by Phil Wilayto of the Odessa Solidarity Campaign
As we approach May 2, the fourth anniversary of the massacre of scores of progressive activists by a fascist-led mob in Odessa, Ukraine, neo-Nazi forces are again mobilizing for violence. They are calling for a march to Kulikovo Square, the scene of the massacre, where families of those who were murdered on May 2, 2014, will gather to remember their dead and renew their call for justice.
But also on May 2, solidarity actions will be held in at least 21 cities in 14 countries to stand with the people of Odessa and demand that those responsible for the massacre be held accountable for their crimes. (See https://odessasolidaritycampaign.org)
The Odessa Solidarity Campaign of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC) is appealing to all UNAC members and allies to hold a modest solidarity action on May 2. The size of the event is not important – what matters is that events are held in as many cities as possible.
SUGGESTIONS FOR A SOLIDARITY EVENT
As few as two or three people could go to a prominent place in your city, such as a federal building or well-known local site, and hold a sign that says “Solidarity with Odessa!” Holding a single red carnation has become a symbol of solidarity, as has releasing black balloons, which is what Odessans do at their May 2 memorials.
Then take a photo of your event and send it to the Odessa Solidarity Campaign (DefendersFJE(at)hotmail.com) and also Prague Spring 2 in Europe (https://solidaritywithodessa.wordpress.com), which also has been encouraging local actions.
Below are suggestions for signs and an OSC statement that can be read at the events, explaining the background to the May 2 massacre.
Again, the size of the gathering is not important, or even how long it lasts. The important thing is that solidarity is shown in as many cities and countries as possible. This will mean a great deal to the people of Odessa, and will let the governments of Ukraine and the U.S. know that this struggle for justice is not going away.
With Hope for a World of Justice & Peace for All,
SLOGANS FOR POSTERS:
- Justice for the victims of the May 2 massacre in Odessa, Ukraine!
- Solidarity with the victims of fascism in Odessa!
- Odessa, we are with you!
- U.S., EU, NATO & IMF out of Ukraine!
- No to fascism, from Charlottesville to Odessa!
STATEMENT TO READ AT SOLIDARITY EVENTS:
——— M A Y 2 ———
International Solidarity with the People of Odessa!
On May 2, 2014, the people of Odessa, Ukraine, experienced the worst civil atrocity in Europe since World War II. Scores of people died when a fascist-led mob chased a group of progressive activists into the five-story House of Trade Unions in Kulikovo Square – and then set it on fire. Some died from the flames, some from smoke inhalation, some from gunshot wounds. Some leapt from the building, only to be beaten to death when they hit the ground. Dozens of cellphone videos posted on the Internet clearly show that this was a mass lynching. Just google “May 2, 2014, Odessa.”
But even though many of the attackers’ faces are clearly visible on the videos, to date not one of the perpetrators has been brought to justice – while victims who survived the fire still languish in prison, many without ever being charged with a crime.
BACKGROUND TO THE MASSACRE
The winter of 2013-14 in Ukraine’s capital city of Kiev saw escalating protests against President Viktor Yanukovych, who was accused of corruption and anti-democratic practices. He also favored strengthening trade relations with Russia, while the parliament, or Rada, wanted a trade deal with the European Union. The initially peaceful protests on a large city square, or “maidan,” were soon taken over by extreme right-wing paramilitary organizations, leading to violence and the overthrow of the president. Today Ukraine is run by a right-wing government that openly works with neo-Nazi organizations to suppress dissent. Those who supported the coup are called Maidan. Those who opposed it are known as anti-Maidan. In Odessa, the anti-Maidan activists started a petitioning campaign to allow local provinces to elect their own governors, hoping this would provide some protection from the increasingly reactionary central government. It was this simple demand that infuriated the fascists, leading to the massacre of May 2.
ROLE OF THE US, EU, NATO & IMF
After the coup, then-U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs Victoria Nuland openly bragged that the U.S. had spent $5 billion cultivating “civic” organizations in Ukraine. During the Maidan protests she was even seen handing out pastries to the protesters. She also was caught on tape deciding with the U.S. ambassador to Ukraine who should be the country’s next president!
Today Ukraine is a country in crisis – economically, politically and socially. Its leadership is desperate to join the European Union. But first it has to submit to “structural reforms” demanded by the International Monetary Fund (IMF): privatization of state-owned industries, deregulation of businesses and deep cutbacks in social services – including raising the age at which workers can collect their meager pensions. Ukraine also wants to join NATO, which would give that military alliance a new member with a 1,200-mile land border with Russia. Meanwhile, Ukraine receives massive military aid and training from the U.S. and other NATO countries and conducts regular joint air, sea and land exercises with the U.S. military.
TODAY IN ODESSA
Despite the hostility of a right-wing government and the openly fascist forces that support it, the people of Odessa continue to regularly gather at the site of the May 2 massacre and demand justice. This May 2 they are holding another mass gathering – even though the fascists have called for a march on their memorial. This is why solidarity events are being carried out in so many countries today. Together we can raise our voices and say to the world:Solidarity with the People of Odessa!
Justice for the Victims of the Massacre of May 2!
US, EU, NATO & IMF out of Ukraine!
No to Fascism – from Charlottesville to Odessa!
This statement is issued by the Odessa Solidarity Campaign, which works in support of the Council of Mothers of May 2 in Odessa. The OSC is a project of the United National Antiwar Coalition (UNAC). For more information, visit us at: