Day of Dignity and Freedom
November 21, 2020. OTTAWA. Today, Ukrainians all over the world mark the Day of Dignity and Freedom. Seven years ago, the Ukrainian people took to the streets to defend their inalienable right to live in freedom and choose their common destiny.
On November 21, 2013, demonstrations began in response to the government’s decision not to sign the EU-Ukraine Association Agreement. On November 29-30, the regime responded with violence, and security forces attacked and beat student protestors on Kyiv’s Independence Square (the Maidan). In response to the brutality of the regime, in cities and towns across Ukraine, the people rose up in mass demonstrations. So began the Revolution of Dignity.
For months, the Maidan withstood increasing repression and retribution by the Yanukovych regime. The people demanded that their government hear and heed their voice – they would not be denied their right to be treated with dignity.
On February 18-20, 2014 at Kyiv’s Maidan, the Yanukovych regime ordered security forces to open fire upon their own people. But the people held their ground and defended the Maidan. The regime retreated and Yanukovych, fleeing Ukraine, abdicated his office.
Over 100 brave Ukrainian patriots were killed in those February days. Their names and their faces are today etched upon stone in Ukraine’s capital. They shall forever be remembered as the Heavenly Hundred – Небесна Сотня. They gave their lives so that Ukraine may be free. We honour their memory. Вічная Пам’ять.
The Revolution of Dignity was an expression of a nation’s resolve to live in freedom, of the Ukrainian people’s centuries-long struggle for self-determination. Today, as so many times through history, Russia wages war against Ukraine, seeking once again to subjugate the Ukrainian people to Moscow’s tyranny.
On the battlefields and in the trenches of eastern Ukraine, Ukrainians fight for the ideals of the Revolution of Dignity. The Ukrainian people are defending their country and their homes with valour, bravery and unity of purpose. The cause of the Ukrainian people is the cause of free peoples the world over, and with God’s help, they will be victorious.
Слава Україні! Героям Слава!