All Ukrainians, Belarusians, Poles, Balts, all those who know this eastern part of the European continent have been saying this and repeating it for two months. Vladimir Putin has contributed more to Ukrainian nationalism than any leader in Kyiv in the past 50 years. Even eastern Ukraine. Even among Russian speakers, like President Zelensky himself. The violence of the Russian invasion is so incomprehensible that the Ukrainian language has become a norm.
Two sides of nationalism
As spectators a little geographically distant, before our eyes are two sides of nationalism. The destructive face of Russian imperialism, it has never been imbued with violence over its neighbors. Despite eleven time zones, the Russian space still seems too narrow for its rulers, while the lack of liberties is very glaring inside.
On the other hand, the love of the Ukrainian homeland of all ages shakes our consciences. As if we were seeing some kind of Risorgimento Ukrainian, to use the term devoted to describing the Italian national movement of the nineteenth centuryAnd a century. It is the face of the nation as a liberating force and a lever to bring down tyranny or invaders. or both.
Underground rivers in Europe
Giuseppe Verdi surely found inspiration in the flood of photos that come to us from Kyiv, Mariupol, Lviv. At the beginning of March, the Odessa opera choir, defying bombs, gave a moving performance on the square of the city theater. By singing the song of the supporters that the Ukrainian anthem reached, as well as by singing, specifically, the famous Go Pensiero The Nabucco by Verdi. A symbol of the relentless pursuit of freedom.
It would be wrong to think of it as just a musical wink. The European continent is inhabited by few underground rivers, regardless of the course of the border. Rivers that carry history, sometimes shine in search of freedom, sometimes very heavy, in this or that country. Ukraine is one of them. Torn by several empires, tainted by some of the most horrific pages of the Holocaust, still marked today by the stains of communism.
A beautiful book has just been released that explores these underground rivers of the ancient continent. it’s called grand tour (1), Quoted from the seventeenth expression dedicatedAnd in the nineteenthAnd A century to describe the tour of Europe for the wealthy classes, as an initial training in European culture. Twenty-seven European writers, like many EU member states, tell what excites Europe in their country. Sometimes the drama, sometimes the public spaces, the geography, the culture.
“Technically, Ukraine is not part of the Grand Tour, but spiritually and symbolically, Ukraine belongs to Europe, Olivier Guise who edited this book thinks. Its history in XXAnd European century. In the heart of the « Blood Land », it suffered terribly from Nazi and Communist tyranny. It was invaded by Putin’s Russia because it was on its way to Europe, to its liberal and democratic values. »
Europe’s excessive accounting has made us lose sight of the flesh of a common history. “The courage of the Ukrainians is a lesson for all of us. It reminds us of the fundamental values of the European Union and the opportunity to live on a whole free continent regulated by law.”
(1) Olivier Guise, grand tour, Grass, 2022