Ukraine – One American Expatriate’s Point of View

As an American who has been living in Kharkiv, Ukraine for the past two years, I’m often asked for my opinion on the current situation in Ukraine by Ukrainians. I’m also often the recipient of concern for my well-being from friends back in the USA. While I’ve exchanged private email and messages with a number of people, and posted a few news stories to my accounts on Facebook and VK, I haven’t actually written up a statement of my own until now. I guess the time has finally come for me to write a few things about the current state of affairs here in Ukraine, and in Kharkiv in particular.

A Brief History Lesson

The Kievan Rus, 8th-9th Century

The Kievan Rus, 8th-9th Century

To even begin to understand the situation in Ukraine, I think Americans need a bit of a history lesson. The fact is that most Americans probably couldn’t have located Ukraine on a map before the recent unrest began, and most of them have zero understanding of Eastern European history. As evidence of this, I cite one question that Americans frequently ask me about Ukraine: “Isn’t the Ukraine part of Russia?” No, Ukraine is not part of Russia, and it’s not “the Ukraine” anymore. During the Soviet era, Ukraine was one of the republics of the USSR, and was known as “the Ukraine” in the west as it was a regional republic within a larger whole (the USSR). Today it is an independent nation, and as a result, the “the” before its name has been dropped. In any case, Americans really do need a bit of a history lesson when it comes to understanding politics, society, and ethnic issues in Eastern Europe, as they generally don’t understand much of anything about this entire region.

The Kievan Rus was established in the 9th century by the Varangians as the first historically recorded Eastern Slavic state. It rose to substantial influence and power during the Middle Ages, but had disintegrated by the end of the 12th century. It was invaded by Lithuanians, Poles, and Mongols, and its territories belonged to those groups entirely by the 14th century. In the 15th century, various regions of modern Ukraine were ruled by the Polish, the Lithuanians, and the Crimeans. By the 18th century, Ukraine had been split between the Poles and the Russians. By the 19th century, it was possessed by the Austrians (and later the Austro-Hungarians) and the Russian Empire, and it remained so until the 20th century. Read more »

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The Great Banana Enigma – Forbidden History

bananasThe humble banana may be the best evidence for a global human civilization predating our known human history.

Did you know?

  • The Musa genus (to which Plantains and Bananas belong) mostly do not reproduce through seed.
  • To reproduce a plant, a piece of live root with a shoot must be cut off, and then planted.
  • Most species of the Musa genus seem to have evolved in small and localized tropical regions.
  • Plantains and their variants are found almost everywhere in the world, and going so far back in history that they are found in remains that predate the great naval explorations by the west.

In short, these species began their evolutionary life on small Asian islands many thousands of years ago, and despite the evolutionary disadvantage of having no seed-bearing fruit, somehow managed to spread their roots across the globe.

It begs the question: How?

Without resorting to metaphysical speculations about divine beings and their intent, or conspiratorial theories about alien beings and their plans, I am left with the inescapable conclusion that the answer to this question is quite simple:

Humans planted the banana shoots.

Which would mean that a civilization pre-dating Egypt and Maya and Sumer had circumnavigated the globe, carrying plantains on their ships, and dropping them in the ground every place they went, so they’d be there when the next wave of civilization arose.

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