What touches the most? When a hero (heroine) is behaving both noble and vulnerable. But it is only if you understand that particular type of personality, you can see a vulnerability and accept a particular type of nobility.
For a few days I have been absolutely shocked by what was happening in Ukraine and couldn’t do much apart from looking at my news feed. Now, when I am starting to come back to the world of living, I feel some need to say what I think about the reasons for the present conflict. I don’t know too much as I’ve been in the UK all the time, but I am both Russian and Ukrainian, I’ve grown up in Moscow with one of the very common Ukrainian family names and visited Ukraine many times.
- Russian Government or shortly Putin is to blame for steering people’s fears and for invading Crimea. What saddens me the most is the dishonesty of it all. Soldiers hiding their nationality (but in obvious Russian uniforms!) Blatant denial and lies in the media. Also the fact that there was a treaty in the 90s over the Ukrainian borders which is now Russia is trying to break. And blaming America all the way for intervening in others business. The fact is that all powerful counties do this and it is time for people of the word to stand up to this disgusting pretence.
- Western media. When the riots in Kiev started they were so happy on British channels to shout “Ukrainians are against Russia now!” How do you think this would make Russians feel? I’ve met an artist who said to me something like “How great, Ukrainians are rebelling against your lot now” – almost instead of hello. It felt horrible. People, especially being in minority and living abroad, often perceive the view of they country as the way the locals look at them. Initially BBC and Channel 4 made me totally believe Russian propaganda: that Ukraine is full of neo-Nazis hating everything Russian (and therefore me too).
- Idiots who proposed to get rid of the second state language. Western Ukrainian language is from the West of the country, it never been spoken by natives of many other regions, including the Crimea (which was given to Ukraine in 50s without any consent of its inhabitants – mind you, it didn’t matter so much as this was just a part of one country). The threat of abolishing their language caused great anger among Russian speaking Ukrainians and you can’t really blame them.
- Violence during protests. Protesting is fine and in many cases great but why some protesters expect again and again the police to throw chocolates and flowers in return for bricks and Molotov cocktails? Violence leads to even worse violence, situation escalates. I am appalled by the scenes of rioters beating up the police or pushing each other through angry striking crowd, or making people kneel. This is medieval barbarism.
- Nationalists on all sides. They are always in the wrong. It is limited, primitive view of the word in which one nation is more important than another. This has no future. The only good thing that this conflict may produce is that any government will stay away from Far Right as much as possible, scared by Russia’s over the top reaction to some nazis who joined the riots. There are plenty of nationalists in Russia too: I know because I lived under constant pressure to join them in the 90s. Rather than getting outraged at the idea that “our lot is being beaten up” (as nationalist do) humans should get outraged when anyone on this planet is beaten up.
- Ambiguity of the international law on regional independence. Why some allowed referendums and some are not? Personally I think splitting countries only increases bureaucracy and nationalistic feelings. But this really should be for locals to decide, isn’t it?
- Clergy on all sides blessing the guns, calling people martyrs and promising heavens. This divide people by religion and leads to more violence. Remarkable exchange of words happened between Ukrainian and Moscow branches of Russian Orthodox church. Ukrainian side asked Russian one to influence their government in preventing bloodshed. What Moscow church PR person Chaplin (not funny one) said was almost word to word from Hitler speech on annexing Austria. Nation, separated by borders, under threat have right to unite. Ukrainians, do not resist and you won’t be harmed… What this has to do with religion? Or is the church truly inseparable from the government in Russia now? Dark ages are back.
With all the screaming and emotions it is difficult to know what is really going on. I recommend following several different media channels, but also ordinary people in the midst of it. I put more trust to the opinions of wise and educated people.
It is all so sad because normally there is not much barriers between Russians and Ukrainians. There is often a feeling that we should not even belong to different countries. After all, Kiev was the first capital of Russia! But then all humans are brothers too, who left their motherland in Africa some time ago and we all separated to tribes who often don’t want to listen to each other…
What are the lessons? I think the only way to better future is away from nationalism, violence, mass media brainwashing and state-level dishonesty.
The brightest moments of the last few days were when Russia Today presenters expressed their honest views among suffocating propaganda. We do watch this channel from time to time, normally it is full of weird conspiracy theorists but presently it feels like the most aggressive brainwashing I’ve ever seen. Somebody from Ukraine recently said that their propaganda channels are full of lies too…
I do hope the situation de-escalate before it is too late.
Sometime they say there are two types of intelligence: ours and a collective one, the ants intelligence. I don’t think we are so different. Our personalities divide us into workers, soldiers and much more. If somebody just can’t understand somebody else, it may be that they are different kinds of ants…
My granny was a fanatical crocheter. She made curtains, tablecloths, shirts, cushions, doilies, anything you could imagine. Some of these are still in the good shape, some of her craftwork unfortunately is disintegrating – like the fragments of a net curtain I’ ve used to make this heart. I did two, one is kept by my daughter in her room, this one is in my shop. I am glad I’ve found a way to keep her work alive…
Numerous individuals act to bring peace, justice, prosperity and equality to the world. They sign petitions, donate, blog, march, form organisations. It is all right and noble.
Governments often say the same words, appear to care about Human rights, peace and environment. They have to: otherwise individual people won’t vote for them. Yet so often it seems that the true motivation for ALMOST ALL GOVERNMENTS is mere strength of their country. They are plotting aiming at regime change to get more allies, they are trying to broaden their country market for export or to grab cheaper resources, they sell weapons right and left – and so on.
An art group I’ve helped to create is being treated now as a hunting ground by a religious fundamentalist. He had patiently waited, he had checked us, he had thought he’s found the most vulnerable one. He made his move. A bible is given, a meeting in his church is arranged.
He has swallowed the bite. He didn’t realise he has been hunted by a serial fanatic-teaser! The game is afoot 🙂
It is nice to give and recieve presents in the darkest coldest time of the year. But why should this only happen once? I can easily imagine having a special day in every season when people exchange gifts. It would be good both for relationships and for the economy. I think we need to embrace some special seasonal occasions (solstices and equinoxes?) which would bring more cheer and expectations to our lives, and I am not talking just about kids. It feels wrong to have major celebrations only once a year.
At the moment I am based at the market which is due to close for renovation (possibly at end of February). Frankly I would rather have a separate art and craft shop / center. I am trying to summarise what that place preferably be like (or not like).
1. Nothing pretentious, snobby or overpriced. It’s fine to have some very expensive items but there should be plenty of affordable stuff. Many art and craft places scare off non-arty and not rich people.
2. Not a cold and empty art gallery, rather a place that looks like a home of somebody who enjoys collecting handmade / one of the kind / weird and wonderful, enjoys living with eclectic mixture of things.
3. It would be beneficial to have a widest possible range of arts, crafts, vintage, upcycled and antique products for home and fashion. It should give feeling of entering a cave full of treasures. When people spend long time browsing they are more likely to buy at least something.
4. Space for workshops, demonstrations and meetings.
5. Some space for themed exhibitions.
6. A nice cafe would attract customers.
7. Artists and makers working in real time within some studio space – again, this would interest people.
8. An outdoor / garden area for displaying outdoor works.
9. Art and craft supplies. People coming for this sort of things would be interested in attending workshops.
It is a very far fetched dream, i know. But I can’t stop dreaming it…
This is a Pinterest board for the dream:
I wanted a working useful website for the shop, with links to all original products and prints sold from different platforms (Artfire, Folksy, Etsy, Zazzle, CafePress, etc). I don’t think anything like this would be possible with a free DIY site. Fortunately I’ve stumbled upon PIcsity. On the surface it remind Pinterest and Wanelo but has a very appealing feature: the ability to rearrange products within a board. So, here it is. I continuously work on adding new (and old) products to the online shop. Hope you like it!
- Picsity: A New Kind Of Social Media (writtenbynikki.com)
Newtown, Powys, Wales. The historic Market Hall. In this little shop you will be able to buy one of the kind arts and crafts by me (Alexandra Cook aka Linandara) and few other artists/makers. Paintings, drawings, greeting cards, local souvenirs and original folk art from various countries. Little unique things for your and your home. You also can commission many types of artwork here. Prices will be affordable, everybody are welcome.
I plan to run parallel offline and online shops so it is not a problem if you live far away.
Please come and visit us starting Tuesday – especially if you like original art and crafts, creativity, bohemian living, humanist ideals, tribal, fantasy, hippie, gypsy, folk, ethnic styles.