Femen: The all female activists who some say are the only group with balls in Ukraine.
Understandably, they are protesting about the perception of Ukraine as a sex tourism destination, which won’t be helped by a football tournament.
Mykola Syrota had balls too. A man considered the father of Ukraine’s written constitution, he’d spoken out in 2008 about prostitution of infants in which he claimed, law enforcers were involved. He would be dead within 6 months of this press conference in 2008.
The Rights, Freedoms and Duties section of the constitution had been of particular relevance to our own activism. Articles 26 and 52 are most pertinent. They make it incumbent on any foreign resident to protect the interests of the vulnerable.
Football, let’s face it, is far from “the beautiful game” in these circumstances which reflect massive commercialisation since the expression was coined.
In 2010, there were allegations of corruption in the selection of Poland and Ukraine as Euro 2012 locations. They were quickly quashed by litigation. In a country where there’s profit in exploiting children , might it just be possible that money changed hands somewhere?
When Bill Gates began encouraging other billionaires to use their wealth for social and environmental benefit, Ukraine’s moguls were not among them. As Kyiv Post reported, PR is the name of their game. They later described the deadly greed of one of those featured, when yet another mining disaster, cost many lives.
Viktor Pinchuk hosts the Davos Philanthropic Round Table, where at the ‘Ukrainian Lunch’, Sir Richard Branson called on business to focus more on social problems. He’s also partnering with Tony Blair in his ‘Faith Foundation’.
14 What does it profit, my brethren, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is naked and destitute of daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Depart in peace, be warmed and filled,” but you do not give them the things which are needed for the body, what does it profit? 17 Thus also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.
Britain’s faux socialists have a particular affection for Eastern Europe’s moguls it seems. Stephen Byers who left British Politics under the cloud of having boasted about taking payments for influence, considers that Ukraine isn’t doing too badly, when it comes to democracy. Does this have anything to do with his advocacy role for Ukraine to access EU markets, in another Pinchuk initiative?
To quote Mandy Rice-Davis, from a similar professional perspective – “Well he would say that wouldn’t he?”
Then there’s ‘Mandy’ himself, former EU trade commissioner Lord Mandelson who has a particular affinity for East Europe’s moguls. The Daily Mail article describing an expenses paid trip to advocate for Ukraine was quickly pulled from the web. His host is no stranger to so called ‘libel tourism’
A comment from Lawyer Mark Stephens, was particularly relevant to my own experience of activism.
“If this had been a small local paper in Ukraine, a blogger or a freelancer or a non-governmental organization exposing wrongdoing, it is unlikely they would have been able to obtain this result,” Stephens said. “This case demonstrates the need to be able to stand up to the bully boys who come to London to abuse our courts.”