Ever since 2004, Ukraine became known to the world not only for the tragedy in Chernobyl, or heavy weight champions boxers Brothers Klitschko. In 2004, Ukraine underwent a first wave of massive riots in downtown Kiev, where thousands of people decided to camp out on the main square demanding fair elections of the new President. Almost ten years later, a new wave of protests would spread around the country in less than two month. Everything started with this amazing, yet dangerous, social phenomenon – Maidan.
I happened to have a friend who actually was a part of this movement. She spent countless days and night at Maidan, helping to prepare food, or just hanging out. It certainly was dangerous to be threre, but she was very brave and wanted to make a differece, to be a part of ‘making a new history’. I asked her about social aspect of everyday life at Maidan, and this is what she shared with me:
Maria Dudka, “I will try to write neatly…
Anyways, you certainly know about our culture, about how our people like to throw trash everywhere, to spit on the ground, and to be disrespectful towards other people. It not the case for every single individual, yet it’s quite common.
Ever since Maidan started big time, everything has changed. The closer you would get to Maidan, the more culturally pleasant people would behave themselves.
One can definitely say that society underwent some major social changes. We still have a lot to learn, but now, at least, we have a strong foundation. A huge step towards a better future was made. And everything started with such a small thing as a simple student riot in downtown Kiev.
Now, the phrase “Glory to Ukraine” makes so much sense, so much hope and soul; you can feel it in the air. I wouldn’t even think of something like that a year ago.
Maidan is truly a state within the state. Here people have their own rules and laws. Once can’t consume alcohol, or it is suggested not come empty-handed. Not for someone won’t let you through, but because you naturally have a feeling to give something back to this community.
In terms of foods, people would usually bring sandwiches or meats and cheeses for sandwiches. Young girls would bring homemade cookies, but only when there is no shooting or fights with a riot police. People also bring fruits and vegetables, bread, meat, they bring everything!
Maidan itself has a fulltime kitchen! People cook everything from soup to pot roast. It’s not as good as at home, but it definitely has a sweet taste of freedom! When there is no time for cooking people would just drop off homemade sandwiches and pots with hot tea. The bravest fighters would refuse to eat anything, probably, because of the adrenaline rush. But it’s a different story…”