Mariupol and a Ukrainian Marseillaise – August 30, 2014

Mariupol.8.30.2014

This photo from the Washington Post (August 30, 2014) captures a rally on behalf of Ukrainian forces in Mariupol, whose residents have been digging trenches in anticipation of a Russian assault on the city. A colleague shared this message from a local resident who witnessed events there. The translation from Russian is by William Risch, Georgia College.

Mariupol mobilized in half a day, like the day before yesterday. The plans were modest – proceed to the Novoazovsk checkpoint, give assistance to soldiers, and sing the national anthem. But it turned into something grandiose. Several thousands showed up, very many of them wearing embroidered shirts for special occasions, with flags. They lined up, held hands, got acquainted with each other, and were amazed by how many of us were there. They chanted, they sang the anthem (o… with that Russian accent!), children racing past on bicycles called out “Glory to Ukraine,” and adults responded in bass, “Glory to the heroes,” an atmosphere of celebration while facing the east. But the culmination awaited us at the end, when the human chain rolled up, all the people came up to the soldiers, and someone shouted out to the troops, “Thank you!” The choir of a thousand voices took it up, and the soldiers wound up in a ring of glory, women ran up and embraced them… Catharsis… Again the anthem… In the sixteenth century, Luther composed the immortal chorale that Germans back then went to war with against bigoted Catholicism, “Ein’ feste Burg ist unser Gott” (“A Mighty Fortress is Our God”). In the eighteenth century, the Marseillaise became that song. And here, Ukraine, the twenty-first century – the people are fighting for freedom, and the national anthem inspires them to do it.

Original link with the photo from the Washington Post: http://www.washingtonpost.com/world/ukraines-soldiers-defend-city-of-mariupol-amid-fears-of-russia-backed-rebels/2014/08/30/766696cf-0f22-472f-ab54-61a0dd909434_story.html

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