Myroslav Marynovych asks to not be put forward for “Hero of Ukraine” award
Vice-Rector of the Ukrainian Catholic University, human rights defender and, former political prisoner, Myroslav Marynovych has published an open letter in which he asks his univeristy and the heads of the Lviv Regional Authorities to halt submission of the documents for proposing his candidacy for the State honour of “Hero of Ukraine”.
The letter reads:
“The Internet brought me the news that at the submission of the Ukrainian Catholic University community, the Lviv Regional Council and the Lviv Regional Administration were preparing a submission to President Yushchenko asking that I receive the highest State award – the title of “Hero of Ukraine”. Since I knew nothing of this initiative earlier, I am now forced to express my thoughts more widely and publicly.
I would first and foremost like to express my sincere gratitude to the Ukrainian Catholic University community for their initiative, as well as for adhering to the highest standards of procedure in putting forward my candidacy. I am no less grateful to deputies of the the Lviv Regional Council and the Lviv Regional Administration for their willingness to ask the President to honour me with this State award. I would say in full sincerity that peoples good will towards me and recognition of the achievements I was capable of have always been extremely important and dear to me.
I would be a hypocrite if I tried to convince you that I am indifferent to the possibility of receiving the highest honour of my country. No, for me, it would be a great honour and give pleasure.
Two years ago, receiving the Order “For Courage” First Grade, I said that I was accepting the honour since I was receiving it from the hands of a President who had ensured an atmosphere of freedom in our country, which for example, envisaged the right of a person to criticize the President himself. Viktor Andriyovych can be criticized for mistakes, however nobody can reproach him for flagrant encroachments on human liberty. I thus saw no reason that would preclude my expecting a State award from him.
And yet, despite all three arguments – my gratitude to the initiators of this idea, the honour for me of this award and my due respect for the President of Ukraine – I would not be able to accept it today.
The main reason for this is the serious mistake made by Viktor Andriyovych in his interpretation of state awards as an instrument for achieving political compromise. I do fully realize that throughout his term of office, it has not been easy for the President, and compromise was probably obtained at the cost of great personal pain. However all of those who have before me refused to receive a State award, for example, figures of the dissident past - Leonid Plushch, Lina Kostenko and Yevhen Sverstyuk – made it clear to the President that State awards were incompatible with political bargaining. After all, as a result of such bargaining those whom the President wishes to honour are forced to make an additional moral choice which turns into a new and clearly undeserved trauma. As we see from the subsequent honours awarded, the President has unfortunately not heeded their warnings. Well, that is his prerogative, however it is mine to not place myself together with people who I am deeply convinced are unworthy of such recognition. State awards should be given for courage and self-sacrifice for the sake of the country, and not only for successful business projects whose creators have ample enough reward as it is.
Furthermore, during a time of political, financial and spiritual crisis which have set Ukraine before a mammoth test, I would suggest that the Ukrainian President place a moratorium altogether on any State awards. Let us consolidate our strength around the main objective, with dignity overcoming difficulty, and then reward those who bring Ukraine out of this dead end of problems.
As far as I personally am concerned, for my past and present endeavours to counter evil, the Lord has long graced me with His blessing – with those highest rewards which a human being can achieve in his or her life.
In view of all of the above, I would ask you to halt the process for submitting the award submission documents.
With deep respect and sincere gratitude,
Published in Ukrainian at http://www.zaxid.net/newsua/2008/11/20/195218/