Saturday, July 21, 2018

Lesya Ukrainka, revolutionary poet and writer -- "Yes, I am Alive! And I Shall Live Forever!"

Triumphant and solemn, the flash of predawn light
Has pierced through the gloom of the night
Still asleep are the rays of the sun --
Though the predawn light burns on,
A torch that the workers ignite

Arise, all the living who think of rebellion!
The hour has come and work to be done!
Fear not the predawn gloom of night --
But kindle the flame of predawn light
Long before the dawn sees the risen sun!
- Lesya Ukrainka, 1892

Lesya Ukrainka is a famous Ukrainian writer and poet who was also a revolutionary Marxist. She translated the Communist Manifesto into Ukrainian in 1902 and was arrested by the czarist police for a time in 1907. She died in 1913, four years before the revolution, at the young age of 42. During the Soviet period she was elevated from relative obscurity to being seen as a hero and role model.

This booklet was published in the USSR in 1973 to mark the erection of a monument in her honour by the people of Kiev.The monument was placed on a boulevard that was also named for her.

The booklet contains the text of several speeches about her and her influence given at a ceremony unveiling the monument. It also has an overview of her life and numerous photos of statues and assemblies related to her across the Soviet Union at various points.

(Click on scans to enlarge)

Lesya Ukrainka Square, Kiev

Ceremonial Meeting held by Kiev's working people
dedicated to the unveiling of the monument

Monument to Lesya Ukrainka in Kiev

Halina Kalchenko, author of numerous sculptures and
monuments to the immortal poetess

Sculpture and bust of Lesya Ukrainka
in the village of Kolodyazhne, Volyn Region

Near the Lesya Ukrainka House-Museum
in Novograd-Volynsky, Zhitomir Region

Memorial Stele in the town of Hadyach

Meeting at the Monument to Lesya Ukrainka in
Surami, Georgian SSR

Monument to Lesya Ukrainka in
Batumi, Georgian SSR

Meeting at the Baikove Cemetery in Kiev,
where Lesya Ukrainka lies buried

Ceremonial meeting dedicated to Lesya Ukrainka's birth centennial
held at Bolshoi Theater, Moscow, on March 1, 1871

Memorial Medallion issued to mark the centenary of her birth

Ceremonial meeting in Novograd-Volynsky
on the occasion of her centennial jubilee

At the Republican Art Exhibition dedicated to her birth centennial, Kiev

The State Lesya Ukrainka Literary Memorial Museum, Kiev 

The State Merited Dumka Capella of the Ukrainian SSR

Works about her and her life in the various languages of the USSR

Statue in the First of May Park, Kiev

Medal award for the winner of the
Lesya Ukrainka Literary Prize

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dear Prime Minister Trudeau, the solution to the Greyhound crisis is obvious: Public Transit!

Last week we heard the news that with "the exception of a single bus route between Vancouver and Seattle, all Greyhound service in British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba will shut down as of Oct. 31". It is also cutting services in parts of Ontario. 

This will have a dramatic impact on many communities and will especially impact seniors, youth, the disabled, people living in poverty and people from marginalized and racialized communities.

Yesterday we read: 
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he's asked Transport Minister Marc Garneau to find solutions following Greyhound's withdrawal of bus service from western Canada.
Trudeau calls Greyhound's move "difficult" for people who live on the Prairies and for those who are already struggling economically.
The prime minister has directed Garneau to work with provinces, communities and Greyhound to see "what paths forward there are."
But the "path forward" should be no great mystery to our politicians.

They act like it is as the obvious solution to the problem undermines their neoliberal ideological worldview and their belief in the market and the private sector. Even the NDP has bought into this mythology of the market with the BC NDP Transportation Minister feeling that the "market can fill in Greyhound vacuum" which is absurd.

The only long-term solution to provide accessible and affordable intercity and intercommunity transit is to build and maintain public bus and train lines that are run for people as a service and not for profit.

I wrote of this before on The Left Chapter stating in part:
Greyhound Canada should be immediately nationalized to maintain and even expand these routes, though we all know this is not going to happen.
But one has to ask, what will it take before governments of all stripes in Canada abandon the neoliberal approach to transit and transportation and begin to view it, build the networks and run them as both an essential service for many millions of people and as a key tool in combating climate change?
Read the full call to action at: Greyhound Canada shows the imperative to build intercity public transit networks

Today is the 100th Anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela. We celebrate it with some of his quotes

Today is the 100th anniversary of the birth of Nelson Mandela, one of history's greatest freedom fighters and heroes. Mandela, of course, endured 27 years of imprisonment in his struggle against the inhuman racist Apartheid system in South Africa. He went on to become South Africa's President in 1994. We celebrate his life with some his quotes. 

- Like slavery and apartheid, poverty is not natural. It is man-made and it can be overcome and eradicated by the actions of human beings. And overcoming poverty is not a gesture of charity. It is an act of justice. It is the protection of a fundamental human right, the right to dignity and a decent life. While poverty persists, there is no true freedom.

- Massive poverty and obscene inequality are such terrible scourges of our times - times in which the world boasts breathtaking advances in science, technology, industry and wealth accumulation - that they have to rank alongside slavery and apartheid as social evils.

- We thank you for coming here today. Sometimes it falls upon a generation to be great. You can be that great generation. Let your greatness blossom. Of course the task will not be easy. But not to do this would be a crime against humanity, against which I ask all humanity now to rise up. Make Poverty History

- No one is born hating another person because of the colour of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.

- There is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.

- When in 1977, the United Nations passed the resolution inaugurating the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian people, it was asserting the recognition that injustice and gross human rights violations were being perpetrated in Palestine. In the same period, the UN took a strong stand against apartheid; and over the years, an international consensus was built, which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system....We know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians.

- We also find inspiration in the life and example of Jose Marti who is not only a Cuban and Latin American hero, but an admired symbol for all those who fight for freedom. We also honor the great Che Guevara whose outstanding revolutionary efforts, even on our continent, were of such magnitude that no prison nor censorship could conceal him from us. His life is an inspiration for all those who love freedom. We will always honor his memory.

- I should mention that when we wanted to take up arms, we approached numerous Western governments in search of help and we could only talk with the lowest level officials. When we visited Cuba we were received by the highest authorities who immediately offered anything we wanted and needed. That was our first experience with Cuban internationalism. 

- What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.

- I have walked that long road to freedom. I have tried not to falter; I have made missteps along the way. But I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb.