On March 9 in Donetsk, the Communist Union of Donbass and Workers’ Party of Donbass held a rally in honor of the birth of Ukrainian poet TG Shevchenko, under the slogan “Shevchenko was not a nationalist.” Activists remembered the poet’s verses devoted to problems of social inequality, militarism and national oppression.
|Photos: Communist Union of Donbass|
A student summarized the event at the monument to Taras Shevchenko:
“It’s no secret that modern bourgeois propaganda actively and shamelessly exploits the image of Taras Shevchenko. He’s packaged as a nationalist, fanatical supporter of the Orthodox faith and militant traditionalist. The poet’s words are ruthlessly twisted and his verses are pulled out of context in order to show that all the dreams of Shevchenko have been achieved in modern ‘independent’ Ukraine.
“The writer’s birthday is a great opportunity to remind people that Taras Shevchenko was, above all, a poet-revolutionary who denounced all the ugliness of class society in his works, and a fighter against social and national oppression. Exploiters, Ukrainian by birth, were to him no better than the oppressors of other nationalities. Shevchenko could present satisfaction with his country in only one case: ‘Якби не осталось сліду панського в Украйні’:
Царями сіянеє жито!
А люде виростуть. Умруть
Ще незачатиє царята…
І на оновленій землі
Врага не буде, супостата,
А буде син, і буде мати,
І будуть люде на землі.*”
*Translator’s note: The poem expresses hope for the freedom of common people and an end to the rule of kings and landlords through the abolition of serfdom. I was unable to find an English translation or make an adequate one myself. If you find an English translation, please let me know.
Translated by Greg Butterfield