Ukraine should learn from Uruguay

01 December 2004 |

The electoral stalemate in Ukraine has received a lot of media attention. There has been a tremendous amount of media spin and doosras in the last week - even suggestions that Ukraine is going to be divided.

Is this just bad politics? Or a case of politics gone bad?

Ukrainians had a choice between blue balls and orange balls. Not a choice between Russia and the West as claimed by many political commentators. To the average poor person in east or west of Ukraine or anywhere in the world (including USA) - feeding their family, a better life prospect - is what they want.

But, then, as the American elections proved to us for the second time in four years - the brute majority of people refuse to indulge in politics and allowed an anti-social man to become the president of the richest nation in the world. The majority of people who are slaves to a consumerist system - watch TV, eat Kentucky Chicken and prefer a life of political impotence?

Impotence it is - in thought and in deeds.

Just because there are male and female prostitutes in this world, would that make sex a crime? If sex is indeed a crime then every parent has to be a criminal. Sex is the process of creation of life. Criminalising sex is a completely different social problem.

Similarly, politics is the lifeline of any civilized democratic society. Who wants to live in the shadow of an authoritarian regime of a Hitler or a Stalin or a Czar? The very idea of 'Equality' and equal rights is what makes democracy worth everything it is. And democracy, to survive, needs politics as its nervous system.

There is a fatigue, a sense of being helpless and frustrated that politics has been criminalised. That is exactly what every citizen in this world has to fight; to reclaim the democratic rights, to reclaim democracy itself from the hands of corporate and religious criminals.

Criminalisation of sex by different mafias - through sex trade and child abuse doesn't make the act of sex between lovers or partners a crime. The difference is very clear. Similarly the difference in bad politics and good politics is also as clear as broad daylight.

Why would an autocrat like Bush bother about democracy in any country? Isn't it a classic case of the The Pot Calling The Kettle Black? For someone who has legitimised the process of stealing elections, of blatantly abusing the secular credentials of democracy itself by openly colluding with the religious right - the results of the Ukrainian elections is not about his love for the Ukranian people. Only a fool would believe in America's perverted version of democracy. Fuck Off Bushies!

'West' reflects a power group of corporate first world - whose only interest is in profits and more profits. Money! Mo and Mo Money! The corporate first world (Not everyone in the West is a greedy capitalist) has always attacked or interfered in countries that are strong in Agriculture.

There is a disturbing pattern that is emerging: Korea, Vietnam, the best part of Africa, Iraq, Afghanistan, South and Central America... and now Ukraine.

With the help of the World Bank and the IMF, the corporate first world convert economies from an Agrarian to a consumerist one - making sure that Agriculture fails and the American/Western agro-products has a market all the time.

Systematically, food crops are destroyed wherever the western multinationals go shopping. They try to introduce other crops - which cannot feed the people. This is a new form of imperialism - slavery.

Think about it, to develop a consumerist culture - where kid wants to eat Big Mac as food and does not want to eat the good ole bread, isn't there something terribly wrong. Such cultural imperialism is squeezing the life out of many millions in this world. The first world wouldn't stop at agricultural produce alone... they play every dirty trick known to the devious mind by se

So, Ukraine should look at Uruguay. Eduardo Galeano’s powerful words are prophetic in nature, "A few days before the election of the President of the planet in North America, in South America elections and a plebiscite were held in a little-known, almost secret country called Uruguay. In these elections, for the first time in the country's history, the left won. And in the plebiscite, for the first time in world history, the privatization of water was rejected by popular vote, asserting that water is the right of all people."

There is only one victor in any democratic election held anywhere in the world: the people. It is ridiculous that the focus of the Presidential election in Ukraine has been diverted away from the real issues of the people and made into a media spectacle; one that resembles a WWE-style fight between Viktor Yanukovych and Viktor Yushchenko.

From an Ukranian point of view it is absurd to think that the President of the country needs to be either pro-West or pro-Russia. There is really no choice at all contrary to what the Spin Doctors from both the camps, from Russia and from the West have been claiming all these days. The only choice the President of Ukraine has is to be pro-People.

Russia cannot claim any moral high ground just because of United States' dubious claims to being the champions of democracy.

In Putin's own backyard, St. Petersburg, governor Valentina Matviyenko said that she was against the republican form of state rule in Russia. “No, this will not suit us, we are not ready for such an experiment. A Russian person’s mentality requires a lord, a czar, a president… authoritarian rule in general.”

The fact that Valentina gets to keep her job after making such a confession of her democratic beliefs says a lot about the real Putin.

The soviet legacy in Ukraine is one that is best forgotten. In 1937, during Stalin’s Great Purge, over 180,000 Ukrainians and Communist Party members were cleansed and dumped in hastily dug mass graves.

There are lessons to be learnt about such authoritarian regimes, may it be Stalin's or Bush's. Lack of respect for human rights, which is at the nerve-centre of democracy, makes these regimes the real axis of evil.

One of my favourite Russian commentators, Yulia Latynina, in her column in The Moscow Times writes, "If Russia had a different president and a different army, the results of the election in Ukraine could have led to a schism between east and west, with Russian troops rolling into the eastern part of the country to the cheers of the local residents. After all, eastern Ukraine from Odessa to Donetsk is basically Russian territory that was artificially annexed to Ukraine in the Soviet era along the line of the Russo-German front in 1918."

West should stop treating Ukraine like a mail-order-bride. Russia should stop treating Ukraine like a stepchild. Let the people of Ukraine make their choice in dignity – not because a few Ukranians want to chase a Western capitalist dream or not because a few Ukranians want to hold on to a nostalgic Soviet scheme. They are real people with real problems and real dreams.

For young democratic nations like Ukraine, their role models should never be USA or Russia… they should learn a lot from the courageous people of Uruguay – who refused to sell their souls for a few dollars.

Bob Dylan sang,

Someone showed me a picture and I just laughed
Dignity never been photographed
I went into the red, went into the black
Into the valley of dry bone dreams

So many roads, so much at stake
So many dead ends, I'm at the edge of the lake
Sometimes I wonder what it's gonna take
To find dignity


Ukraine has to find its dignity in Ukraine, not in an American or a Rasputin dream.


1 comments:

Binu said...

Santhosh,
Enjoyed reading what was written...Capital has a way of shaping each and every aspect of one's life leaving him or her with no choice. The Corporations determine what we should eat, dress, think, sing and dream. Even when we consciously try to get out of this process of being controlled by corporate power, they still manage to make their way into our lives. But, I am sure that as more and more people feel the hunger and begin to dream of a banquet, the world will be turned upside down. Then surely there will be democracy. The real 'democracy' I mean. Uruguay was a vote towards that end.