I have never set foot in Ukraine. It is where my parents spent their childhood, though, and it is within the exiled Ukrainian community in the UK that I grew up.
I have grown more and more interested in the recent events in Kiev. I’ve listened in to conversations and tuned in to what’s been being said. I understand Ukrainian fluently, so I find myself comparing any translation to what I know has been said, and appreciating how good it is.
Some things are not translatable – at least not in their entirety. The protesters marching, carrying the dead in their open coffins, and shouting ‘slava hair-oyam,’ in a hard-faced, rhythmic, repetative way is accurately translated as ‘glory to the heroes.’ But it is the kind of rhetoric I grew up with. There’s more to it. It partly means what it says, but there is also a strong strand of pathos, and a simmering undercurrent of hatred towards the Russian neighbours.
I’m glad that the reporting has reflected it is a complicated situation. I’m glad that things have quietened down in ways that no-one predicted. I have hope.
I have hope because when Ukraine became an independent country I did not believe it would last a month. The nation proved me wrong. There were resources there I did not understand.
In following Jesus, the kingdom of God has become my home country. I suppose I have come to recognise many strands of rhetoric in this ‘nation,’ and the need for discernment, as Jesus taught, when you listen, to recognise the truth. To see beyond the words.
And rejoice as the Holy Spirit introduces us as brothers and sisters, indeed a peculiar people, that are set apart to show forth his praise. Slava Bohoo (Glory to God.)