Friday, May 06, 2005

About My Comments on Mykola Mehyts' E-Gazette

Greetings Family and Friends,

This is a comment in which I try desperately to back-pedal from the comments that appeared, attributed to me, this week on Mykola Mehyts' e-gazette. If you do not recieve this e-gazette, you definitely should: it is a weekly bulletin of events about happenings in various Ukrainian communities in North America that is sent every Friday via email, and is a valuable (and new, only a few weeks old) resource for the North American Ukrainian diaspora, compiled by an excellent and worthy activist of the Ukrainian-American community, Mykola Mehyts. You can join the site by writing to Mykola at

For some time now, Mykola has been fishing for statements about what the role of the diaspora is in post-OR Ukraine, intending to publish them in his e-gazette. He wrote to me the other day wondering why I had not written anything yet, since I have had a few conversations with him about this topic in general, and could be expected to have a lot to say. I do have a lot to say, but I have not had any time to write a well-written piece on the matter. I have lot to say about the role played in the past by the diaspora and what it could be doing in the future that is both positive and negative. There are things that people of our diaspora have done that have me feeling awe-struck and proud, and then there are things that I am shocked by and critical of. However, what appeared on the e-gazette are only comments geared toward the things of which I am critical--and these are things that I only really learned about by going to Ukraine. These were comments that I voiced to Mykola over an email that I thought would be remaining PRIVATE between the two of us; I know he knows me well enough to know that I am not solely critical of the diaspora, and that I do see a big role--much bigger than my comments published on the e-gazette would lead one to believe--for us in post-OR Ukraine. I did not intend for my comments to him to be published, for they reflect only about HALF of what I have to say about the relation between the diaspora and Ukraine. I am dismayed that they appeared there as they did. Left alone as they appear there, they are a misrepresentation of my whole thought.

I understand that they were published as the result of miscommunication between Mykola and I. To try and mend the situation, I will write a statement that really reflects my full thoughts, both praising as well as critizing the diaspora, and will post here and will also ask Mykola to put it in next week's e-gazette as well. I think it will be a kind of Manifesto for diaspora action that will work well for me, and I hope maybe for others. . .

And one last thing: none of this should be a reflection on the character or integrity of Mykola Mehyts. I truly admire the work he does and has done in our Ukrainian American community. He is a mover and doer; because of his efforts (and those of others, but he initiated the thing) we have been holding an annual Ukrainian Day Festival these past few years for the first time in my living memory here in Minneapolis; we have an 1/2 hour Ukrainian Community radio show; and there are many other praiseworthy things that this fellow has done, such as help organize fundraisers for $ that was sent to Ukraine for the OR, as well as helping to organize pro-OR demonstations at our State Capital, as well as going himself as an observer to Ukraine during the elections, etc., the list goes on. This really was a misunderstanding. Mykola is a great guy and has my support!


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