Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Local artist displays Ukraine photos on canvas

A local resident, Lyn Tretiak, will be displaying her paintings based on photos she took in Ukraine over the past 8 years.

Lyn began to paint canvases from those photos just this year. She will be one of the artists presenting at "Art in the Park" in Maple Ridge June 27-29.

Several of Lyn's 15 canvases about Ukraine will be for sale, as well as prints and cards of all the images. There are also a few non-Ukrainian subjects.

Here's a sample of her work...

Student dancers at Novaya Khokova Fine Arts School on the Dnipre River. 18 x 24 inches, oil. $500 unframed. (Image copyright retained by Lyn Tretiak.)

Profit from sales and orders taken during this show will support two schools in Hytusko and Turianske villages, about 50 miles east of Lviv.

In recent years Lyn and her husband have been providing "extras" for these schools such as excursions, computers, repairs, and supplies.

Come out and help Lyn support these village schools!

Ukrainian Canadian answer to rising food prices

This recent article gives me a feeling of déjà vu... and admittedly a bit of a smug feeling.

Canadians are trimming down on their food, lifestyle and travel habits as costs rise, says a new poll.

Three-quarters of the Canadians surveyed said they've noticed the price of food increasing in the last three months, and almost half of respondents said they were already buying cheaper products in place of more expensive items. ...

The survey, conducted by Harris-Decima on behalf of Investors Group, also reported Canadians are looking at trimming down how they eat and shop for food.

Eighty-seven per cent said they would be eating at home more rather than going out for a meal. Forty-six per cent want to grow their own vegetables and about 40 per cent said they would be eating less meat. ... (
Full article here.)

A very popular (altho not with me) past prime minister once suggested that "If you can't afford lettuce, then eat cabbage." I distinctly recall him saying that back when it actually happened, although on Google I could find no historical reference to it whatsoever (which made me wonder if I stepped into the Twilight Zone). So I'll have to resort to my good old-fashioned reference librarian.

Anyway... back to my déjà vu. Since Trudeau made that comment, I have mellowed considerably and now in fact regard it as very good advice. IMHO, generally speaking we Canadians have become far too extravagant and wasteful. So I see a "back to our gardens and kitchens" movement as a good thing, actually.

In my younger days I used to have a freezer packed with food that eventually got freezer-burned and thrown out. Not exactly a responsible way to recycle. Then I got smart, and bought an upright freezer and a Food Saver.

Now that I have the freezer (more or less) under control, I am turning my focus to my refrigerator. I don't grow my own vegetables (although I have chives in my flowerbed) and have no intention of ever getting a cow and chickens for my own dairy products. However, I am paring down the "staples" in my fridge and learning how to cook more frugally as well as efficiently.

One of the things that is helping me is Sylvia's recipes, which can be heard on Nash Holos. We are compiling a cookbook of the recipes she has shared with listeners over the years, and I am trying out a lot of them lately. :-)

Not that they are new to me ... like many Ukrainian Canadians, I grew up on these dishes. But over the years I got away from them, experimenting with different cuisines and developing new favourites.

Interestingly, as I've re-discovered and begun to re-incorporate Ukrainian standards from buckwheat to borshch in my diet, I am finding myself feeling healthier. Of course, weaning myself off potato chips no doubt helps, so maybe it's just coincidence. But, maybe not. Only time will tell, as we say in Radioland.

As for cabbage, it is now a staple in my crisper. I sauté it often and make lazy cabbage rolls to keep in the freezer for a quick meal. Yum!! And I have created my own wonderful coleslaw using shredded cabbage, chopped green onion or chives, and a sprinkling of celery seeds tossed with a little cold-pressed (unrefined) sunflower oil imported from Ukraine. Double yum!!

Cabbage is amazingly healthful, and truly delicious. You will find many excellent cabbage (and other) recipes in our cookbook, which I hope to release by late summer.

Ukrainians wrote the book on frugal cooking ... ever hear the saying "cheap like borshch"? So our little contribution may well help you fight rising food costs. :-)

And incidentally, frugal certainly doesn't mean boring. The book has a combination of incredibly elegant as well as deliciously earthy recipes. Sylvia never fails to surprise me on Ukrainian Food Flair!

If you would like to advance order a copy of our cookbook, (tentatively) titled Try it... It's Ukrainian!, please let me know. Otherwise, stay tuned!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Nash Holos Ukrainian Language School Final Exam

If you are a regular listener to Nash Holos, you are automatically enrolled in Nash Holos Ukrainian Language School. :-)

The first (and possibly only) "school" year has flown by, but we have completed the curriculum, consisting of Ron Cahute's series of "teaching" CDs ... Barabolya, Tsyboolya, Booryak and Borscht.

And to wrap things up, we'll naturally have to have a graduation ceremony. Everyone is welcome to attend the grad, of course. But those "students" who wish to graduate with a Diploma and be eligible to receive a special graduation gift, will have to take the Final Exam.

There are 50 multiple choice questions based on the lessons in the CDs, so if you've been paying attention throughout the year, there is no reason you wouldn't ace the exam! (Although, if you haven't but are the type that likes a challenge, you should take it anyway.)

No time limit on the "exam" itself, although they'll to be completed by June 25. Just fill in your name and the city where you live, and go to it. If you pass (passing score is 50%) you will get your Diploma right on the spot.

Log on to take the exam here.

Good luck, and have fun!

Vancouver audio archives updated to June 15

Audio archives for Nash Holos are updated to June 15 ... tune in for
  • a recipe for apple almond strudel
  • new info on visas for Russia
  • a biblical perspective on dealing with change
  • an interview with Svitlana Kominko of the BCIT School of Business
  • proverb of the week
  • community events
  • and plenty of great Ukrainian music!

Oh, and for students on Nash Holos Ukrainian Language School, the Final Exam is available here.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Holodomor - the next step?

The Edmonton Journal today published an article that argues for the perpetrators of the Holodomor to be brought to justice.

Problem is, of course, that few of them would likely be alive today. It was, after all, 75 years ago, and the perpetrators would be over 100 years old... older, even, than any surviving Nazis.

So there will likely be a raging debate as to whether or not there is any point in pursuing them.

Some will say that if even only one of those monsters remains alive, they should be pursued to the ends of the earth and made to account for their crimes.

Others will say that it is a waste of resources after all this time, and better to just "learn from history" and move on.

It's a very emotional issue and a perplexing situation. Just what is the "right thing to do"?

Twenty years ago, Ukrainians the world over celebrated a millenium of Christianity in Ukraine. It was before the fall of communism, and naturally the (atheist) Soviets in Moscow tried to appropriate the event in the public discourse and all the photo ops that went with it. The western media fell into slavish step and did its best to accommodate them.

But I digress. My question is, would it serve Ukrainians better to consider calling on those 1000 years of Christian heritage and come up with a better solution?

I imagine this call to pursue the perpetrators of the Holodomor will resonate with contemporary native Ukrainians (especially since 80 years of official atheism have come between them and that heritage).

It resonates with me, too. Although I'm Canadian-born (as are my parents) and didn't have any immediate family perish in the Holodomor, this genocide deeply grieves me. I had kin there. Distant, sure. But I still had a bloodline connection to those who did perish. And so does everyone on this planet with even a drop of Ukrainian blood in them.

But might forgiving and not forgetting perhaps be a better solution than executing extremely elderly criminals?

Knowing Ukrainians as I do, I don't really even need to ask that question. It's done. And I think the author of that article knows that, too. After all, he just spent the last 20 years fighting on behalf of survivors of the WWI Canadian internment operations who didn't ask for money or even an apology. All they wanted was that the world remember and acknowledge what what was done to them, and learn from the past so it is never done again to anyone else.

In light of the breathtaking denial of the Holodomor still happening in western and post-soviet academic and media circles, remembering and acknowledging this horrific genocide is the least the world can do. Isn't the fact that genocide is still happening somewhere in the world as you read these words reason enough to learn from the past?

As for the perpetrators of the Holodomor, the Christian way is to forgive and leave any retribution to divine forces. If any of these criminals are still alive they wouldn't have many years left anyway. For them to leave this earth in disgrace, knowing they will forever be remembered as monsters, and that their evil legacy will not live on, may be the worst punishment the world could offer.

As in the Canadian example, Ukrainians have never asked for much. Just that the world remember, and acknowledge.

After 75 years of denial, it's time to do the right thing.

Monday, June 02, 2008

TV coverage of Ukrainian presidential visit to Canada

Watch the State Visit of President Yushchenko to Canada on KONTAKT TV
  • Greeting at Rideau Hall
  • Ottawa press conference with PM Harper
  • Eternal Flame Holodomor on Parliament Hill
  • Speech to Economic Club of Toronto
  • Old Mill meeting with Toronto Ukrainian Community
Wednesday June 4 at 1 pm and Thursday June 5 at 9 am on Channel M (Vancouver).

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Yellow journalism serves no one well

What is it about the mass murder of Ukrainians in the 1930s Holodomor that inspires yellow journalism even 75 years later?

First there was the infamous New York Times reporter who received a Pulitzer Prize for his yellow journalism back in the 1930s ... and principled journalists who reported the true facts were either ridiculed and fired from their jobs (like Malcolm Muggeridge) or ended up dying mysteriously at an early age (like Gareth Jones).

By the 1980s, as more information became available, unabashed deniers came out of the woodwork (and, incidentally, got a lot more press than new evidence implicating the Soviet govt in the Holodomor). It didn't take very long to discredit them however ... reputable scholars quickly exposed them for the crackpots they are.

Then just yesterday, Canada's self-styled "national" newspaper took up where the NYT left off. The Globe and Mail, for some reason decided to reprint an article by the Russian novelist Alexander Solzhenitsyn. He says that the Holodomor was not a genocide but a fairytale.

... [I]t did not occur to anyone to suggest to the zealous activists of the Communist Party and Young Communist League that what was happening was the planned annihilation of precisely the Ukrainians. The provocative outcry about "genocide" only began to take shape decades later - at first quietly, inside spiteful, anti-Russian, chauvinistic minds - and now it has spun off into the government circles of modern-day Ukraine, who have thus outdone even the wild inventions of Bolshevik agitprop.

To the parliaments of the world: This vicious defamation is easy to insinuate into Western minds. They have never understood our history: You can sell them any old fairy tale, even one as mindless as this.


I have no argument with newspapers publishing op-eds critical of the government's actions. Its keeps politicians on their toes (and also sells papers). But in this case, there is the little matter of timing vis-a-vis the topic.

Solzhenitsyn's op-ed was printed in the Boston Globe on April 5. So why reprint it nearly 2 months later, and right on the heels of the Canadian government's official declaration of the Holodomor as a genocide? And couldn't they find a Canadian writer/historian to do the job to their satisfaction?

(Full article here.)

This letter to the editor from a Boston Globe reader (and Harvard University history professor) reminded me that Solzhenitsyn has long been at the top of the MSM's list of approved anti-communists, and perhaps sheds some light on why.

... Solzhenitsyn's assertion that the treatment of the famine of 1932-33 as a genocide is the product of "spiteful, anti-Russian, chauvinistic minds" can be understood only if one equates the Communist government and the Russian people. Solzhenitsyn spent a good part of his life arguing that Communism and Russia were incompatible. His op-ed raises the question of whether he still believes in this.

To me, it raises the question of whether he ever did.

But the issue here isn't so much Solzhenitsyn's commitment (or not) to anti-communism as the yellow journalism employed by mainstream newspapers to discredit Ukrainian aspirations to sovereignty.

Could this reprint be a swipe at Yushchenko and his diaspora supporters?

Could it be an attempt to influence public opinion in order to weaken the democratic movement in Ukraine by driving a wedge between its supporters here in Canada?

You decide.

But if some interpret this curiously-timed genocide-denying article reprint as anti-Ukrainian yellow journalism, could you blame them?

And can you blame readers for abandoning traditional newspapers peddling propaganda and turning to the internet to find the news, and the truth, for themselves?