Global Voices – Anastasiya Blazhko from Ukraine

[This text is part of a series of essays that were sent to us by young writers from across the globe on how they see Europe and its future. More essays will be published over time.]

“So powerful is the light of unity that it can illuminate the whole earth” -Baha’u’llah

      If [a] human being completely unfamiliar with world history looked at the way Europe is functioning today he would probably be more than a little confused. How could it happen that [in] such a small territory, so many unique, independent nationalities somehow appeared? And with worldviews and traditions that are so different from each other, how were they able to unite under one flag in the name of peace and Human Rights protection?

I grew up in the country that has the most controversial position in the European arena. Ukraine is often [referred to as] the bridge between the European world and the post-Soviet states. Our country has been trying to create a new vision of Ukraine in order to bring back the values of our European past and transform the “not-so-great” experience we had with [the] communist government. Not having a clear vision of the future we want to live in is the main problem of the people of our nation. Most of them, especially elderly people, are still living in the past, forgetting the present.

In 2014 during the Revolution of Dignity, the people of our nation finally decided whether they wanted to [be] a Western border of the post-Soviet community or [to be] one of the European nations. This year I [got] the chance to study at the Ukrainian Leadership Academy, a project that [aims] at creating a new generation of leaders who will be able to bring our country to a whole new level of development and [improve the] quality of human life. The main idea of this project is that every choice you make should be supported by the values you believe in. And I guess [that] is my main point here: We can only talk about our future in 30 years, if we believe that we will be able to get there.

I don’t believe that in our globalized world we can talk about [the] scenarios of different countries separately. For the past 50 years, thanks to the invention of television and the internet, we became so united that we [now] move forward as one organism. [This] means that it’s up to each one of us [to decide] how our countries are going to communicate in the future.

The main challenge [that the] European community [is facing] today is finding the balance between democratic and traditional values. Changes can often seem scary, especially for us Europeans, who tend to be conservative about certain things. If it is accepted by people that [global] issues are not just [a certain] “world’s” concerns anymore we will be able to move to the next step of human progress. [For some reason] the natural greediness and the non-acceptance of people with other religious beliefs [result in the creation of] a great war on our way there.

Even though Europe [as a whole] was built [upon] Christian values it can’t stay [purely] Christian anymore. We can’t just close our eyes on the events that are happening outside [of] Europe.

I dream to see [a] future [version of] Europe [which is a] union of countries that focus[ses] first of all on [the] human itself [and] that put[s] all stereotypes [in] the far background. It is easy to shut yourself in your house not seeing the fire at your neighbor’s house but we shouldn’t forget that fire tend[s] to spread really fast. Only together Europe can be strong. Our open hearts should be [the] main weapon to defeat our main enemy: Indifference.
I want to finish with a famous quote by Winston Churchill: “We hope to see a Europe where men of every country will think of being a European as of belonging to their native land, and…wherever they go in this wide domain…will truly feel, ‘Here I am at home.”

Anastasiya Blazhko from Ukraine

20/4 2017

[edits: Louise Roesen Abildgaard]

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