainian choir members

Here's a good reason not to go to France, especially if you sing in a Ukrainian choir, get hungry, and venture out for food without being able to speak French. Apparently that's all it takes to bring out a real mean streak in Inspector Clouseau and his minions:

French policemen beat four members of “Dumka” National Choir of Ukraine ... in Clermont-Ferran city of France on 7 December.

...the four choir members went out of their hotel to buy some food in a near-by supermarket. They received 500-euro bonds from the tour organizers. When they tried to pay for food, supermarket employees ... called police...

According to ... the choir chief, unknown people in civil [sic] clothes arrived into the supermarket and began to demand from choir members all their money. As the Ukrainian musicians does not know the French language, they could not understand ... and offered resistance. As it appeared later, the people in civil clothes were police employees. In their turn, the French policemen used force. The beaten Ukrainian citizens were taken to a nearest police station. ...

... the 500-euro bonds authenticity was proved after an inspection, and ... the policemen, who arrested the Ukrainians, did not have on them anything that indicated them as policemen...


The police commissariat representatives apologized for “misunderstanding” and recognized the mistake of the French policemen during the arrest of the Ukrainian singers.

The Ukrainians were discharged from custody, after which they turned to the nearest medical institution to register their beating.

At present the choir collective continues its tour in France. ...

Full article here.

(If I were the choir director, I'd cancel the tour and demand compensation in the form of full payment for the remainder of the tour. In cash.)

Malcolm Muggeridge meets Mother Theresa on stage in San Jose

Here's a good reason to find your way to San Jose!

SAN JOSE playwright Cathal Gallagher's Malcolm and Teresa gets at the story of English journalist and talk-show host Malcolm Muggeridge by bouncing back and forth between two key points in Muggeridge's public life.

In the early 1930s, the Communist-leaning Malcolm (Kevin Kennedy) is covering Moscow for the Manchester Guardian when he inadvertently stumbles over a devastating Ukrainian famine (now estimated to have caused 4 million to 7 million deaths).

In Gallagher's telling, Malcolm's bundle of experiences around this famine—sights of starvation, disillusionment caused by the Russian government's refusal to mitigate it, ostracism suffered at the hands of other left-leaning intellectuals whose guided tours of Communist Russia led them to disbelieve his reports—throws him into an existential crisis that will only be answered 30 years later when he meets and interviews the then-unknown Mother Teresa (Diana Hoffman) on his talk show. ...

... MALCOLM AND TERESA, a Quo Vadis production, plays Thursday–Saturday at 8pm through Nov. 3 at the Historic Hoover Theatre, 1635 Park Ave., San Jose. Tickets are $12–$15. 408.252.3530.

Full article here.

Freedom of speech under attack in Ukraine - again

According to the General Petro Grigorenko Foundation, there has been mass hacker attack on Ukrainian human rights sites.

It is not known exactly how many sites were affected but the following three have been completely shut down: the information site Maidan, the Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, and the Ukrainian Helsinki Watch Group.

Obviously the folks running these sites are doing good work which, equally obviously, disturbs some very evil people.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Dec. 9

Audio archives for Nash Holos are now available on the Nash Holos website.

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar shares the recipe for "Cool Kovbasa" that first appeared on this blog here.

On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel highlights some great travel hotspots in Romania.

As usual, the Proverb of the Week and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and beyond.

And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music... This week's Nash Holos Ukrainian Language School lesson is on tsyboolya and our CD of the week is Dennis Lischynski and the Parkland Pioneers' tribute to Peter Hnatiuk.

Enjoy!

Ukrainian music website

Aleksey Zakharenko from Kyiv, and webmaster of the OrigenMusic website, recently sent me a bunch of fabulous Ukrainian music CDs that will be getting airplay on Nash Holos in the weeks ahead.

Very professional, high-calibre musicianship and a fairly eclectic musical variety, ranging from lost songs of Ukrainian villagers to New Age opera. He is also a liturgical music expert (Ukrainian and Russian). Apparently, some of his church bell tracks have been used in recent Hollywood movies.

The website is in English ... the translations are a tad choppy, but comprehensible enough for the "Ukrainian-impaired" visitor to be able to browse the site comfortably and come away with more historical knowledge and order a CD or two!

Thursday, December 06, 2007

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - mea culpa

It has been brought to my attention that I had a (rather serious) brain fart while making My Excellent Edmonton Adventure Part 2 post.

Premier Ed Stelmach is Alberta's first premier of Ukrainian descent. I have since been reminded that there have been other premiers in Canada of Ukrainian descent (full or part). They include Roy Romanow (Saskatchewan,) Gary Filmon (Manitoba) and Ernie Eves (Ontario).

Sincere apologies for the oversight(s).

Monday, December 03, 2007

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part VI: All good things must end

Well, I figured that by Friday evening Molly Anne would need a break from gallivanting me all around Edmonton and area for the past 3 days. So it was the perfect time to meet with my esteemed colleague, the award-winning, veteran Ukrainian broadcaster Roman Brytan of World FM (formerly CKER) for some relaxing conversation over dinner after he finished Friday's Radio Zhurnal.

So there I was, chatting with him in the studio between his on-air moments and innocently waiting for him to wrap up the program. Then, with 3 minutes left on the clock, he decides to chat on-air. Ah, the hazards of live radio with a consummate professional at the controls!

On Saturday after saying goodbye to my fabulous hosts, I had coffee with Freddie Curatolo who kindly let me pick his brains about the business side of art. Then my sister and I had another coffee with Maksym Protskiv, former editor of Welcome to Ukraine Magazine, who is in Edmonton for a while. It was Maksym who put me in touch with Oleh Skrypka of Vopli Vidopliassova (a cyber-relationship that has significantly increased my music library holdings!) and I certainly hope that's not the last time we meet. My sister and I both found Maksym an absolute delight!

Then a chatty 2.5 hour drive to Calgary and a nice, quiet family visit before coming back to Vancouver and gobs of heavy snow being washed away by pouring rain.

It was exhausting but exhilarating, and I'd do it all again in an instant. Thanks Molly, and everyone else who made my trip so magical. It truly was an excellent adventure.

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part V: Mundare

If you're going to go to East Central Alberta for a Ukrainian experience, you will not want to miss out on Mundare.

Mundare is home to many interesting things, not least of all a giant kubasa monument and the source of this brainchild, Stawnichy's Meat Processing plant. (I bought 3 rings of kubasa in the deli!)

It is also home to the Basilian Fathers Museum, an indoor museum which was thankfully warm as well as fascinating. To do it justice, I suggest spending at least half a day there to browse through all the displays and illustrated accounts of pioneer, village, and church life.

For a great Ukrainian meal, I heartily recommend M&M's Kozy Kitchen. It is an adorable restaurant with that legendary small-town hospitality and character. There is every possibility you will strike up a conversation with a colourful local and get some very interesting insights into Alberta politics, the oil industry, the weather, and everyday life. When you do go there, say hi to Margaret and Marlene from me!

And only in a place like Mundare can you see a window etched with "Western and Ukrainian Cuisine" and a sign plunked in the middle of the street (not the sidewalk, the street!) announcing the day's dinner special!

I kid you not. (The special this day was Prime Rib.)

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part IV: Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village

On Friday morning, I experienced the indescribable, breath-taking Ukrainian Cultural Heritage Village. Being an open-air museum, it's closed for the winter, but Molly Anne has a way of getting around such minor details. ;-)

It was a lovely morning when we left Edmonton ... winter as it should be. A nice dusting of snow, lots of sunshine, and not too cold ... as long as you're dressed for it!

(L-R: the frozen Molly Anne, Ivanko, me, and Pam inside the Grekul House).

We were taken on a quick tour by Arnold Grandt, head of corporate and community relations for the Village ... a little "zakuska" of the time-travel experience when the museum is operating full tilt. Ivanko, a senior interpreter, also joined us but had to leave early to help fellow interpreter Pam with a school group coming to experience Ukrainian Christmas preparations in pioneer times.

This award-winning historic site showcases Ukrainian settlement in Alberta starting in 1892, when Ukrainian immigrants came to Canada and were dumped in the middle of the bush and expected to turn it into prime agricultural land with pretty much their bare hands and whatever they brought with them.

They did, but it wasn't easy. There was no government assistance for my grandparents and their compatriots and Canadians often were unkind to the struggling immigrants. Yet, while life was hard, there was a charm to living a simple life and pride in being self-sufficient while contributing to the development of Canada. There are many lessons here for current immigrants to Canada, as well as people born here.

I told my sister about the Village when she came up from Calgary on Saturday to take me off Molly's hands. She's already begun organizing a family gathering to take in all of the Kalyna Country ecomuseum, of which the Village is just a part.

Knowing my family (that bunch of party animals!), I'm certainly in for another adventure! But until the Village re-opens, take this fabulous guided cyber-tour and check out this virtual tour to get a "sneak preview" of what to expect.

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part III: The Art of Conversation

An event in Edmonton to see and be seen at is The Art of Conversation, a monthly schmooze-fest started almost 2 years ago by Edmonton Sun columnist Graham Hicks and Magic 99 morning host Rob Christie.

Molly Anne invited me to Edmonton to attend this event, which moves around the city from month and brings people together in a relaxed setting to swap business cards, fish stories and I imagine even the occasional true story. ;-)

This month it was held at the very elegant Oasis Centre. Rob insisted on photos and promised to put them on his blog. So do check it out.

In the meantime, Molly snapped this shot of Rob with her friend Aileen and me.

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part II: Meeting Alberta's Premier

It was an absolute thrill to meet Alberta's Premier Ed Stelmach, Canada's Alberta's first premier of Ukrainian descent. He is warm and charming, and so down to earth that I was barely even nervous! His wife, Marie, is equally warm and charming. (That's Molly Anne next to Mrs. Stelmach and me next to the Premier.)

I gave Premier Stelmach an autographed copy of Kobzar's Children: A Century of Ukrainian Stories, and he gave me a Christmas CD of the St. Michael-Krakow Ukrainian Catholic Choir, in which he and his wife sing (he sings bass and she sings soprano).

Premier Stelmach is the second Canadian premier I delivered a copy of KC to. (The first was my own BC Premier, as you can see in the photo at the book's blog here.) Unfortunately I didn't have the presence of mind to remember to get either the book or the CD in this photo. :-(

The CD is outstanding, and you will definitely hear tracks from it on Nash Holos during the Christmas season!

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

My Excellent Edmonton Adventure - Part I: A wonderful start

On Wed. Nov 28, at about noon, I arrived at Edmonton International Airport where I was met by my hostess, the lovely and charming Molly Anne Warring (author of Paradise Acres and Lost Paradise).

She whisked me away to lunch at Louisiana Purchase where we had a delicious cajun chicken stew. The food and ambience were so good we returned the next day and asked Steven Chwok, the new host of the Zabava Hour on CFCW Radio Edmonton, to join us.

I was very impressed with Steven; he is a very sharp cookie and a great guy! And he is a quick study, which is quite evident after listening to about 2 minutes of the Zabava Hour. He's an exciting addition to the Ukrainian Canadian broadcasting scene, and I expect he will do his part to raise the bar!

Edmonton was awesome, and Molly Anne kept me on the move for 4 days! Stay tuned for more installments of my "excellent adventure."

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Call it like it is

NDP MP Peggy Nash spoke on the Holodomor in the House on Nov. 26, calling on Canada to call a spade a spade and a genocide a genocide.

We can only hope it will result in the politicians in power growing the balls to do the same.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Paris to Kyiv and Manitoba Chamber Orchesta in concert

Here's a musical treat for lucky Winnipeggers:

Paris To Kyiv will be in concert with the Manitoba Chamber Orchestra on December 04, 2007 in Winnipeg.

Guest conductor will be Alain Trudel, master of multiple disciplines from the baroque to the avant garde, jazz and world music.

The Paris To Kyiv ensemble will comprise vocalist Alexis Kochan, jazz-violist Richard Moody, and bandura player Julian Kytasty.

For the past 10 years Kochan and her collaborators have blended ancient Ukrainian music with contemporary sounds. Drawing on the deep musical traditions of Eastern Europe, they weave a universal sonic tapestry, working in strands of jazz and new music, medieval Slavonic chant, dance tunes inspired by Carpathian Mountain fiddlers and blind bandura players, original compositions and ancient ritual songs with roots in the Neolithic.

The orchestral selections enlarge the soundscape further with works by a French, a Norwegian and two Polish composers. The concert opens with Albert Roussel's Sinfonietta for strings, op. 52, followed by Edvard Grieg's Two Norwegian Airs, op. 63.

Then, after a set with the Orchestra and Paris To Kyiv, we'll hear Witold Lutoslawski's Overture for strings and Old Polish Suite by Andrzej Panufnik.

The concert begins at 7:30 pm in Westminster United Church, 745 Westminster at Maryland. Tickets are $26.50 for adults, $24 for seniors and $7.50 for students (incl. GST) and are available at McNally Robinson, Ticketmaster (780-3333) or MCO's Ticketline (783-7377).

For more information on Paris to Kyiv (featured often on Nash Holos) visit their website.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov 25

Audio archives for Nash Holos are now available on the Nash Holos website.

  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar shares a recipe for Christmas Honey Cake. (Get it here.)
  • On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel shares the splendours of Pyryhova, an outdoor museum near Kyiv.
  • On A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power reflects on the Holodomor.
  • As usual, the Proverb of the Week and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and beyond.
  • And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music... This week's program honours the memory of those who perished in the Holodomor, and the survivors who for a lifetime have carried memories of that horror. Featuring two new songs dedicated to the Holodomor, by Vasyl Kavun (Ukraine) and Stepan Pasisznyk (London), and Ukrainian President Victor Yuschenko's letter to Ukrainians, read in both Ukrainian and English.
  • Nash Holos Ukrainian Language School re-opens next week.

The Nov. 25 broadcast of Chetverta Khvylia is now also in the audio archives.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Christmas recipe

This recipe aired on Nash Holos November 25, 2007. It's a quick Christmas honey bread that can be made ahead and stored for several weeks. It’s usually made with buckwheat honey, which imparts a rich dark color and an intense flavour. There are many types of honey available, each with its own special flavor. Choose the one you like best!

Sylvia’s Christmas Honey Bread

2½ cups honey, buckwheat or your favorite
8 large eggs, separated
3/8 cup butter, softened
2 cups sugar
6 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 tablespoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 whole orange, juice and zest
1 cup strong black coffee
1 cup sour cream
1 cup walnuts, finely chopped

1. Liquefy honey (if using solid) by heating in a small saucepan to boiling point, then cool.
2. Beat the yolks in butter until light and fluffy.
3. Add in the honey and sugar to the butter mixture, and continue beating.
4. Sift the dry ingredients and add to the honey mixture.
5. Mix in the orange juice and zest, coffee, and sour cream.
6. Beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form, and fold into the batter, a little at a time.
7. Stir in the nuts.
8. Pour into 2 well greased and floured large loaf pans.
9. Bake at 325°F for one hour.
10. Cool on a rack.

Makes 2 loaves.
Wrap loaves in aluminum foil to store.

Try it, it's Ukrainian!

Saturday, November 24, 2007

1933 - new song

British Ukrainian singer-songwriter Stepan Pasicznyk just released another touching, heartwrenching song.

This one is called, simply, 1933.

It debuted in London this weekend at a Holodomor commemoration. It will also debut on Canadian radio this weekend ... it will air on the Sunday Nov. 25 broadcast of Nash Holos.

Its internet home is here. Lyrics are also provided.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Ukraine becoming Hollywood East?

The Kyiv Post reports that Hollywood has discovered Ukraine is a good place to work in.

American screenwriter Billy Frolick, whose biggest project so far was the script for the acclaimed cartoon “Madagascar,” is having the next animation based on his screenplay made in Ukraine.

... [T]he music for the film will be written by Ukrainian composers and the background symphonic parts will be recorded in Kyiv.

... Frolick [finds]that work in the American studio system is difficult, as it’s hard for authors to retain their vision, and he sees more possibilities for him to avoid this by working in Ukraine. Somehow his words bring to memory the times when the pioneers of American cinema fled from New York to California, to have more freedom doing what they want. So is Ukraine becoming New Hollywood?


Message to Ukraine: Careful what you wish for...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Oksana Bilozir honours Holodomor victims

This outstanding video features one of Ukraine's most enduring and beloved singers, Oksana Bilozir.

In it she pays homage to the memory of the 7-10 million Ukrainians who were starved to death by the Stalinist regime in the Holodomor (Great Famine) of 1932-33 in a deliberate act of mass murder that many countries todau still refuse to label a "genocide."

The video was reportedly released as a public service video in Ukraine, and the music a famous piece (originally instrumental) called "Melodija" by Myroslav Skoryk.

(Many thanks to Roman Brytan of Radio Zhurnal at World FM in Edmonton for sending it round.)

UPDATE: In response to a reader request (see comments) for the lyrics to this song, they can be found (in Ukrainian) here.



Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov. 18

Nash Holos archives are now updated to Nov. 18.
  • Sylvia has a recipe for buckwheat varenyky with cherry filling
  • Myrna shares a few more hot spots in Ukraine
  • Fr. Bruce reflects on an often overlooked gift of autumn
  • Proverb of the Week,
  • items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland
  • and of course plenty of Great Ukrainian Music!
Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Holodomor exhibit in New Jersey

If you're in the New York area, you're invited to the Ukrainian American Cultural Center in Whippany on Thursday Nov. 15 to a new exhibit by Dr Margaret Colley of London, England that includes new documentation on the cover up of the Holodomor.

Dr. Colley is the niece of Gareth Jones and the exhibit will include large scale reproductions of the lost diaries including one discovered just last year. These pages paint a picture far more chilling than any on the Holodomor made public to date.

Dr Colley last appeared in the U.S. in 2004 at the Columbia University Holodomor Conference with Dr James Mace and Dr Mark Von Hagen. This is a rare opportunity.

The presentation starts at 7:30 PM, Thursday, Nov 15 followed by a "Chance to Meet the Author" Buffet.

Admission is free. More information here.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov 11

Archives for Vancouver's Ukrainian radio programs Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia are now available for download!
  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar has a recipe for yummy B.C. buns ... buttermilk cornmeal, that is!
  • On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel has some highlights on Odessa.
  • On A Spiritual Moment (Із Духові Твоєму), Fr. Bruce Power has a special Remembrance Day message.
  • As well ... Proverb of the Week, other items of interest to the Ukrainian community, and plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe!
  • CD of the Week: V-V - Original Classics
Enjoy!

Ottawa radio program devoted to Kytasty this weekend

Irena Bell, host of the Ukrainian radio program on CHIN Radio Ottawa is devoting her Nov 16 & 18 radio programs to the music of Hryhory Kytasty on the occasion of the 100th anniv. of his birth this year.

She was devastated to learn that his son Andrew's house burnt down during the California fires in mid-October, together with the fabulous Kytasty Foundation site. What a dreadful loss, for them and for the world.

Info on the fire can be found here and here.

Irena's Radio Program airs on CHIN Ottawa 97.9 FM Fridays 10-11p.m. & Sundays 8-9 a.m. Can also be heard live (streaming) at http://www.chinradio.com/ .

UPDATE:
It appears they may be considering rebuilding the Kytasty Foundation site, so if you have downloaded material from the site in the past, please consider sending Andrij Kytasty a CD copy of it. Mail CDs to:

The Kytasty Foundation
4262 Biona Place
San Diego, CA 92116

Monday, November 12, 2007

Verka Serduchka on Nash Holos

Since the discussion on this post has revolved around an off-topic comment about a Verka Serduchka selection that aired on the Nov. 4 broadcast of Nash Holos, I have re-posted the original post and retitled this one to make it more relevant to the discussion.

While I am thrilled to have visitors comment on any and all posts, I would respectfully ask that you please keep your comments relevant to the post. A comment about a selection on Nash Holos should be made on the corresponding update which I (usually) post every week after uploading the archives to the website.

The original post about the gorgeous new UPA song has been moved here. For anyone still interested in participating in the merits of Verka Serduchka on Nash Holos, in Ukraine and Russia, or wherever, this is the post to do it at, so go crazy! ;-)

Here's a YouTube video of the song that started it all:

Beautiful song for UPA's 65th anniversary

Ludwig in London just released a gorgeous tune by in honour of the 65th anniversary of UPA, the Ukrainian Insurgent Army. It aired on Nash Holos on Nov. 11.

In Tak Chy Ni (Yes or No) a young man tells his sweetheart he needs to leave her to join the Ukrainian Resistance (UPA), and asks for reassurance of her love for him. This song is about both kinds of sacrifice - that of active service, and that of undying love and moral support.

This brave army fought both Nazis and communists before, during and after WWII. Because it fought for justice and truth, it has had, and still has, many enemies. The Nazis are long gone, but communists and their sympathizers in the west as well as in the "post-soviet states" continue to demonize and slander it. In fact, Wikipedia had to lock edits to its entry on UPA because of "vandalism." Ганьба!

This song is a fitting tribute to the many brave souls who perished to save an ungrateful world from totalitarianism, and who continue to fight defamation and the right to acknowledgement of their significant contribution to planet Earth.

You can download it here.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Ukrainian political satire

If you haven't yet visited the fabulous Ukrainiana blog, I absolutely insist you start now! The author is a flippin' genius.

Check out his latest piece of political satire... Brilliant ... clever, cutting, hilarious!

(Molodetz, Taras!)

Selective historical memory no asset to Canada

My first reaction to this article was ... surprise, surprise!

A new study released just ahead of Remembrance Day suggests the majority of young people score a failing grade on the subject of Canada's history. That's despite major education initiatives over the past decade to try to boost the collective memory, such as the construction of the Canadian War Museum and television initiatives such as "Heritage Minutes" segments from The Historica Foundation.

Right. What do you expect in a country whose national media refused to air Canadian historical documentaries like "Freedom Had a Price", to honour certain Canadian war heroes, and where bookstores don't bother stocking books on Canadian historical fiction like Kobzar's Children??

However, as the article illustrates, and some of the comments suggest, that's not the history that the cultural elites want the public to know. They're more interested in the Canadian selective memory than the collective memory, as the article goes on to illustrate:

Here are some key findings from the study:

  • In 1997, 36 per cent of Canadians knew the year of Confederation compared to just 26 per cent in 2007;
  • In 1997, 54 per cent of those polled knew the name of Canada's first prime minister, while just 46 per cent now know that John A. Macdonald held this position;
  • Respondents' scores on questions about Canada's military history increased. In 1997, 31 per cent knew that the Battle of Vimy Ridge was fought in the First World War, a percentage that has now risen to 37 per cent;
  • In the recent study, 37 per cent knew Nov. 11 marked the end of the First World War, compared to 33 per cent in the earlier study.

Now of course it is appalling that so few students, and adult Canadians for that matter, know these things. These are the basics, for heaven's sake!

But, as mentioned above, there is more, much more, history that many influential Canadians don't want learned.

I find it every bit as appalling that all too many still feel that if you come to Canada you have to forget where you came from, and especially the culture of where you came from... including the history.

And that they consider that the people who don't forget, and especially those who continue to honour cultural traditions of their (non-Anglo) forbears, are not "real" Canadians, no matter what they did ... or are doing ... to build this country. Basically, just because they didn't forget.

With a self-limiting attitude like that, no Canadian should seriously expect better than this report.

Vancouver audio archives updated to Nov. 4

Audio archives for the Nov 4 broadcasts of Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia (4th Wave) are now available at the Nash Holos website.

As usual, lots of good listening:
  • Sylvia shares her delight with salo ...
  • Myrna has some highlights on Lviv ...
  • Fr. Bruce has a good comeback for those who claim "the Devil made me do it" ...
  • An interview with Ric Beairsto, co-creator and co-producer of Mixed Blessings, an upcoming TV series about a cross-cultural romance in an Alberta boomtown between a Ukrainian plumber and a Cree waitress ...
  • Proverb of the Week and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ...
  • And of course, plenty of Great Ukrainian Music from all corners of the globe!
Enjoy!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Visitors ...

Very interestingly, I was just checking my stats (which I hadn't done in quite a while) and noticed that my last post, "How to kill your golden goose" has been getting some hits from the US capital ...

Wonder what that's about?

Here I go, ranting away in what I imagined was comfortable obscurity ... and it would appear I was quite mistaken about that!

Just goes to show that blogging really is all about content. Wow.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

How to kill your golden goose

This article is a modern day music industry adaptation of the Aesop's fable about the idiots who killed the goose that laid them a golden egg everyday. Seems they weren't satisfied with what they were getting. Sound familiar?

The MusicFIRST Coalition - -- whose members include the RIAA, SoundExchange, the American Federation of Musicians, the Recording Academy, and the Recording Artists Coalition -- was formed in June to lobby for a performance royalty from broadcast radio and television.

Rumour has it the coalition is proposing changes to the law that would ... have small commercial stations -- "small" is not defined -- pay a flat royalty rate of $5,000 per year, while noncoms and college stations pay $1,000 a year. ...

Asked for comment, MusicFIRST spokesman Tod Donhauser [said], "This document expresses the musicFIRST (Fairness in Radio Starting Today) Coalition's fair and balanced approach to a performance right on radio. We are advocating for a long-overdue performance royalty that would be fair to both performers and broadcasters, therefore we are recommending an accommodation be made for small broadcasters, college stations, nonprofits, and religious programming. AM and FM radio should compensate artists for their hard work, talent, and dedication, and not least of all, for the content that drives their listeners and advertising revenue."
...

Radio does compensate artists by giving them something valuable - publicity - for free. What does MusicFIRST give artists for free? Come to think of it, why is MusicFIRST insisting that radio stations - which already provide free airtime - compensate artists in the first place? That's rich (pardon the pun), given that according to one industry whistleblower, record labels routinely rip off the artists they sign.

This last part really takes the cake for hypocrisy and cyncism, tho:

... Rep. Howard Berman (D-CA) ... planned to introduce legislation that would impose a performance royalty on broadcasters, and MusicFIRST and the RIAA on one side and the NAB on the other have been dueling over the matter in the press and on Capitol Hill.

MusicFIRST ... took exception to NAB President/CEO David Rehr's practice of referring to a performance right as a "tax on local radio" and sent Rehr a dictionary defining the word tax as "a contribution for the support of a government."


Um, ok, let's see now. MusicFIRST is trying to get legislation passed by the government to impose this new fee on radio stations.

Perhaps someone should send MusicFIRST a definition of "support of a government."

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

TV series about Aboriginal-Ukrainian "blended" family premieres tonight

Mixed Blessings is a 6-episode TV series about a cross-cultural romance between a Ukrainian plumber and a Cree waitress... It's essentially "Corner Gas" meets "The Brady Bunch" in the Alberta boomtown of Ft. MacMurray. It stars Edmonton-born Gary Basaraba and native actress Tina Lameman.

You can get a "sneak preview" in this article in today's Edmonton Journal.

If you want a "behind-the-scenes" background check out my interview with the series' co-creator and co-producer on Sunday's program, which is archived (along with the stand-alone interview) at the Nash Holos website. (It will also be rebroadcast on Roman Brytan's Radio Zhurnal on WorldFM radio in Edmonton sometime this week.)

Mixed Blessings premiers on APTN tonight and will air 3 times a week during prime time.

Tuesdays, starting November 6 at 9 PM (ET/PT)
Fridays, from November 9 at 8:30 PM
Sundays, from November 11 at 8 PM

Enjoy!

Monday, November 05, 2007

Recording industry cash grab update

South of the border, the recording industry is again demonstrating its preference to expend its collective energy lobbying government to skim off tax dollars instead of earning its by keep serving customers.

Consequently, government efforts are being expended either promoting or trying to stop the industry's attempt to impose a "performance royalty" on radio stations... which amounts to nothing more than another cash grab attempt by a lazy and unimaginative industry elite who want to continue sitting on their laurels in the lap of luxury.

To trot out "destitute artists" and lay the blame on anyone else (as this article points out) is the height of cynicism and self-delusion. If the recording industry was so concerned about artists, they would give artists better deals instead of lining their own pockets with money that should rightfully go to artists.

Of course, it's much easier to pick the public's pockets with another tax on business than to earn money by doing the real work of actually serving the market they (or perhaps more accurately, their predecessors) created.

It's too bad more broadcast schools don't teach their students the truth about how the business really operates. There are too many profs spouting goofy theories (like this article illustrates) to support their anti-capitalist Marxist ideology, leaving those interested in the truth to find it in obscure books like this.

Of course, it's not necessarily a bad thing for the rest of us if the RIAA and its ilk continues to be blinded by their own greed. Because if they keep shooting themselves in the foot, even if they can catch the next ball technology lobs their way, they won't be able to run very far with it.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

"Pimsleur Approach" a snub to Ukrainians?

I was absolutely awestruck by the irony I encountered in an excellent e-letter I subscribe to, called Early to Rise.

The very first article, The Secret of Incremental Degradation, asks: "Is your zeal for a good deal sacrificing quality?" Essentially, it illustrates how businesses that indulge in short-sighted short shrifting are being "penny-wise but pound-foolish."

... The theory goes that you can eventually ruin your business by making many very small downgrades in the quality of the product or service you offer. ... For a business to grow, it must be profitable. And if you want your business to be profitable, you have to spend less than you make. But that doesn’t mean you should cheapen your product or customer service. ... As a businessperson interested in growing a profitable, entrepreneurial business in the Internet age, you should make it your job to increase - not decrease - the value you give to your customers. ...

Very illuminating article, I thought. Great business advice.

Then the next item was this advertisement: Rapidly “Absorb” Any Language in 10 Days… Using the Revolutionary Method Employed by the FBI and CIA!"

Well, being a perpetual (and perpetually struggling) student of the Ukrainian language - and someone who is very fond of shortcuts, guess what I did next...

Lo and behold, up came the Pimsleur Approach website. Oh good, I thought. Some time ago I had looked into this program and noticed that they had cassettes but not CDs for Ukrainian language instruction. I called their customer service to double-check and was told that they didn't have Ukrainian in CDs "yet" but perhaps in the future...

So, this ad reminded me to check back and see if they finally had CDs.

Well, it appears that is now all they have. But in the process of getting rid of their cassette offerings, they also got rid of Ukrainian as a language in their product offerings.

The irony would be comical if it weren't so disappointing. Not to mention insulting.

But it's also puzzling. The cost of producing CDs is miniscule, and turning analog sound files into digital is relatively easy and inexpensive. So why on earth offer fewer languages than before - and risk creating this kind of bad business karma?

All I can say is that if the decision-makers at Pimsleur subscribe to this newsletter, the advice dispensed therein obviously is lost on them. So much for their business acumen...

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Russian troublemakers hack Ukrainian President’s website

This article is a perfect illustration of the old adage that losers will always tear down instead of building up ...

The official website of Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko is still down today, after a Russian nationalist group claimed to have disabled it over the weekend.

Yushchenko's press service said it had registered some 18,000 separate cyberattacks, most of them from Russia, Kazakhstan, Ukraine, the United States, Israel, and the United Kingdom.

... it's the latest run-in between the group, which is banned in Ukraine, and authorities in Kyiv. ... The ban followed ... an attempt by Eurasian Youth Union members to destroy Ukrainian national emblems on Hoverla Mountain, which is part of the Carpathians in western Ukraine. ...


It's not the first time government websites in a former Soviet republic have been disabled by hackers said to be operating from Russia. ...

I can give the Prez the names of a couple of excellent Canadian computer engineers who have been successfully fending off hackers of this ilk for over a decade.

Hmmm ... I'd better go call them and negotiate my finder's fee. ;-)

In the meantime, there's more about the miscreants causing all this trouble in my friend Taras's excellent coverage of the Hoverla Mountain travesty at his excellent Ukrainiana blog (here).

Monday, October 22, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to October 21

Audio archives for the October 21 broadcast of Nash Holos is now available at the Nash Holos website.

As usual, lots of good listening:
  • a recipe for the ultimate comfort food: potato soup
  • all about Trypillian civilization and its remnants in modern-day Ukraine
  • the significance of icons and iconography to Byzantine Christianity (encore presentation)
  • proverb of the week
  • Ukrainian musical language lesson: barabolya (that means potato)
  • plenty of great Ukrainian music! CD of the Week: Fayno by V-V (Vopli Vidopliassova)

Enjoy! ;-)

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Ukrainian snapshot from New York

Just came across a video with a fascinating (and familiar!) snapshot of Ukrainian life in the Big Apple ...

Despite age and infirmity, the Ukrainian women who hand-roll dumplings for their church in New York's East Village soldier on...

The "stars" in this video are your typical North American Ukrainian babas: hard-working, sincere, and sweet ... if a tad tart. ;-)

This seems to be the story of every Ukrainian church community across North America! I know from personal observation that it is the norm here in Vancouver and Winnipeg ... and no doubt other major centres. I expect that is what I'll be doing when I'm in my 70s and 80s. Assuming of course that I'm alive and well and as vibrant as these latter-day amazons!

Video here. (Hat-tip to Blackminorca at Cybercossack.)

Monday, October 15, 2007

Vancouver audio archives updated to Oct. 14

Audio archives for the October 14 broadcasts of Nash Holos and Chetverta Khvylia are now available at the Nash Holos website. As usual, lots of good stuff packed into 1.5 hours of listening:
  • to satisfy your sweet tooth, a recipe for morello (sour) cherry compote
  • the scoop on art history treasures in Odessa
  • all about traditional Ukrainian harvest rite ceremonies
  • proverb of the week
  • Ukrainian musical language lesson: the seasons of the year
  • plenty of great Ukrainian music!

Enjoy! ;-)

Why not call it the Nobel PR prize?

The Wall Street Journal has published an op-ed with a very well thought out list of people who were passed over for the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize.

Included in this list of much worthier candidates are the presidents of the countries in which the Orange and Rose revolutions took place. Those were peaceful revolutions unprecedented in history. But, that didn't sufficiently impress the judges.

Since there is only one award given per year, you'd think they might consider people who have risked their lives or been imprisoned in their efforts to promote peace and basic human rights.

But no. This year's recipient goes to a media hound who has been (IMO accurately) described as a self-aggrandizing huckster who wastes more energy in a day than the average working stiff will in a year.

Sure, it's important (critical, even) to cut down on GHG emissions and other forms of pollution and waste. No argument whatsoever there. But that calls for action that is a tad more meaningful and self-sacrificial than watching (or creating) a slick Hollywood movie riddled with scientific inaccuracies and then joining the PR committee of the movie star's fan club.

There are people in the world who truly walk the walk and actually work for peace, rather than run a self-serving PR campaign based on a popular cause célèbre.

The WSJ has listed some of them here.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Ukrainian Festival in Barrie, ON

I'm very disappointed to be too far away to take in the 8th annual Ukrainian Festival in Barrie, ON.

It takes place Sunday, October 21st, 2007 from 11:30 am to 5:00 pm at Barrie Central Collegiate, 125 Dunlop Street East.

The festival was founded in 1999 by the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Byzantine) Ukrainian Catholic Church to serve and promote Ukrainian culture within a Canadian multi-cultural context.

Tickets a bargain at $20 per person, $10 for children under 10 years of age! Price include admission, concerts, kiosks, and full Ukrainian traditional meal.

Details at their gorgeous website here.

Deadly gas blast in Ukraine

So sad and so unnecessary. Vichnaya pam'yat. Memory eternal.

At least 11 people have been killed by a gas explosion that destroyed a block of flats in the eastern Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk.

... six of the 23 injured were children, with a total of 70 people rescued from their apartments.

The local gas utility in Dnipropetrovsk said the explosion was caused by a sudden increase in gas flows to the area.

However, some residents observed three men behaving suspiciously near the building's gas supply earlier in the day. Witnesses said that the three arrived at the building in a black car and played with the gas supply shortly before the explosion. ...

Prosecutors have opened a criminal investigation into the causes of the accident.

Full story here.

Remaking History in a Kiev Museum

Oh my, a tad bitter are we?

The author of this article isn't too happy with the end of soviet-style revisionist history in Ukraine:

Constructing a new national identity often requires a new vision of the past. In Ukraine, this phenomenon can be seen in several of Kiev's museums.

Exhibits at the Museum of the Army of Ukraine show the Ukrainians as European people who enjoyed monolithic unity while busily liberating themselves from the "Asiatic" Russians.

[In the Museum of Ukrainian History] Russia is still seen as a major problem, but the flavor of the museum is distinctly different. Russians often disappear from sight, and Ukraine's conflicts with everybody else are also downplayed. In fact, Ukrainians are presented as self-sustained, peaceful people who preserve their distinct lifestyles despite being incorporated into a foreign empire. It seems this image of Ukraine's past -- and implicitly, its present -- is what Ukrainian authorities have tried to develop and inculcate.

Hmmm. I see his point. Damn nasty Ukrainian authorities, how dare they cultivate a positive national identity. They should rather spend public resources celebrating foreign occupations and explaining how the occupying forces didn't really oppress Ukrainians, but were actually "liberating" them from their land, resources, and cultural identity. Right, who was it that said "Work will set you free..."?

Anyway, there's more ...

The arrangement of the displays in the Museum of Ukrainian History was markedly different from what I saw in my youth. There weren't many changes in the hall dedicated to the Stone and Bronze Ages, but later periods had gaping omissions. Events that were prominent in Soviet days disappeared or were marginalized.

Does he mean the Holodomor and other artificial famines, collectivization, the gulags, the dismal (non-existent) level of environmental protection in the Soviet era , the liquidation of churches ... and other such great historical events? Gee, what happy memories they would bring.

Full article here.

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Celebrating salo

This has been around awhile, but it's worth viewing again, if just for the music. It's about one of my favourite foods, salo ... It's basically very silly, but the music is great.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

American East meets Canadian West

Does this ever look like a lot of fun!

A first-time-ever series of folk music and dance encounters between the Ukrainian communities of western Canada and the eastern United States. ...

Ukrainian-Canadian dancer/folk dance scholar Andriy Nahachewsky and tsymbalist/prairie music scholar Brian Cherwick join New York Ukrainian artists and audiences for four October programs showcasing and exploring the music and dance traditions of the Ukrainian settlers of western Canada.

Prairie dance music workshops, western Canadian vechornytsi (village dance party), the first concert in the New York Bandura Ensemble's ongoing Bandura Downtown series, a folk art museum exhibit, and more ... Lucky New Yorkers!

Full details here.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

The Kyiv Beet - great reading!

Here's an antidote for political cynicism .... The Kyiv Beet - Ukraine's Only "News"paper

Here you can find for the first time all of the published issues of The Kyiv Beet - from the latest issue, to the special 2004 "Orange Revolution" issue, to the first one back in 2002 (ah, the good old Kuchma days).

We've had a lot of fun being the voice of reason in Ukraine, and we hope to keep doing it - until we get arrested or deported, that is. We appreciate all the comments (and death threats) that we've received over the last five years, and we invite you to leave your feedback ...


Wickedly funny!

Industry Goliath wins

The recording industry won a key fight Thursday against illegal downloading when a federal jury said a Minnesota woman must pay $222,000 for sharing copyrighted music online. ...

Record companies have filed some 26,000 lawsuits since 2003 over file-sharing, which has hurt sales because it allows people to get music for free instead of paying for recordings in stores. Many other defendants have settled by paying the companies a few thousand dollars.

The Recording Industry Association of America says the lawsuits have mitigated illegal sharing, even though music file-sharing is rising overall. The group says the number of households that have used file-sharing programs to download music has risen from 6.9 million monthly in April 2003, before the lawsuits began, to 7.8 million in March 2007.

Full article here.

The RIAA may have won this case, but it is amazing that they don't realize how high the stakes are in the court of public opinion.

Maybe when this story ends, we will find that "David" exchanged his slingshot for a boomerang and handed it to his nemesis ...

Grassroots don't grow from the top down!

Wow. Someone tell this American politician that you can't create a grassroots movement at the top. And that if you try, you will make yourself a laughingstock.

Clear Channel CEO Mark Mays last week declined to apologize for a September 26 on-air remark by Rush Limbaugh -- syndicated by CC-owned Premiere Radio networks -- so now the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee has sent an e-mail, signed by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, to supporters asking them to contact Mays and demand that he make Limbaugh apologize. ... (Full article here.)

Good grief. What an exercise in political self-aggrandizement.

I really hope the CC CEO sticks to his guns and that Democrat supporters ignore Reid's request, and actually see it for the self-serving gambit it is ... wrapping a bruised ego in the American flag and asking supporters to massage it.

Sadly, tho, in "the land of the free" it has become more politically expedient to create a media circus than to develop a thick skin and uphold the principle of free speech and freedom of expression ... and then get on with serious issues. Like the Iraq war itself, rather than just opinions about it.

Such overt influence-peddling reminds me of soviet times when "adoring" crowds in the "workers paradise" were created for western consumption...

Friday, October 05, 2007

Orange Revolution Documentary Film

I missed Damyan Kolody's documentary film on the Orange Revolution, The Orange Chronicles. Drat!

Everyone I spoke to said it was awesome and that it touched them to the core ... if you ever get the chance, go see it! (And try not to get the flu the day of the screening!) It's also available on DVD at the film's website.

In the meantime, here's the trailer.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

New blog sighting: Kovbasa and beyond

OK, I recently discovered this very interesting blog ... Kovbasa and beyond!

What makes it particularly interesting is its assertion that "kovbasa" is a new buzzword for "cool" and "hip" etc ...

Just remember, you heard it here first. ;-)

UPDATE: The blog above is no longer active and has in fact disappeared from cyberspace altogether. Weird, and sad... Hopefully, the server was just down at the time.

New book on internment released

Best-selling YA and children's author Marsha Skrypuch just released her latest novel, Prisoners in the Promised Land.

The book is about a young Ukrainian immigrant girl who was sent to the Spirit Lake Internment Camp during WWI as an "enemy alien" along with her entire family.

The launch was held in Montreal, where a commemorative plaque was unveiled. A good writeup (before the event) was published in the Montreal Gazette (here).

If you haven't read any of Marsha's books yet, get thee to a bookstore now!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Unsung heroes

I don't know how this story by Orysia Tracz slipped by me, but now that it's been brought to my attention, I can share it with you!

Remember the late 1950-mid-1960s? Remember registering to study political science and Russian at college? (Ukrainian was not offered at the time.) We were going to free Ukraine, or at least strive our damnedest to get close to that goal for our parents and for ourselves.

We were also the ones who made presentations about Ukraine in our grade schools and high schools, and explained - whether they wanted to hear it or not - that Ukraine was not Russia; no, we are not Russians; yes, we are Europeans, and a separate nation even though we are part of the USSR ... (And we were the only ones in school who had the excuse notes for being absent on January 6 and 7.)

We did this willingly, on our own, with a zeal that surprised even our parents. They were still afraid of "them." We were not. And I doubt that most of us were consciously indoctrinated with that Ukrainian patriotism. I think we got it through osmosis. We felt the pride, and the pain, and the sorrow.

I am saying "we" because I do not think that I was the only one ..
.

A great read, not too long (in fact the time will zing by all too fast) and a great snapshot of a generation that worked (and still does!) so hard to make it possible for the rest of us to know what we know, and be who we are, just that much better.

Article here.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Okean Elzy

Rumour has it that Okean Elzy is coming to Vancouver this fall!

Details to follow, soon as I have them. Stay tuned!

Sunday, September 30, 2007

Voting results in Ukraine

If you're interested in following the election results in Ukraine, there's an official site here. It's available in both Ukrainian and English.

Apparently voter turnout isn't nearly as high as in 2004 ... not surprisingly.

Great review of recent Vasyl Popadiuk performance in Chicago

I just found out about a great review on virtuoso violinist Vasyl Popadiuk.

... He lifted his violin, drew the bow across the strings, and filled the hall with his special kind of magic...The members of the audience was soon enraptured as the musician literally sank into his world, transforming himself into his own music, pouring his soul into every melody, inviting the listeners to join him. Join him they did, watching mesmerised as his bow vibrated almost invisibly on the strings during "Hutsul Fantasy" and "Sun," envisaging the fate of Eastern European emigres in the United States in the 19th and early 20th centuries ...

I saw Vasyl perform live twice and he is indeed a sight, and sound, to behold. The first time was here in Vancouver back in 1993 when he was still with the now-defunct (because most of them stayed in Canada) Hopak Ukrainian Folk Ensemble. The second time was a few years ago at Canada's National Ukrainian Festival in Dauphin, MB. I recall being spell-bound and absolutely astounded back in 1993 during that Hopak performance, and thinking his was an unusual talent. I'm glad he's staying active and wish him the great commercial success.

Read the entire review here.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

CBC still using outdated article

Sigh.

Politician Gerard Kennedy says he and a group of Canadians in the [sic] Ukraine to observe this weekend's national election got a taste of the country's "seedy underside" when they were shouted down and threatened by local officials after asking questions about inflated voter lists.

Full article here.

Some people just can't seem to let go of the past. News flash: The "the" was dropped from Ukraine back in 1991 when the country declared independence. Not exactly consistent professionalism at the Mother Corp. here in the Canada.

But perhaps the writer (or editor) is just one of those people I once encountered who yearns for the "good old days of the old soviet union." Like the imperialists of old...

Friday, September 28, 2007

Canadian politician confronted by police in Ukraine

This article certainly illustrates the democratic backslide in Ukraine under Yanukovych.

Gerard Kennedy, a Canadian politician observing the election process in Ukraine, was confronted Friday by ... a squadron of police ... at the election commission in Mariupol, an area of Donetsk.

Kennedy said the police tried to hinder the observers from ensuring that the process was fair leading up to Sunday's parliamentary poll.

"Police came, one carrying weapons into the area, which is not supposed to happen, and then a kind of humorous thing happened where local TV stations came and there was what we considered mock interviews, where the party's regional representatives denounced us one after another in front of the TV cameras," Kennedy said.

Members' passports were taken by police and the group was temporarily stripped of its observer status, Kennedy said, adding that he felt a palpable feeling of hostility from authorities. ... Kennedy said the group has already observed major flaws in the voting process.

"There are extra ballots being distributed," said Kennedy. ...


Full article here.

Let's just hope voter apathy in Ukraine isn't so bad that the citizenry will just roll over and let the slide continue.

Update: Canadian journalist Mark MacKinnon also weighs in on his blog with some interesting observations.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Some imperialists die hard

Some people just can't abide change, apparently.

In a few days [Ukraine] will hold parliamentary elections. The outcome is crucial to Russia's plans for a comeback.

But good Lord, were these words uttered as recently as today??

"Russia will fight for Ukraine even more than it fought for the Baltic States or even Eastern Europe to retain its dominant position," said the Heritage Foundation's Ariel Cohen. ...

Cohen said, "Without Ukraine [Russia] won't be able to rebuild its empire... So control of Ukraine - domination of Ukraine - is very important for Moscow." Full article here.

Wow. Talk about nostalgia for the empire's glory days. (May they forever remain in the past.)

The Orange Chronicles comes to Vancouver

The good ol' Georgia Strait newspaper did a piece on the 2007 Vancouver International Film Festival. Swell title, but less than stellar research, as you can see here:

Festival flits around the world in 41 films Straight.com

Make that 42, and they missed Ukraine. (Sigh.) Typical.

Well, maybe it was an oversight. After all, it's a lot of films.

At any rate, while you can't count on the mainstream media to find out what's happening on the local Ukrainian scene, you can certainly count on Nash Holos!

So here's some exciting news for locals... the film, The Orange Chronicles, will be screening as part of the Vancouver Film Festival at the Empire Granville 7 Theatre on Fri. Sept. 28 at 8:45 p.m. and Mon. Oct. 1 at 12:30 p.m. The film was also featured at the Toronto Film Festival earlier, as I noted here last month.

I missed Acts of Imagination when it was in town (is it a year ago already???), and don't want to miss this one, too. So, hope to see you there!

Yankee go home: Yanukovych

UNIAN reports (here) that Ukrainian PM Viktor Yanukovych has sacked his American spin doctor:

Paul Manafort, who had been heading the political campaigns of the Party of Regions since 2005, was sacked from the electoral heaquarters ... after the party headquarters chiefs realized that the party’s rating fell by 5-7% nearly 10 days ago.

Of course, the slide in ratings wouldn't have anything to do with the Yanukovych party's inept and incompetent governance, would it? Still, they insist on sticking to the tried-and-true, charmingly Soviet mix of propaganda and thuggery.

...the party is now considering two scenarios of the further developments: to cancel voting results in some western district on the basis of alleged mass falsifications, and to resume talks about creating an autonomy of eastern and southern regions of Ukraine.

Meanwhile, the Prez is pounding the pavement and reminding the electorate of the Party of Regions' bad governance ... good strategy, I'd say. But with any luck, it's just necessary for insurance sake. ;-)

Coffee, Ukrainian style

For coffee lovers, a barista who splits his time between Saskatoon and Victoria shares his love and knowledge of coffee on his blog "еспресолаб" (here).

There's a nice post here about his trip this summer to Ukraine (his first), with links to photos on Flickr.

Next time I'm on the island visiting our provincial capital, I'll make sure to check out his coffee bar! (Of course, I might find myself in Saskatoon at some point in the future as well... ya never know.)

If you're lucky enough to be in either city, make sure to drop in, buy a brew, and tell Jimmy that Pawlina sent you!

Vancouver audio archives updated to Sept 23

The most recent Ukie broadcasts from Canada's west coast are now available for download and online listening!

On Nash Holos, Sylvia discovers another veggie to pickle, Myrna has a list of neat things to see and do in Ukraine, Fr. Bruce discusses iconography, Ron Cahute & Ihor Baczynskij conduct an azbooka drill, another Ukrainian proverb, and plenty of Great Ukrainian music. AND ... a special announcement introducing a new on-air personality in Ukrainian radioland.

On Chetverta Khvylia, Pavlo brings you music and news from Ukraine, exclusively in Ukrainian.

Enjoy!

Another kovbasa blog sighting

I dunno, maybe the claim that "kovbasa" is the latest synonym for "cool" or "hip" isn't beyond the realm of possibility after all ...

Because I just found another kovbasa site here. I could do without the profanity sprinkled throughout it, but, unfortunately, that's become pretty trendy in some circles. (Fortunately, tho, tasteless fads have short lifespans,)

Otherwise, I enjoyed my visit there, and would return. Check it out ... it's kovbasa! ;-)

Monday, September 24, 2007

Encyclopedia of Manitoba

... Soon to be released!

Encyclopedia of Manitoba
All about Manitoba, all in one place
.


In November 2007, Great Plains Publications will unveil the largest and most detailed book project ever undertaken in this province. More than four years in the making, the Encyclopedia of Manitoba is an 800-page information extravaganza.

All aspects of the province’s history, arts, politics, geography, business, and sports will be explored inover 2,000 entries and essays, each written and researched by expert Manitobans. From Cindy Klassen to K-Tel, Lord Selkirk to Louis Riel, Bothwell Cheese to Chip & Pepper …anything and everything of importance to Manitobans is celebrated within the encyclopedia’s pages.

And our own Orysia Tracz has contributed an entry on Ukrainians in Manitoba.

More details on their website here.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

UFOs attacking Ukraine

Um, sure ... I believe it. Millions of others wouldn't, but I would.

The Zond center for the study of anomalous phenomena claims that Ukraine has seen an increase in UFO activity over recent years. ... Most sightings come from large cities with large populations, ufologists say. The Crimea is particularly famous for the number of observations, especially in summer time.

Researchers are not joking when they say UFO appearances over Ukraine may threaten its national security. ... In addition, UFOs may pose a direct threat to witnesses' health and safety. UFOs interacting with the environment sometimes produce distortions in biological life ... and leave noticeable environment effects. ...


Full article here. My favourite part is the last sentence:

The opinions expressed in this article are the author's and do not necessarily represent those of RIA Novosti.

(Whew, what a relief!)

Vancouver audio archives updated to Sept 16

Nash Holos audio archives and podcast are now updated to the most recent on-air broadcast. Chetverta Khvylia is also updated to last Sunday.

On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia has a rather unique and elegant recipe ... jellied borscht! Myrna will tell you where to get good kava in Lviv, and Fr. Bruce discusses eastern and western perspectives on the cross of Christ.

This week's Ukrainian language lesson is on good manners, more proverbial Ukrainian wisdom and plenty of Great Ukrainian music!

Music piracy costs - bogus?

Methinks the RIAA and friends protest too much ...

A report from the Texas-based Institute for Policy Innovation says worldwide piracy of sound recordings is costing the U.S. economy $12.5 billion a year. Those costs ... include 71,060 jobs that should have been created but weren't ... The proportion of lost sales that falls to the U.S. recording industry: $3.7 billion.

Quick, someone suggest to the RIAA that they join the real world and start to "think outside the box." Who knows, maybe someone in their ranks might even get the idea to reset their priority focus on delivering music that people want to hear rather than on just hauling wheelbarrows of cash to the bank. Of course, I'm not suggesting it's a likely possibility...

"Piracy harms not only the owners of intellectual property but also U.S. consumers and taxpayers," said study author Stephen E. Siwek. "Moreover, the impact of music piracy appears to be intensifying."

Well, all I can say is they might as well get used to it.

Full article here.

Monday, September 17, 2007

Defining moment in music...

Interesting article about a report recently submitted to the CRTC Canadian Radio-television and Telecommunications Commission:

... it is 'imperative' that the CRTC find better ways to determine which artists qualify as 'emerging' so broadcasters can be encouraged to play more new Canadian artists.

The report says ... that 'community radio, campus radio, public radio, and satellite radio should all be given a voice in this matter as all have a role to play in providing showcases for emerging Canadian artists.'

Canada's Broadcasting Act requires most commercial radio stations to dedicate at least 35% of their playlists to Canadian music. ...
(Full article here.)

For ethnic stations with a licence to broadcast third-language programming, like the one my program airs on, the requirement is even lower (7%). Although I am proud to say that my playlist consistently contains on average 50% cancon, and rarely dips to as low as 35%! That's because in Canada we have so many awesome Ukrainian artists and groups!

So I certainly hope that the authors of the report would include ethnic radio in the list of those who should "be given a voice in this matter."

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Rotten pickles derail campaign tour in Ukraine

Well, speaking of food, Yanuk, Ukraine's beleaguered prime minister, seems to have a bit of a problem with it, especially during election campaigns involving the president and his arch-rival, Yush.

Back in the 2004 Orange Revolution, it was eggs. Now, in 2007, it's pickles.

There's an interesting and thought-provoking analysis of the egg incident here. Unfortunately none has appeared yet re the pickle saga. Perhaps it requires more study and thought, in which case we can assume one is forthcoming... eventually.

In the meantime, FWIW, here's mine:

If he's smart, when he retires from politics he'll stay out of the restaurant business ...

Great new local deli

Today Sylvia (of Ukrainian Food Flair fame) and I made a surprise trip to Langley where our dear friend Judy recently opened an adorable little deli called Prairie Cottage Perogies.

Sylvia brought along a new chocolate confection she concocted (yummy!) and Judy's customers will be happy to know that they will be able to buy these delectable treats for special occasions. And in the very near future I'll be introducing Judy to Nash Holos listeners, so stay tuned!

This deli is just one more good reason to come out to Lotusland for a visit. And for hungry Lower Mainlanders who don't reside in Langley, it is well worth the drive. Judy and her niece (and business partner) Tanya make the most delicious food!

We started out with a bowl of cream of cabbage soup Judy had just made. It was light (despite the "cream" in the name) and very tasty. I was tempted to pick up the bowl and slurp down the last few drops, but we were in public and I didn't want to embarass Sylvia. ;-)

Following the soup, we had the Ukrainian "lite" lunch, 3 perogies, 2 cabbage rolls, a hunk of kovbasa, and Judy's mouth-watering homemade coleslaw (she cuts the cabbage by hand!). She also brought out an unexpected and very welcome treat - a dish of bread-and-butter (also called sweet & sour) pickles she'd made a few weeks ago with fresh local cukes.

Oy-yoy-yoy ... Yum!!

Silly me, I forgot to bring along a camera and take some pics. But with food like that, I'll be back soon!

How to manage a democracy

Ukraine's large neighbour to the north seems to have "managing democracy" down pat:

Russian President Vladimir Putin dismissed his long-serving prime minister Wednesday and nominated little-known Cabinet official Victor Zubkov to replace him in a surprise move that could put Zubkov in the running to replace Putin next year. The nomination ... appeared to have caught much of the Russian political elite off-guard. ...

After dismissing Prime Minister Mikhail Fradkov - triggering the government's automatic dissolution - Putin explained the shakeup was required to "prepare the country" for forthcoming elections. ...

Putin is wildly popular among Russians, having brought stability and relative prosperity after the often chaotic presidency of his predecessor, Boris Yeltsin. As a result, whoever is nominated for the presidency by Putin is expected to win easily.

Full article here.

At the risk of perpetuating Godwin's law, let's hope we're not watching history repeating itself. While reading this article, I couldn't help thinking that Putin isn't the first dictator who was wildly popular for bringing about economic stability and a sense of national pride.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Poem about erotic folksongs

By all accounts, the presentation my friend Orysia gave last month on the eroticism underlying Ukrainian folksongs at the Honchar museum in Kyiv was a big hit!

One of the attendees even wrote a poem about it and posted it on the internet (here).

I always think of Orysia as this great walking, talking Ukrainian encyclopedia. I swear she knows everything about everything Ukrainian, especially folklore! She also has this great knack for cutting through clutter and quickly getting to the most interesting facets of whatever she is talking about. So if you ever get a chance to hear her speak, jump at it!

She travels to Ukraine every summer so if you're there at the same time, or are lucky enough to live there, I suspect there may be future opportunities like this one to hear her. If you are lucky enough to live in Winnipeg, keep a close eye on the University of Manitoba, where she works and sometimes gives presentations.

In the meantime, here's an article she wrote on head coverings that illustrates her incredible knowlege and skill of presentation. And don't forget to check out the poem!