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06.09.2008

Appeal from the Ukrainian Catholic University to Ukraine’s academic community

   

Dear Colleagues,

At this time Ukraine is experiencing new turmoil with a parliamentary crisis suddenly upon us again..

The first autumn days of the Verkhovna Rada’s work have demonstrated that Ukrainian politicians spent their summer holidays engaged in the favourite pastime of the Cossack elders – preparing treachery and conspiracies. As if they didn’t know how it all ended for those selfsame Cossack elders.

No side is without blame in this conflict. Each feels that they are the victim of the other’s treachery, despite the fact that they themselves also resort to dishonourable conspiring when it’s convenient.

The excitement of competition and the greed to hold the Hetman’s mace have totally blurred the horizon. How can one detect that national interests are being transformed merely into a blue and yellow ribbon used to wrap up a lush array of overt egoisms?

It may seem to some that such harsh words have an odd ring from an academic milieu. After all, they say, maintaining neutrality is the long-standing pragmatic wisdom which protected the management of Soviet institutes from doom.

Yet how can we, Ukraine’s academic institutes bring up a new and morally steadfast generation when for the seventeenth year now the Ukrainian political milieu, aside from rare moments of spiritual enlightenment, has been unfailingly presenting examples of cynical disregard for God’s laws and immoral assault of the truth?

The time has come to openly tell all of those vested with power that in the social conditions they are creating it is impossible to bring up people with respect for those in authority. The disillusionment of young people with all political parties without any exception, their contempt for civil servants, nihilistic rejection of the rule of law or attempts at any cost to emigrate from Ukraine – these are all the worm-ridden fruits of rotten governance which lies on the conscience of those holding power.

However we are not inclined to confine ourselves to condemnation of the authorities. The test has come for academic institutes themselves.

After all, the vast majority of those whom society is today inclined to condemn have higher education. Their worldview and first social skills were formed within the walls of their own universities. Is this not a signal for us that the knowledge which the universities are giving their students is not based on firm moral principles and therefore becomes destructive?

We are convinced that the present crisis is the moment of truth which must reveal to Ukraine’s academic community all its responsibility for education’s moral castration. In 2004 we believed that Ukraine’s orange outburst would restore respect of its political elite to the moral principles of building the State. In fact, after a brief pause the devaluation of values rapidly continued.  The symbol of that devaluation was the devaluing of the word which from the lips of those in power has ceased to be the bearer of truth.

However universities are where they know that words must have value! For the Word is God and when the fruit of the word is ridden with the seeping rot of deception, society cannot hold firm. We have no right to remain silent since it is the very tacit consent of society to accept total rivalry that in fact makes it possible.

Democracy guarantees pluralism of convictions and political positions, however it also envisages that those with different views will not resort to self-destruction, dragging the whole country with them.  For blinded rivalry does not pass by itself, it leads to the total ruination of the system.

We call on the academic community to do all in their power to stop the ruination of Ukrainian statehood and to contribute towards national reconciliation.

Those who rule Ukraine must heed our words.  We repeat that we have no right to remain silent. With our voices united let us put a stop to the rivalry – and may the Lord bless Ukraine!

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