LETTERS TO THE EDITOR
Kuropas' comments were xenophobic
It is with regret that I chanced upon the column by Dr. Myron B. Kuropas, who chose to use your pages to express his xenophobic, small-minded and non-factual views about the French.
I was raised in Quebec, speak fluent French and have traveled to France on several occasions, including my honeymoon, when in particular, my bride and I were made to feel most welcome. When I think of the French, I think not only of their affection for the film Taras Bulba, but also of the thousands of French people of direct Ukrainian descent, many of whom chose to stay in France after the last world war. My family is included in the ranks of the Ukrainian French. Dr. Kuropas should remember that when he maligns the French, he may also be maligning the family of his own Ukrainian American friends and neighbors.
Dr. Kuropas describes his impressions of the French children his elementary school hosted as "not very good." However, he fails to elaborate and prove his broad, sweeping judgments. As Ukrainians, it is incumbent upon us to show charity toward children of every nation.
In his effort to prove his point that the French are spineless, Dr. Kuropas blames the rise of the Soviet Union on the French Revolution. He forgets that French philosophy and culture guided in part the American founding fathers in the drafting of the U.S. Declaration of Independence. Dr. Kuropas lays the blame for Hitler's rise on the French, when the British and the Americans can also share in that blame.
If "when the Poles invaded Eastern Galicia, they did so with the support of the French," then by some twist of fate, millions of Ukrainians who found themselves to be living in Poland in between the two great wars can only be thankful that they were spared the Great Famine that devoured so many of our brethren living in the Soviet Union.
Interestingly enough, Dr. Kuropas seems to believe the British are allies who can do no wrong. The British, however, had no qualms about turning over any Ukrainian, prisoner of war or slave laborer, who came under their sphere of influence in Germany to the Soviets who either sent them directly to Siberia or shot them on the railway platforms in full view of the British officers responsible for their handover.
When my father first came to Canada and earned his sergeant's stripes in the Canadian Reserves at the Val Cartier base in Quebec, the English treated him as a second-class citizen because of his accent. The French Canadians welcomed him with open arms once they found out he was Ukrainian.
During the second world war, France committed a serious tactical error in putting all of its faith in the Maginot line. Nevertheless, the heroics of the resistance are well-documented. Many Frenchmen were shot or hanged at the hands of the Nazis.
Dr. Kuropas claims that Andre Gide hails Hitler as the "man of the hour." The text of Mr. Gide's quote shows that he was speaking with disdain toward those who would accept wealth at a human cost. Dr. Kuropas claims that the French had "no problem in rounding up Jews for Nazi extermination camps." Firstly, other nations were no better in this regard. Secondly, one would not dare now compare today's Germans to yesterday's Nazis. There were also millions of Ukrainians, Poles and Russians etc. who worked as slave laborers for the Nazis. The French did not go any more willingly than our Slavic brothers and sisters.
Finally and curiously, Dr. Kuropas descrihes the French as "treacherous" for not supporting the United States in the Anglo-American war to "liberate" Iraq. President George W. Bush declared that the war was about the disarmament of Iraq. No weapons of mass destruction or chemical weapons have been found.
If Dr. Kuropas believes that we should ignore the French, perhaps he should not have even bothered writing about them and wasting your newspaper's space with his racist and contradictory musings.
Use "Braveheart" to reawaken Ukraine
It is with expectation that I take advantage of your generous forum to propose a concept. As Taras Shevchenko mused we should learn from others. There have been a few attempts to reawaken Ukraine through cinematography, but I fear with only slight success. Maybe we should not reinvent the wheel. The double language reality in Ukraine, regardless of ideology, can be used advantageously in this art form.
While watching a rerun of "Braveheart," directed by Mel Gibson, I realize the plot is clear like Shev-chenko's and is as intriguing as Hohol's (Gogol's). It's good Hollywood blood and gore, excites our primal senses without loosing the message as in a vantguard interpretations. What did it help do, in the language of its enemy? It gave passion to a comfortable population to vote for home rule. Scotland today is no longer ruled by England even though they share the same monarchy.
Take the cinematography and music as is, simply translate with panache. All Scottish character's lines translate into Ukrainian, the English and self-seeking Scottish lords into Russian. Names of selected characters can, except where history dictates otherwise, reflect first names of politicians in a favorable or unfavorable light. The point will be unmistakable, the market large and the returns hopefully beneficial.
Just an idea for anyone with the expertise and financing. Go for it.
Copyright © The Ukrainian Weekly, August 3, 2003, No. 31, Vol. LXXI
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