“Thinking with Ukraine:” Western Thinkers Gather in Kiev
Original article by Shimon Briman of the Forum Daily
Translated by Eitan Divinsky
“We’re arrived in Kiev to tell Ukraine ‘You’re not alone! The West supports Ukraine in its fight for independence and a better future,” stated Leon Wieseltier, editor of the influential American magazine New Republic. His words may be seen as the main theme of an international forum “Ukraine: Thinking Together,” which was held from May 15-19th in Ukraine’s capital.
Leading philosophers, political scientists, historians, journalists and human rights activists from France, Germany, Czech Republic, Poland, Canada and the U.S. gathered in Kiev to discuss the effects of the latest events in Ukraine on the future of Europe and the entire world. Russian aggression against Ukraine, including the occupation of Crimea, the propaganda campaign of Russian media outlets, and Moscow’s support for pro-Russian separatists were analyzed.
Renowned French philosopher Bernard-Henri Levy, who visited Kiev to support the anti-government protests at Maidan during the winter of 2014, stated that “The revolution in Ukraine breathed new energy into the very idea of ‘Europeanism.’ By protesting against the corruption of the Russian regime and making sacrifices in the name of freedom, you’ve proven your loyalty to Europe.”
“The pluralist revolution in Ukraine became a shocking defeat for Moscow, which answered with an attack on European history. As Europeans are looking on with concern as Russian special units spread from Crimea to Donetsk and Lugansk, Vladimir Putin’s propagandists are making an attempt to pull Europe into a war in which the Russians are trying to prove that Ukraine and Ukrainians never existed,”—stated Timothy Snyder, professor of history at Yale and author of the book “Bloodlands: Europe Between Hitler and Stalin” at the forum.
“There’s no future for Ukraine without Europe, but Europe has no future without Ukraine,” was Professor Snyder’s conclusion. ”
A ghost is walking around the Kremlin—the ghost of Maidan. Putin saw former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak in prison and offered to join him there…Hence, his operation in Crimea. Putin will lead his regime to a catastrophe—and it will be very sad if he takes the entire Russian nation along with him,” said Adam Michnik, a well-known Polish thinker and one of the ideologists of the “Solidarity” movement, sharply criticizing Russia.
Special attention was given to the subject of Jewish question, including the problem of anti-Semitism and Russia playing the “Jewish card” in its anti-Ukraine propaganda campaign. Prof. Adrian Karatnycky, former president of Freedom House and Josef Zissels, head of the Ukrainian Board addressed this subject.
It’s worth noting that “Ukrainian Jewish Encounter” under the leadership of James Temerty was one of the leading partners and sponsors of the Kiev conference. Professor Wolf Moscowitz—leading specialist on Ukraine in Israel, and international member of the National Science Academy of Ukraine represented Israel in the conference.
The U.S., Canadian, E.U. and German embassies helped organize the conference, along with a number of European and American foundations. “Thinking with Ukraine” became a key intellectual forum where Western thinkers who help shape public opinion at home expressed their solidarity with and support for Ukraine, who’s currently facing one of the biggest crises in its national history.