Flag Parade was made possible thanks to the grant I received from the Prague Freedom Foundation to report on the Ukrainian Euromaidan Revolution in March 2014.
Today I was part of the Flag Parade, and it was a really amazing experience. We met and prepared our flags in Shevchenko park where I met a lot of interesting international people, some who even spoke Russian or Ukrainian. Everyone was mingling, having a great time and most importantly supporting Ukraine.
I spoke with Chris Taylor, one of the organizers from England. He had an English flag with yellow-and-blue ribbons tied to it. He explained that he helped organize the event “to show unity, to show that the international community here does support the new government.”
Taylor has lived in Kiev for four years and he wants “to show that Kiev is not in flames like the Russian media portrays.” He believes that an event like this “is a very visible thing that the international community can do to show support.”
Taylor has supported Ukraine from the beginning of the conflict, and he wants this event to show continued support for Maidan. “Even if Crimea and Russian aggression wasn’t happening, we’d still be supporting Ukraine.”
As we walked through the streets, Ukrainians cheered and thanked everyone for the support. I was pleasantly surprised when someone yelled “Slava Ukrajni” and all around me, expats from at least 20 different countries replied “Herojam Slava”. There was a strong feeling of unity between all of us in the parade and the Ukrainians around us.
When we got to Maidan, some of us got to go on stage and say something to the people. Everyone had really beautiful and supporting things to say. Everyone in the world speaks about the “American Dream”, yet there were Americans who live in Kiev praising Ukraine and its people; saying that they were inspired by Ukrainians. There were short speeches in Ukrainian, Russian, English, German and French. Every speech ended in loud applause. The speaker who welcomed us on stage said, “we might not understand all the words, but support speaks for itself.” Once everyone who wished to had spoken, they played the Ukrainian national anthem, and everyone joined in to sign it. I had never witnessed something so amazing.
I would like to thank Christ Taylor, Anders Östlund and everyone who organized and participated in this event. Since November 21st Ukrainians have been showing the world what they are capable of – having the international community acknowledge and support Ukraine is extremely gratifying. It gives the Ukrainian nation even more strength and hope.
Originally published here: https://olenakaguiukraine2014.wordpress.com/2014/03/16/flag-parade/