The Immigrant Song


A brief note from my sponsors.

As many of my friends, I’ve been plugged in to the impeachment process from the beginning. Our nation’s future is at stake. Regardless of our leaning we can all agree on that much. The U.S.A.! Land of the free! Go team!

There are many other stories running alongside this unfolding drama. One of them has to do with Ukraine.

Back in 2014, Russia annexed Crimea. This Ukrainian region was taken because “the people of Crimea prefer to be part of Russia”, according to our president. And the president of Russia.

Crimea’s annexation came right after a big uprising in Kiev where 100 people were killed by then-president Yanukovych’s thug security forces in the Euromaidan Revolution (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/2014_Ukrainian_revolution).

The upshot of Euromaidan is that Ukraine, for the first time in, well...forever, gets a shot at independence. And that scares the hell out of Putin, who is intent on rebuilding an empire.

So there’s that.

Here’s my story.

My grandparents immigrated to Argentina between the wars in what was the largest Ukraine/Argentina migration movement of the 20th century. I’m not sure what the reason for their decision to go was but I suspect it was simply for a better life.
If you think the life of a sharecropper is a better life. Which it was for my grandparents. So if that life is better than their previous life, what was life like back in Ukraine?
This is my story. This is the story of mobility. Sacrifice for future generations. Thinking beyond oneself.
Ukraine is now at the center of our conflict. And it’s the best thing that can happen to them. Had our president not put a boot on their neck and got caught, Ukraine might continue being where it is. Caught between the EU and Russia.

But there’s one other little thing.

Ukraine has now been inadvertently exposed for what it is: a piggy bank for well-connected thugs and grifters from all over the world. And this has been the deal there for a thousand years.

My hope is that my people in Ukraine, who I hope to meet one day- the family who stayed behind- can dream big like us. Can one day soon be afforded the same chances and opportunities that I’ve been given because my ancestors said F*** THIS S*** and got on a boat.

Ukraine is in the news now. And they have a chance for real change. I pray they have the will to take it!

My grandddad's brother and his family in Ukraine, c. 1930. Had it not been for Facebook, I would never have seen this photo, sent to me by a second cousin who contacted me through that platform. Our surname is unusual so there aren't many of us around.

 

My grandparents with the family. Dad's over on the left with grandpa's arm around him. Tio Miguel ("Mike") is behind grandpa. Tia Paulina is standing behind grandma, with my Tio Vladimiro sitting on her knee. Tio Pedro has not made the scene yet. This pic must be around 1934. Me at Big Sur

Me down in Big Sur a year or two ago. From the fields of Ukraine to the fields of Buenos Aires to California, the Golden State. Ain't that something.


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