We can understand the motto for 2009 in many ways.
If we take for an example the anniversary dates that we will be marking this year, we can see that the central theme has to do with some kind of struggle and aspiration to a higher ideal. For example the life of Stepan Bandera – his life long struggle to achieve an independent Ukraine; Ivan Kotljarevskyj and his struggle for the recognition of the Ukrainian language as a literary language worthy of writing various genres of literature; Symon Petrlura’s struggle to maintain Ukrainian independence in 1919 and early 1920s. One wonders what the situation would be like today had Bandera not believed so fervently in his nation, for which he spent his adult life defying all odds to ensure its independence. In this, his desire for an independent Ukraine and his belief in its possibility was so strong that he was ready at any moment to lay down his life to achieve it. What kind of literature and language would we have today had Kotljarevkyi not been determined to write his works in contemporary Ukrainian? Which language would we be using today to write literary works had Kotljarevskyi not fought to use Ukrainian as a literary language?
In this year – 2009, we mark the 100th anniversary of the birth and the 50th anniversary of the tragic death of a great Ukrainian revolutionary and champion – Stepan Bandera. Bandera’s strong faith in God and his love for his nation were forged in his home and grew in strength, making the desire for an independent state to become his life’s goal. Perhaps the best way to sum up Bandera is with this excerpt from Ivan Franko’s poem Moses (Mojsej).
All that he had in life, he gave back
For his single idea.
He burned, and glowed and suffered,
And struggled for it.
In our own lives, we are faced with choices. We can give in when we encounter life’s roadblocks or we can use our intellects, education and experience as well as our personal self discipline to overcome the difficulties we encounter to attain our goals. Fighting does not always mean a physical struggle or bearing arms. You can also fight for what you believe in by looking for a way to achieve the goal by using your hereditary or honed skills, education, belief in God, and belief in your own abilities.
In CYM’s articulated values and principles statements, it is written that knowledge and spirituality are our strength and weapons. Gaining knowledge, we strengthen our spirituality and formulate our world view and our life’s goals. We also acquire knowledge through our own experiences (Pravyl’nyk, pg. 9). Our motto for this year then can be interpreted as us not succumbing to difficulties and roadblocks, but rather continually work at improving ourselves and with using that to contribute to our community.
The purpose of focusing on anniversary dates is to highlight the significant historical figures and dates in order to remember our past, understand the context of those events and people and, when necessary, to defend the honour of Ukraine. The anniversaries give us an opportunity to remember these historical figures and their accomplishments, the exemplary individuals who reflect the characteristics that we are trying to instil in our youth. We choose anniversary dates not only from the vyzvol’ni zmanhannia era but we also try and identify dates that are examples of critical moments in the history of our nation and which demonstrate and support the values and principles of our organization. We hope that vykhovnyky will provide this perspective to the youth in their roji, giving CYM youth information, knowledge and experience that will contribute to their personal growth, for the betterment of CYM and the Ukrainian nation.
Head of Vykhovna Rada