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BBC’s controversial documentary on hate for UEFA EuroCup in Poland and Ukraine

May 31st, 2012 3 comments

Episode image for Euro 2012: Stadiums of HateLast Monday the BBC’s documentary show ‘Panorama’ aired ‘Stadiums of hate’ showcasing discrimination and violence in Poland and Ukraine as they prepare to host the UEFO EuroCup with a strong message: Don’t travel there to see the tournament, especially if you’re a visible minority. Since the airing, many groups have taken issue with the documentary, claiming it too sensationalistic by focusing on fringe groups that are in a minority.

Here’s the documentary in full:

(Here’s a backup link in case the first no longer works)

Rogers visits a stadium in Lodz, Poland, where supporters known as “Ultras” abuse the opposition with chants like “Jewish whore” and “Hey, hey, who’s not jumping is a Jew.”

Then he goes to Warsaw, where a white supremacist group known as “White Power” has formed around one of the city’s biggest clubs. They flash supremacist symbols at matches and break out in fights with opposition and police.

And that’s just Poland. While in Ukraine, Rogers witnesses monkey chants at black players and supporters… and police present at the match don’t do a thing about it.

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But many criticisms of the documentary have appeared about the way the BBC looked to sensationalize this story by not interviewing experts or showing relevant statistics:

There were reports the BBC allegedly did not use material, such as a police statement and statistics which are said to not support the claims made in the programme.Aviram Baruchyam, a Jewish midfielder of Polonia Warsaw, allegedly admitted that he never had a problem with Poles and their behaviour towards him, but this did not feature in final cut.

Why did they not interview Jewish footballer Maor Melikson, a fans favorite, who plays on the wing for Wisla Krakow? The same goes for Saidi Ntibazonkiza, Burundian striker of similar position to Melikson, but on the other side of Blonie park, at Cracovia.

The BBC did not include statistics which reveal that over the last three years, out of 460,000 British visitors not even one have reported a racist incident in Poland.

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Ukraine’s Foreign Ministry has responded to the video, demanding an apology:

"I believe BBC must apologize for this film, which portrays Ukraine and Poland as countries of hatred and racism. BBC has edited a whole film from single pictures and drawn wrong conclusions," the official (Oleh Volosyn) said.

Voloshyn also noted that the issue of racism had not been discussed at the official level. On the contrary, Ukrainian officials have considered measures to secure Ukrainians from British fans, known for their aggression and racist moods, he added.

According to the official, the given series of episodes may be a deliberate provocation, initiated by British football clubs’ representatives, who want to keep ‘big football’ within the Western Europe.

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As well Poland’s Foreign office has responded to the video:

“One could not find there the statements of foreign experts regarding the field of security,” Bosacki said.

“No one turned to the foreign ministry, or the Polish Police,” he said.

Similarly, Bosacki rejected England player Sol Campbell’s claim that black football fans “could come back in a coffin” if they attend the tournament.

Meanwhile, PL.2012, the official Polish body charged with organising the event, has invited Mr Campbell to Poland.

“We have invited Sol Campbell to come to the European Championships, so that he csn get to know our country, and then he will be fully entitled to express opinions about Poland,” said Mikolaj Piotrowski, communications director for Pl.2012.

Prime Minister Donald Tusk has already pledged that “nobody who comes to Poland will be in any danger because of their race.”

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Soccer star Andriy Shevchenko also came out to defend Ukraine:

"We don’t have a real problem here about racism.” Shevchenko told the BBC.
"The country’s very quiet and people are very friendly.
Campbell claimed that Uefa should have researched the threat thoroughly before sanctioning Poland and Ukraine as hosts of such an important tournament.

But Shevchenko believes that Euro 2012 will pass without any such incidents.
"I know the country did everything to make this competition very good," he continued.
"I know how much work the country tried to do: airports, in streets, stadium in the last five years.
"We never have heard problems about racism."
Former Arsenal player Oleg Luzhny, who has represented Ukraine 52 times, supported counterpart Shevchenko’s comments.
"No, no, no, I never heard about this. We have Nigerian players…and I never heard about racism," Luzhny added.

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I would recommend giving the video a watch and decide for yourselves.

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Carassauga 2012 this weekend!

May 24th, 2012 No comments
Carassauga Festival

Another year, another Carassauga showcasing the tastes and sights and sounds of multiculturalism in Mississauga. The award-winning Ukrainian pavilion will be out in full force this weekend:

Carassauga – May 25-27, 2012

Address: St. Mary’s Dormition of the Mother of God Ukrainian Catholic Church – 3265 Cawthra Rd, Mississauga.

Friday, May 25: 7:30pm – Midnight
Saturday, May 26: 12:30pm – Midnight
Sunday, May 27: 1pm – 7pm

Tickets: $10 advance/$12 at door

Free shuttle buses to all the different pavilions.

The full itinerary for the Ukrainian pavilion can be found here.

We’ve covered the past 4 Carassaugas in a row, with lots of photos: 2011, 2010, 2009 and 2008!

 


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The long-lost CBC documentary – Ukrainian-Canadians: A Time to Remember

May 16th, 2012 2 comments

In 1988 the CBC produced a great documentary exploring the history of Ukraine, its culture and its politics as it reached across to Canada through 100 years of immigration. It covers the origins of Ukrainian nationalism, the waves of immigration to Canada and their challenges, and even looking forward as to what it means to be a Canadian of Ukrainian descent – before the collapse of the Soviet Union! It was produced in commemoration of 1,000 years of Christianity in Ukraine and I highly recommend a watch, if for anything the 80’s hair-do’s and aviator glasses Smile:

[Ukrainian-Canadians: A Time to Remember]

Please keep in mind this off a VHS tape, so the quality isn’t as great as the videos nowadays. I just happened to stumble across this video at the library, and I couldn’t find any more information about it online, and had never heard about it before. It has no DVD version that I’m aware of, and is not on the CBC Archives site.

As the government dismantles their libraries , and the CBC abandons their music archives, along with the transition to digital, I wonder how many great Ukrainian works will be lost to time? It’s happened to civilizations before us.

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Book Review: Ukrainian Dance–A cross-cultural approach

May 5th, 2012 No comments

Professor Andriy Nahachewsky of the University of Alberta chronicles Ukrainian dance across borders and time in his new book Ukrainian Dance – A cross-cultural approach, analyzing traditional village culture as it expresses national identity as a an art form.

Ukrainian dance is a vibrate, colorful and full of high energy with a European style that has survived the Iron curtain with strong symbolic connection to its peasantry as a living heritage.

The book delves into Ukrainian dance and folk in general, how it is similar yet varied across countries and highlights the differences in dance between western and eastern Ukraine, skilled and unskilled, male and female, old and young, rich and poor. It challenges many previous elite Western theatrical traditions that would usually only dedicate a small chapter to such an antiquated and ‘crude’ art form.

The book identifies Ukrainian dance into two key characteristics: its legacy of peasant tradition and experience of the moment (vival dance) and the power of diverse stage dances  connecting with the past as heritage (reflective dance). Reflective dances are broken down in the book into national dance, recreational, education and spectacular.

Readers should be aware that is not attempt to chronicle a history of Ukrainian dance, you won’t find much illustration or instruction to help you identify particular dances at functions or educate you on their histories, but rather it surveys approaches to dancing, to identify important trends and explain change.

The book’s cross-cultural approach also shows how Ukrainian cultural is a larger part of ‘Western culture’, including significance of romantic nationalism, secularization, folk revivals,  as well as many non-Ukrainian examples.

Ukrainian Dance–A cross-cultural approach is available at local retailers and online at Chapters, Amazon, Google Books and Barnes and Noble.

Professor Andriy Nahachewsky is the Director of the Kule Centre for Ukrainian and Canadian folklore, with a Masters degree of fine art in dance who has studied in Ukraine and elsewhere in Europe for the past 40 years.

The book launches this Tuesday, May 8, 2012: 7PM at the UNF Hall at 145 Evans Ave. The author will give a brief talk, followed by Q&A. Books available for sale and autograph. Light refreshments.


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