Friday, July 25, 2008

Speechless

This article about "theme" restaurants in general, and a "terrorist" restaurant in Beirut in particular is amazing enough.

That Buns 'n' Guns, a war and terrorism-themed cafe, has opened in - wait for it - Beirut, surely makes it a contender for the worst restaurant concept ever?

B 'n' G regulars can eat a Magnum with a side order of Grenade (grilled chicken with fries); a Kalashnikov (beef burger on "terrorist" bread); an RPG; M16; or Tactical meal deal, all cooked by chefs dressed in military fatigues, in a cafe - slogan: "A Sandwich Can Kill You" - decorated with mortars, ammunition and sandbags. And the background music? No, not A.R.E Weapons or WAR, but explosions and gun fire. Noises which you might have thought residents of this Hezbollah-controlled suburb had had enough of in recent years.

Full article here.

But this comment left me totally speechless....

"It's an old question - why is is left totalitarianism kitsch but right unacceptable?" Because fascism is inherently evil, it's [sic] start-point is terror. Communisim, in contrast, was a noble cause, perverted... beyond all recognition.

I would beg to differ with this viewpoint. IMO the start-point of communism is inherently perverted.

The premise of communism is redistribution of wealth, i.e., "To each according to his needs, from each according to his means." Funny how utopians who bemoan the "perversion" of this "noble" cause seem to avoid answering the inevitable question of who exactly gets to decide on other people's needs and means... and "redistribute" accordingly.

I mean, who would make sure it's done right? A Supreme Being they don't believe in, perhaps? Because if it's human beings, what else but perversion could you expect with an ideology that runs so contrary to human nature?

But of course, utopians espousing this "noble cause" (especially those who go around in trendy togs sporting hammers and sickles) generally don't like to be reminded of what happens when human beings take it upon themselves to decide. To them it's all "ancient history" since nothing like that is happening today because humanity is so good at learning lessons from the past.

So good luck convincing them that fascism and communism are in fact identical ideologies. If there is any difference it would be in the popular mythology built around them. But at their core, they are both inherently evil.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Vancouver audio archives updated to July 20

Audio archives for Nash Holos are updated to July 20.

On this week's program:
  • A recipe for chilled strawberry soup ... perfect for summer!
  • The scoop on the Hutsul folk art museum in Kolomiya, Ukraine
  • All about icons depicting the Mother of God (with Fr. Ihor Kutash of Montreal)
  • An interview with two BCIT School of Business grads and their environmental project that took them to Ukraine
  • Great Ukrainian music from Montreal, Ukraine and BC
  • ... and much more!

Enjoy!

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Ukrainian Woman Wins Major Corruption Case

Although it's probably just a drop in the bucket in the fight against post-communist corruption in Ukraine, it's encouraging to come across stories like this:

A Christian woman who became known for her personal crusade against high level corruption in Ukraine's border region with the European Union has won a, potentially precedent-setting, trial against municipality authorities of the western city of Uzhhorod ...

... the mayor and his allies ... have been involved in controversial business dealings. The mayor has a tendency not to speak to foreign reporters and has beaten up opponents.


Communism obviously didn't leave any legacy of civility in Ukraine's civic arena! But I must say it's very heartening to see acts of courage like this on the part of Ukraine's citizenry...which goes a long way to breaking down the awful legacy it did leave.

...[Svetlana] Milchevich is the mother of BosNewsLife Senior International Correspondent Agnes R. Bos who ... used the trial to unravel wider corruption in Uzhhorod, despite apparent death threats directed towards her and her mother. ..

Milchevich...now lives in a rundown apartment block in the center of Uzhhorod, near potholes and wild dogs. She wants the Orange Revolution to reach areas far removed from Kiev. "I hate corruption," she [said]. ...

Full story here.

Congratulations to these brave women fighting corruption by personally facing down vicious thugs obviously caught in a soviet time warp. Such moxy is remarkable in the midst of an indifferent world of self-absorption.

As a Canadian, I find it quite shameful that the mainstream western media is so disinclined to celebrate the bravery of people like Svetlana Milchevich and Agnes Bos. Not a single story in the western press about this case.

Likewise, it's hard to find any entertainment celebs who publicly condemn not only barbarians in Ukraine and elsewhere in the FSU for abusing their positions of power and privilege, but also corrupt leadership hopefuls in bastions of western democracies.

Could it be that the western media and entertainment elite are caught in a time warp of their own and find it easier to focus on the latest cause celebre than to re-examine (and end) their collective love affair with communism?

But if they ever did, and finally found the courage to support people like Svetlana Milchevich and Agnes Box, it would sure improve the lives of people in today's world who are still suffering from the fallout of communism's collapse.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Vancouver audio archives updated to June 29

The Nash Holos archives are updated to June 29, 2008. Apologies for the delay... been enjoying an extended long weekend and the arrival (finally!) of summer here in Lotusland. You can find last Sunday''s audio archives and more at the NH website.
  • On Ukrainian Food Flair, Sylvia Pidraziuk Molnar has a very summery recipe: cherry bread pudding.
  • On Travel Tips for Ukraine and Eastern Europe, Myrna Arychuk of Solaway Travel has tips on train travel in Ukraine.
  • On A Spiritual Moment ... Знами Бог ... Znamy Boh (God is With Us) with Fr. Edward Danylo Evanko and a biblical perspective on vision.
  • Graduation 2008 Commencement Exercises at Nash Holos Ukrainian Language Skool, presenting all the "grads" who wrote and passed the NH Final Exam based on the Ukrainian language "lessons" in Ron Cahute's Barabolya CD series. ;-)
  • As usual, the Proverb of the Week, community events listings, and other items of interest to the Ukrainian community in the Lower Mainland ... and beyond.
  • And of course, plenty of GREAT Ukrainian music, featuring Ukrainian artists from Canada and the USA in honour of our respective national holidays this week.
Enjoy!

Language wars in Ukraine

Here's another article chronicling more of the same-old, same-old...

...The Russian Foreign Ministry, headed by Prime Minister Vladimir Putin’s loyalist, Sergei Lavrov, sent a note to Kyiv on June 16, saying that "Moscow proceeds from the fact that the question of the Russian language in Ukraine should take into account the legal rights and interests of millions of Ukrainian citizens who consider it [the Russian language] as their native one, which they use in everyday life" ...

The Ukrainian Foreign Ministry calmly replied that Russia should take more interest in the provisions for the cultural and educational needs of Ukrainians with Russian passports in Russia. "I would advise [Russia] to worry about the functioning of the Ukrainian language in Russia and take an interest in the educational and cultural conditions for Ukrainians in Russia, and in the number of Ukrainian language schools in Moscow," Vasyl Kyrylych, the spokesman for the Ukrainian Foreign Ministry, [said]. ...


I find it hard to believe that the Russian language is in such dire need of protective measures in Ukraine, especially since...

... 442,000 children studied in 1,500 schools in Ukraine with Russian as their main language of education and 31 universities educated Russian language teachers. Moreover, 2,343 media outlets were registered in Ukraine as Russian language outlets, Ukrainian libraries had 59 million titles in Russian and the Russian language could be heard on the streets throughout Ukraine.

Then there's the predominance of the Russian language vis-á-vis Ukrainian outside of the FSU.

... Putin, addressing the International Congress of Russian Press, pledged the government’s support for the Russian language foreign press. Presumably, he did not have in mind Russian language newspapers in the United States, the Czech Republic or Canada, which appear to be well-funded and enjoy a stable readership among the émigré communities.

It goes far beyond newspapers. In my never-ending quest to improve my Ukrainian language skills, I checked out Rosetta Stone, the latest trendy language study program. It offers Polish, Irish, Swahili, Welsh, Persian, Pashto as well as the standard Spanish, French, and Italian, etc. and of course Russian. I asked a Rosetta Stone rep if they would be offering Ukrainian. He informed me that in Ukraine, most [sic] Ukrainians speak Russian ... and while he conceded that they may not like it, he insisted that Russian is what they speak and so why bother with Ukrainian.

OKay. Fine. So I decided to go with Pimsleur . They're considerably more up to date in their approach to the language issue in Ukraine. It's a very effective method, btw, although the material is outdated and appears to have been compiled by Moscow-centric folk of the ilk of the above-mentioned Rosetta Stone rep. One of the more aggravating aspects is its use of the Russian word for "hello ... which is bizarre when there are perfectly good Ukrainian ones. (I'm told they're coming out with an updated version soon. I sincerely hope it will be more authentic.)

But, I digress. As far as the Russian language goes, Mr. Putin has no worries about its survival. Although no doubt he knows that very well. Survival apparently isn't the goal.

The Russian complaint came at a time when both President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Putin are intensifying the campaign to promote Russian as a global language on par with English. ...

Full article here.