Iinitiative of Ukraina bulletinen in Sweden, May 20, 2016
The documentary film ‘Ukraine: The Masks of the Revolution’ (in Swedish: Ukraina – Revolutionens mörka sida) on the massacre in Odessa, Ukraine on May 2, 2014 will be aired on Swedish television on May 23, 2016. The broadcast has been postponed twice. A range of organizations in Sweden have protested against the documentary, including the human rights organization Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter, Ukrainian organizations, the Ukrainian embassy, journalists and Maidan Norway.
In 2015, Ukrainian organizations in Sweden stopped an exhibition on the Odessa Massacre. Sweden’s largest organization for adult education, ABF, had admitted the exhibition in their program but this was prevented. The same Ukrainian organizations together with others now seek to slander and defame a documentary which premiered February 1, 2016 on Canal+ in France and is directed by the renowned and award-winning French journalist Paul Moreira.
The documentary is based on witness statements from all sides and on facts about events that took place the day of May 2, 2014 in Odessa. Those who protest against this documentary refer to an article authored by the journalist John Færseth and published in the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Færseth opposes what the documentary proves. The film shows a Ukrainian-nationalistic mob setting a trade union building on fire and this leads to 42 fatalities among supporters of a referendum on federalisation of the country.
The Norwegian journalist instead believes that the main responsibility for the fatalities lies with the fire brigade which arrived late at the scene of the fire. Færseth also suggests that the role of right-wing extremism in Ukraine is grossly exaggerated in the entire documentary concerning the dark elements of the Ukrainian Maidan revolution.
The campaign against the documentary aims to provide people who lack a certain moral judgement and who excuse mass murder the possibility to “comment” on the documentary in connection to the broadcast. Their aim is to promote their so-called critical voices so that they can make the documentary appear as if it is based on conspiracy theories.
Do not let a narrative that excuses right-wing extremist violence, wherever it occurs, get the final say in mass media. Defend freedom of speech and freedom of information against any government and their followers who want to impose their views and biased narrative as the only valid truth on their own people or upon people in other countries.
This open letter will be sent to the media and the public in Sweden and in neighboring countries.
Help us support peace, freedom of speech, freedom of information and to expose the right-wing extremist violence. Sign an international petition to voice your concern: here.
Initiator: Ukraina bulletinen
Platform: Peace on earth and peace with earth
Support for conflict resolution and yes to peace negotiations – no to war.
Yes to common security – no to rearmament.
Yes to investments for social justice and the environment – no to austerity policies in Ukraine, Europe and the world.
Tord Björk, editor, Ukraina bulletinen
Stig Broqvist, active in Friends of the Earth Helsingborg
Lars Drake, assistant professor, Swedish University of Agriculture (SLU)
Jan Wiklund, popular movement researcher
Goran Brankovic, peace activist
Mika Böök, peace activist
Susanne Gerstenberg, peace activist
Thomas Gunnarsson, peasant
Joel Holmdahl, peasant
Jake Kayzer, peace activist
Thorsten Laxvik, peasant
Markus Limmergård, board member FiB/K
Oleg Mezjuev, Ukraine observer
Anders Romelsjö, professor emeritus, radical blogger
Bo Sundbäck, teacher
Maj Wechselmann, documentary film maker
Eddie Olsson, active in Friends of the Earth Europe
Mika Böök, Finland
Noam Chomsky, USA
Pål Steigan, Norge
We who have initiated this international action come from diverse backgrounds. As farmers we are concerned about the agriculture in Ukraine with its seven million farmers who are protesting against the policies imposed upon them by the EU and IMF being austerity policies directed against small and middle sized farmers: policies only in the interest of the big corporations.
As employees in the public sector, we are concerned that the future society is put in the hands of companies that are replacing social rights with privatized social services to make profit off the needs of people. As pacifists and environmentalists, we are concerned about the secretary general of NATO claiming that environmental movements with its protests against fracking were in the hands of Russia. We are also concerned about how Russia or any other country is portrayed as an enemy in Sweden with the purpose to promote rearmament and war rather than peace building. We are, as activists for human rights, very concerned about the selective use of the indivisible human rights including both social and political dimensions with double standards that weaken the struggle for human rights everywhere.
The campaign against the documentary was supported by Maidan Norway, Ukrainian organizations and a Swedish Human Rights organization (Östgruppen för demokrati och mänskliga rättigheter). Others who opposed the documentary had their background in a think-tank funded by Confederation of Swedish Enterprise (In Swedish: Svenskt Näringsliv), defense research, the Ukrainian embassy, Swedish public service radio and human rights organizations that share the Swedish Government’s position on the conflict in Ukraine.
You can watch Paul Moreira’s documentary film ‘Ukraine: The Masks of the Revolution’ here (54 minutes).