His Beatitude Lubomyr (Husar): “Let us remember who we are and let us not be fooled”

Sunday, 15 December 2013, 19:52
The conversation with the ex-head of the Ukrainian Greek-Catholic Church, His Beatitude Lubomyr took place during disturbing times: mass protests, detainment of activists and the absence of a constructive dialogue between the conflicting sides. Ukrainians went to the Maidan to express their positions and to assert their rights. His Beatitude Lubomyr tried to explain what are the primary reasons for such a frame of mind as well as what possible exit from the situation is at hand.

Conflict in itself is not a bad occurrence and its aftermath can also be constructive.  However, in society there more often appear anxiety-provoking signals, meaning the radicalization of tempers, thoughts about the use of force in resolving the conflict.  How should we act in this situation?

I am not surprised that people think of violence, about forced solutions – it’s totally natural.  However, what people yearn for is not immediately attainable, but demands a solid upbringing, a spiritual balance.  Conflicts in themselves are not bad – they are an opportunity to grow, to develop.  Similarly as is spiritual life there is a temptation.  The temptation is an opportunity to grow, to overcome oneself.  One should look at the situation with calm eyes in order to see what is bad and how it can be remedied.  In correcting it, we grow.

Very many people, unfortunately, react emotionally, without thought, instinctively, and this is dangerous.  In this one can see the lack of a solid social upbringing.  But this upbringing needs time.  Today we have ended up in a tense situation, and a segment of the people (hard to say what percentage) reacts very emotionally, radically.  One should not be too surprised by that, because when something pains a person, when the person perceives some injustice, the person reacts more radically.  If they beat up totally innocent people, including children, and there was blood shed – it is totally natural that the people react spontaneously and sharply.  It is unreasonable to expect that all people would be judicious and calm.  Maybe this is not the best because this lack of spontaneity does not show how a person really reacts to, perceives and feels an injustice.

Are those efforts which are going on today, namely the blocking of government buildings, boycotting businesses, people who are connected to the government, are correct?

One can theorize about this.  On the one hand, theoretically the people should not do this if the authorities were normal.  But the authorities are not, so to say, normal: they do not behave as they should; therefore it is not surprising that people react in such a way.  The people took over some of the authorities’ buildings – I am not praising this, but I can understand this.  People want to remind the authorities that they are not almighty, and that the authorities should pay attention to the fact, that if it will enrage the public, then the people will answer with the same.

There is a somewhat similar situation in Thailand – although there much worse things are going on… there also the people take over the buildings of the ministry and other buildings in a dramatic way.  Therefore, the fact that here people have taken over those several buildings, I repeat that I do not approve this, but I also do not strongly condemn it; in this way the people want to show that they are not content with what is going in terms of the behavior of the authorities and therefore it is the authorities themselves who evoke such a reaction.

The way in which the militia Berkut acts, is really the repercussion of the actions of this government.  It is no answer to the real disturbances or abuse: they beat people because they are told to beat people, and they act very badly towards the people.  What I hear on the radio is that the militia, which should be a law enforcing body guaranteeing people their rights uses these people, beats them up. But they are doing it under someone’s orders.  That militia does not have a conscience.  They always justify it by stating that they followed orders, but I remember the orders of Gestapo when later, after the war, they were taken to court where they justified themselves by saying that they were following orders, but they were all sentenced.  A person has the right to disobey an unjust command.  Moreover, one has to remember to who do these people give their oath: they do not give their oath to the authorities but they give their oath to the people and should defend these people, protect and safeguard them.  And when such an order is given, someone should be brave enough to say: sorry, I will not follow this commend, if you want to, shoot me, but I will not follow such an order.  If only people had a conscience…   I remember the 80s in Poland and Solidarity and who actually served in the militia.  There were such units of militia in which they enrolled people who had no moral feeling -- with a low, so to say, intellectual level and they acted according to their nature.  If the authorities act correctly, then they have a right to punish but it has to act in such a way in order not to irritate people.   But they hit left and right, even those already hurt.  The doctors in the hospitals act improperly, unprofessionally.  In these situations it is not surprising that the people respond in the same manner.  Unfortunately, that is what happens and one cannot be happy about it.

Your Beatitude, you have probably heard about the petition “Assignment 5/12” in which the cultural elite of the country expressed their postulates and requests, namely the freeing of the political prisoners, the cessation of violence towards peaceful demonstrators and the guarantee of not applying repressions to the participants of the demonstrations.

Absolutely correct, it is a very good initiative.  One cannot shut one’s eyes to what the authorities are doing, especially if the authorities do not act normally according to the rules of humanity – they should be held responsible for what they do.  One should talk loudly about this, about how they act -- therefore they should not be surprised that such excesses take place because this is the voice of the people.  I think that the fact that they have taken one or another building is really very minor.   The authorities should thank the Lord that the people are acting in such a manner.  I would not be surprised if they were fighting left and right.  I am not saying that I would wish it or suggest it, but I would not be surprised because I know from the history of other peoples, how they can react.  In comparison, our people are acting very delicately.

Maybe this is also the strength of the people?

A spiritual strength because in the end the people remain spiritually strong while authorities crumble if they are not worthy of their human calling – they disappear and it is good that they disappear.  Some criticize our people that they are too mild, that they are not decisive in their answers.  I think this does honor to our people, that they can sense that they should not act over the limit.

 We can often hear that the events which are transpiring are not only a battle against authorities but that it is also a spiritual battle between good and evil.

Don’t be surprised.  Since we are the inheritors of the Soviet Union, that bolshevik mentality, this really is a battle between good and evil.  The people were raised a certain way and therefore I am not surprised by the militia Berkut or the representatives of the government – they were raised in this manner and they know nothing else.  Maybe someone stopped, realized, understood, but all will not act in this manner, they act as they were taught.  This is an issue of re-education.  Some have wonderfully phenomenally rethought and understand their dignity, the dignity of other people and today acts in an exemplary fashion.  However, it is probably too complicated for everyone to do so.

Maybe this is a process of maturing?

You know, I think it is a demographic issueBy virtue of nature, this generation will sooner or later disappear. I would very much like that all would change – that would be ideal, but unfortunately, that is not the way things happen in life.  But the fact that this generation has grown up and acts in this manner is not only the fault of these people: they were raised in this way, they know nothing else.  Therefore I do not judge anyone.  I am just stating a fact.  There are many people who, unfortunately, will not change: they make no effort in order to change or to correct themselves and the only solution is a demographic one:  there will come a time and they will disappear and a new generation will mature, who did not know that evil, and I expect a better generation if we ensure that it grows up in a better environment.

More often we hear voices which talk about the break-up of the country, possible scenario of federalization. How should we react to this?

That is not an easy question.  I think that to a large degree it is sociological and psychological.  It is also the question how to re-educate people.  There exist geo-political issues when one country wants to rule another country, for example, with the assistance of armed action, however there are also other ways:  to lie, to slander, to deceive, to teach falsehood, to deny history, culture, language, so that these people can be reduced to nothing, so that they stop being themselves, so that they become indifferent to where they are and with whom. It is important for the one who stands behind this, the one who directs this process.  This is a known fact of history.  We also have the following examples: we know how textbooks are printed here, that information disappears about Kruty and many other events (these fragments are simply taken out of books, saying this instigates the people, but the real goal of this is to make people “half-wits”) so that people do not know their own history, so that the only important thing for them is to have bread and sausage on the table. Unfortunately, these tendencies exist among us.

And with what can we counteract this?   We have to be conscious who we are.  Soon it will be the 200th anniversary of the birth of Shevchenko.  To those who come to me, I tell them to read and quote Shevchenko.  We often talk about national identity.  I suspect there is no one better than Shevchenko among our writers who, in fact, in a very beautiful poetic way reminds us of who we are. 

Let us remember who we are and not be fooled.  We have to react primarily through the assistance of culture – here we do not need weapons, here we need education, knowledge of culture, quiet everyday work so that it becomes part of our life – to possess the consciousness that this is my Motherland from which come my parents, and to bring up patriots.

Interview conducted by EuroMaidan activist, Anastasia Kinzerska, zaxid.net

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