Journey to the East

Easter celebration in Ukraine

0703121244_file.jpgtraditions2.jpg  Easter holidays in Ukraine were rich in numerous rituals and traditions dating back to pagan times. Such elements included cookies baking, eggs dying, spring games and dances, purifying rituals. Even now, if you walk the streets of Kiev, Ukrainian towns or villages one day before Easter, you will see numerous people carrying baskets with something inside covered by embroidered towels (rushnyks).

Ukrainians got ready for the Easter a week before it: they cooked eggs and colored them, cooked sausages, baked cookies and special paska (sweet Easter bread). Easter dishes hallowed in the church were considered to be strong magical and medical items. Hallowed poppy-flowers were taken to cattle-shed to protect it from witches, hallowed lard was used to cure cows, and hallowed bread was a medicine for sore throat.

Thursday before the Easter was called “Pure Thursday”. That day Ukrainian people cleaned horses and pigs and washed themselves. In the evening women brought lit candles from the church and burnt crosses on the door and ceiling.

In the night before Sunday fires were burnt near the church or on the hills. Each village family had to give wooden logs for the fires. Young men were responsible for the fires, so that they burnt the whole night through.

For the Easter Ukrainians wore their best clothes, went outside and greeted each other, “Christ has arisen” and replied “Truly arisen!”, gave each other dyed eggs. It was popular game for children to take eggs and check whose egg was stronger by beating them one against another. A child whose egg was stronger, took the rival’s egg.

Young men played in “Tower game”. Four men stood on the shoulders of five strong men, then three men climbed higher, then too and then one. Multilevel tower didn’t stand, but moved and danced. During the last day of Easter holidays Ukrainian peasants took each other by hands and went round the church singing ritual songs.

Certain Easter rituals were connected with souls of ancestors. One week after the Easter Ukrainians go to the cemetery, bring eggs and other foods there, have dinner on the tombs. These days they also give food to poor people. Another Ukrainian ritual was to throw egg shells into rivers to inform underground people that Easter came.


Margarita’s interview.

My group had an interview with Margarita Kutskaya. She told us about 22 of June, the beginning of WWII. Also she told us about her neighbor – Clara, who was killed in Babiy Yar.  

When WWII began Margarita was 15, 5 years old. She had two brothers, one of them was older than she and another was 7 years only. Her father was shot as an enemy of nation, so they lived with mother only. Her mother got a ticket to a health centre and on 22 of June she had to go. Though war began at 4 in the morning, nobody knew that until twelve o’clock, so her mother gone to the railway station. Margarita thought that everything is fine with her mother and with friends and youngest brother gone to the cinema on Kreshatik. They didn’t know that all Kreshatik and all the centre of Kiev was mine-strewn. Also Margarita didn’t know that her mother didn’t go to the health center that morning, but she had to go with people who were evacuated: like artists, writers and intellectual people. Margarita’s mother came back home, she wanted to bring children with her, but they were in a cinema, so she had to leave Kiev without them. Margarita didn’t see her mom about 1, 5 month but finally she came back. 

On 19 of September Margarita saw Germans for the first time. She said they were well dressed and all had machine carbine. Also she told that nobody was afraid and several people even had flowers for them. That’s why when on 29 of September appeared announcements where was told that all Jews must come to the Babiy Yar with jewels and clothes, nobody believed that all that Jews would be killed. Margaritas neighbor Clara, a Jewess, and her sun Boris went there. Margarita wanted to see her off, so she went with Clara. All her way to Babiy Yar Clara was crying just like she could predict that she would die there. When they were almost there Margarita realized that something was wrong. Clara was a little bit ahead and Margarita wanted to overtake her but security guard didn’t let her go farther. That moment she realized that Clara never came back but could do nothing. She was very scared that moment, but later she understood that security guard saved her life.   

Now Margarita is 81, 5 years old. When she was talking about that it was so emotional, but I didn’t feel any pain or bitterness in her voice. She is happy that she survived and still appreciated to that security guard.

Farewell to an ancient minority in Central Asia.

Jews are leaving Uzbekistan. Several years ago streets of Samarkand’s of Jewish Mahalla (the place where Jewish lived) were crowded. Now almost everywhere along the streets you’ll sings “For Sale” or “Desperate To Sell Now”. It looks like exodus. 

Yuri Yusupov, who married a Jewess, says that in five years there will be no Jews in Samarkand. Yuri teals that his brother and his children leaved Samarkand for US, and soon, he hopes, he’ll move there too. They lives in his wife’s old house which was build about 90 years ago. His wife remembers that time when there were many Jews and many wedding were celebrated among them.  

Many of them leaved because of militant groups like the Taliban and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. It was not safety any more. There was a threat of making Uzbekistan a Moslem country. The government tried to control the situation but without any big changes. The second reason is not quite good life standards. The average wage there is about $60 per month.  

Once a week an out-of-town rabbi arrives to supervise the slaughter of three cows, it’s enough for his small Jewish community, and talk with them. But this rabbi wants to leave too and when somebody asks him “Who will take your place?”, “Nobody”, he says. “There are no other rabbis.”    

Kohn, David “Farewell to an ancient minority in Central Asia.” Christian Science Monitor; 5/21/2001, Vol. 93 Issue 123, p9.

The Trouble with Saving the World.

President Bush   From the very beginning of his career, President Bush wanted to spread peace and democracy around the world. Because of those words he deserved to be taken seriously. The most important thing is when he was talking about peace he did not meant that it will be good and suitable for America only but for the rest of countries. First of all we wanted to defend America’s interests and its nation and he really could do that. He wants to remake the world according to his understanding of good and evil; he was a great believer in moral clarity. 

Many of those who dialed with him had not good expression. The British Prime Minister said that he behaved like heathen who comes to rescue the missionaries. The French Prime Minister said that talking to him was like talking to Jesus Christ. Europeans found the President ignorant because President’s thought and temperament were more theological with all its strength and weakness.   Little by little President Bush becomes second Woodrow Wilson. After WWI in a peace conference in Paris, Wilson was talking about peace and democracy too but nobody took it seriously. It was wrong time for such kind of vision but it did not stop him, he really believed in that so as time goes by people become call him “fuzzy dreamer”. And now, nearly 80 years after his death we can see the same policy in the White House. In series of speeches since Sept. 11, 2001, the President was shaped a “Bush doctrine” that commits the U.S. doing everything it can to eradicate terrorism, reform and neutralize rogue states. In his speech to the graduating class hi said: “Our nation’s cause has always been larger than our nation’s defense. We fight for a just peace – a peace that favors human liberty. We will defend the peace against threats from terrorists and tyrants. We’ll preserve the peace by building good relations among the great power. And we’ll extend the peace by encouraging free and open society on every continent.” Wilson could not say it better. 

Nowadays nobody believes in such words, they think it’s all about money or anything else. But on the other hand one European diplomat, who always listens for President’s speeches, says “He has a sense of mission that good should triumph over evil.” 

Many people now don’t believe in triumph of good but now we have unique opportunity to make the history and we will see the result.     

Elliot, Michael; Thompson, Mark “The Trouble with Saving the World”, Time, (2002, December), p. 108-112.

Logical fallacies.

I’ve got three logical fallacies to learn: Hasty Generalisation, Red Herring and Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc. All this fallacies are different and looking through it’s names I thought I don’t know it. But when I read an explonation and examples I realized, I heard such kind of logical fallacies many times.

Hasty generalization shows us a general rule based on several (may be atypical) examples. I think it’s a common mustake, you can see it very often. I have such example: My grandmother don’t like Tatars. Many years ago she dealt with several of them and they were not really good people (I think it was only her bad luck), but from thet time she really don’t like them and sincerely believe that each of them is worst person in the world. I really tried but could not change her mind.

Red Herring is the the way of changing person’s focus from issue related to the topic to irrelevant issue. Most often it happens when person don’t have enough arguments and this way tries to cheat. I don’t remember any examples but I really know that I, my friends and even my parents used it many times.

Post Hoc Ergo Propter Hoc is a fallacy which shows that the event happened because of previous one. If two doings happened one after enother it should not really mean that one happened because of  enother it can be only coincidence. In many cases people believe in that they want to believe. I think it’s not bad because, according to my experience, when I hope it will be okey, in many cases it’s okay just because I’m not nervous. So I think it’s good oportunity to calm down and focus on main problems (but it’s just my opinion).

Harold Gatty – Prince of Navigators.

gattymem5.jpg  Australian Harold Gatty was a groundbreaker in aerial navigation. He knew many great famous pilots of golden age and also was an inventor.           

Gatty becomes interested in navigation in 1917, at age 14. That time he was a cadet at the Royal Australian Naval College. Surprisingly, he was an ordinary student, particular in navigation. He was not interesting in flying and planes that time, but in sea. In 1918 he joined the Australian merchant navy on a steamship which plied between Australia and New Zealand. He studied stars, learned how to orient by stars. Soon he realized that he even can tell the right time just according to star’s location.           

In 1927 he immigrated to the United States with his wife and baby son. Soon he decided to spend more time with his family, so he quit and opens a school for aerial navigators. In the end of 1928 he focused his interest on navigation. He taught his students how to orient by sun and stars. For many of them it was really hand-to-mouth existence (and not only for students, but for many aviators of that time). Those who could not pay for his lessons helped him to gain flight experience. He was a great navigator and he also was an inventor, so he invented some useful things, some of them are still used in navigation, like air sextant, aero chronometer and the most important was Gatty drift sights which were used during the late 1930s.           

He was a great person. Philip Charles Weems, a brilliant U.S. naval officer, said that Gatty “has done more practical work on celestial navigation than any other person in the world today”.         

Bibliography: Gwynn-Jones, Terry “Harold Gatty” Aviation History; Sep2001, Vol. 12 Issue 1, p22.           

Reader’s Digest article “Finding my father”.

I read an article about a woman whose name is Susan Hadler. Her father was killed in 1945 somewhere in Germany. She knew nothing about him but his name, that he was the only child in his family and that he was killed by a mine somewhere in Germany. Her father was almost god for her and she wanted to know about him. Her mother could not help her, they were married for five years but it was hard time and they were telling basically about war and military operations, and her granny, her father’s mother, was dead by that time. So she began to ask if somebody knew her father or knew something about him. Bit by bit information began falling into her hands. At last she found the place where he died, a lot of information about him, people who knew him and she even make a marker for him, the place where he will rest in peace and where she could come to lay flowers and talk to him.

I like this article very much, it closely related with our historical project and it shows the importance of it. As usual we don’t think about such things like markers for our dead relatives but it’s really important. For me the memorial at a cemetery is like a material memory, until there is somebody who knew where this memorial is, the person is not left behind and it is the only important thing for deceased person.  

Wolfgang Langewiesche

The thirties become a golden age for flying. Pilots become new heroes and airplanes become an icon. In early 1930s Chicago German-born Wolfgang Langewiesche, a student, graduated from the university. He sold his car to pay for flying lessons. He passionately love flying and sky. To tell about that freedom that he feel in sky, he wrote a series of books. He wanted to show his adopted country from absolutely different point of view – sky. Wolfgang Langewiesche is revered among pilots for his 1944 flying primer, Stick and Rudder. This book becomes a bible among aviators; it answers the question “how”. With the keen eye of a surveyor and an uncommon talent for conveying the physical sensation of flying, he describes landscape in all its beauty in details. Here we con see Langewiesche as an enthusiastic aviator and great observer of the American landscape.

Amy Johnson: Pioneer Aviator

amy_1.jpgamy.jpg       Amy was born on 1 July 1903 and was the eldest child in her family. Amy grew up in Hull Yorkshire. She was not ordinary girl; she preferred boys’ games and loved competitions. In 1922 she entered the university in Sheffield and graduated three years later with bachelor degree in economics. In 1927 she moved to London     

           Everything was good for her until (about a year later) she decided to take up flying, but at that time it was too expensive for her. On 28 April she caught the bus and ride to Stag Lane Aerodrome. There she found that she can study in flying club and it will be much cheaper. And on 15 September 1928 she got her first lesson. Amy made her first solo flight on 9 June 1929 after 15 hours and 45 minutes of instruction.           

  The idea to have a solo flight from England to Australia comes to Amy in the end of 1929. She wanted to the first woman who breaks Bert Hinkler’s record (15 1/2-day flight from England to Australia). So on May, 22 in 1930 she crossed 1000 miles on her way from England to Australia. It was very difficult flight for her, her fuel almost gone and in the end she could not find the aerodrome. But in the end she successfully landed near a village.


Wiley Post

wileypost.jpg     Wiley Hardeman Post (November 22, 1898 – August 15, 1935) was born in Texas but his family moved to Oklahoma when he was a child. His career began at 26 in the circus where he worked as parachutist. In 1926 he lost his left eye because of accident on an oil field, but in spite of that he bought his first plain that year. He helped to create first the first pressure suits and worked in high altitude flying. He was the first pilot who flew round the world by oneself.     

   In 1931 Post and his navigator left Long Island in the Winnie Mae (Post’s plain) with a plan to fly round the world with fourteen stops during their way. They traveled 15,474 miles in the record time of 8 days and 15 hours and 51 minutes. After that journey he posted the book titled Around the World in Eight Days.     After that flight he wanted open his own aeronautical school but can not do it because of scarce money. So decided to have solo flight and break his previous time of it and during next year he improves his plain. In 1933 he flew round the world again and 7 days and 19 hours on it.        

  On August 15 he was flying from Fairbanks, Alaska to Point Barrow. He almost achieved Point Barrow when the weather becomes worth and worth. He landed in a lagoon to ask the direction. When he tried to take of the engine quit and the plain fell and he died.   

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