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18.09.2007

Georgy Gongadze and other journalists remembered in Kyiv

   

For the third year in a row, a memorial action was held on the capital’s Maidan Nezalezhnosti [Independence Square] on 16 September, marking the day of Georgy Gongadze’s disappearance in 2000. It was once again an event organized not by political parties or civic organizations, but by ordinary individuals.  They were both those who had known Georgy personally and those who honour his memory and that of other journalists and their contribution to freedom of speech in Ukraine.

As we stressed here, all those attending were asked to refrain from any form of campaigning and to avoid party regalia.

From morning, two huge banners stood unfurled, one across Khreschatyk St reading “Ukraine, are you not ashamed?” and the other “Georgy, we haven’t forgotten you” with the silhouette image the whole world now knows. There were Ukrainian flags on each side of the banners with black ribbons.

Candles were also used to form the words “GIYA” [as his friends called Georgy] and “We haven’t forgotten”. 

There were no speakers, and no stage for public addresses. Those who wanted to address the gathering were politely told that this was not the occasion for such speeches. Any present who were equally politely asked to remove their party regalia did so without protest.

Against a background of solemn music, the story was recounted of the fates of those journalists who had not sold out but had dared to tell the truth and carry out their duty to inform their fellow citizens.

The names of all journalists killed were then read out. For each journalist a bell tolled and a person came out from behind the banner and placed a candle with a black band of mourning attached, with the name of the journalist etched in red letters.

This was followed by an account of Georgy Gongadze’s story and an excerpt from the television programme “Epicentre” from 1999 in which Georgy put questions to the then President Leonid Kuchma which are likely to have been the reason for his abduction and murder.

The gathering ended with seven minutes silence, to mark the number of years since Georgy Gongadze’s disappearance.

This year the organizers decided not to go to the President’s Secretariat or the Prosecutor General’s building since they see no political will or wish by those in power from any political shade to bring the investigation into Georgy Gongadze’s killing to its conclusion.

Therefore, as after his disappearance, it is the public who must save Ukraine’s reputation. It is they who must feel shame that this prominent case being followed by the whole world remains without conclusion. .

Based on an account from www.maidan.org.ua

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