I’m not planning on watching Eurovision this year, but seeing as it’s Eurovision weekend (as well as election weekend in Australia!), here’s the best performance in the whole history of the competition: Ukraine’s Verka Serduchka in 2007.
The event took place in Helsinki, Finland that year, and I was actually in the cityi with my brother at the time. We are in the footage they broadcast from the city’s main square.
Today is International Dance Day, so please enjoy this performance of the Hopak, the national dance of Ukraine. Most people have seen these steps, these big jumps, and these costumes, but few realise they’re Ukrainian (those baggy trousers and the headdresses with the ribbons are distinctive Ukrainian national clothes, and not worn by Russians). It’s what most people would probably call “Cossack dancing”.
The fact it’s from a telecast on Russia-1, a television station that now dishes up anti-Ukrainian Kremlin propaganda day in and day out, is not lost on me!
Yes, those aren’t pysanky in the bowl, but at least the embroidery comes from Ukraine!
Filed under Home, Ukraine
Historical film Mr Jones – about a Welsh journalist who risked his life to tell the truth about Stalin’s 1930s genocide in Ukraine – is out this month, beginning with a premiere at the Berlin Film Festival.
Unlike the Holocaust, the Kremlin’s forced famine genocide – known as the Holodomor – escaped the world’s notice mostly because Western journalists, many of them advocates of communism, spent decades denying it.
Conservative estimates of the death toll put it on par with the Holocaust, while others place the numbers much higher; up to ten-million Ukrainians killed between 1932 and 1933. The numbers vary so much because, unlike the Germans who documented every aspect of the Holocaust, the Russian authorities have done everything in their power to hide their crimes.
(It should be noted that the Kremlin committed another genocide in Kazakhstan at the same time, killing 42% of the population.)
Gareth Jones, played in the movie by English actor James Norton, saw the Holodomor firsthand, and went against the lead of Stalin-friendly journalists like The New York Times’ Walter Duranty to try and get the truth out beyond the Iron Curtain.
He was only twenty-nine when he was murdered, one day shy of his thirtieth birthday.
This film seems incredibly important in this day and age, with people once again reacting to rising fascism by identifying as communists and sympathising with Russia. As this Variety article points out, we live in a similar age as the 1930s, with propaganda and “fake news” dominating much of the press, and most of the world turning a blind eye to atrocities being committed by the Kremlin, and by the regimes in countries like Syria.
We visited the Rome exhibition at the National Museum of Australia on Sunday afternoon (a tip: go late in the day and you won’t have to wait in a queue for an hour – but there’ll be some fingerprints on all the glass cabinets!).
Here are a few more shots:
The entrance (with me!).
The Emperor Augustus, who looks suspiciously like Vladimir Putin!
And I was SO happy to see they’d labelled Crimea as Ukraine, despite what Russia is currently up to.
We made ninety-five varenyky this afternoon, for Ukrainian Christmas Eve tomorrow. Here are some of them:
Filed under Food, Home, Ukraine