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I Want to Be a Ukrainian
Margaret Wheatley ©2005

When I come of age,
When I get over being a teen-ager
When I take my life seriously
When I grow up

I want to be a Ukrainian.

When I come of age
I want to stand happily in the cold
for days beyond number,
no longer numb to what I need.

I want to hear my voice
rise loud and clear above
the icy fog, claiming myself.

It was day fifteen of the protest, and a woman standing next to her car was being interviewed.  Her car had a rooster sitting on top of it.  She said  "We've woken up and we're not leaving till this rotten government is out." It is not recorded if the rooster crowed.

When I get over being a teen-ager
when I no longer complain or accuse
when I stop blaming everybody else
when I take responsibility

I will have become a Ukrainian 

The Yushchenko supporters carried bright orange banners which they waved vigorously on slim poles. Soon after the protests began, the government sent in thugs hoping to create violence. They also carried banners, but theirs were hung on heavy clubs that could double as weapons.

When I take my life seriously
when I look directly at what's going on
when I know that the future doesn't change itself
that I must act

I will be a Ukrainian. 

"Protest that endures," Wendell Berry said, "is moved by a hope far more modest than that of public success: namely, the hope of preserving qualities in one's own heart and spirit that would be destroyed by acquiescence.

When I grow up and am known as a Ukrainian
I will move easily onto the streets
confident, insistent, happy to preserve the qualities
of my own heart and spirit. 

In my maturity, l will be glad to teach you
the cost of acquiescence
the price of silence
the peril of retreat

"Hope," said Vaclev Havel, "is not the conviction that something will turn out well, but the certainty that something makes sense regardless of how it turns out."

I will teach you all that I have learned
the strength of fearlessness
the peace of conviction
the strange source of hope

and I will die well, having been a Ukrainian.

______________________________________________


Bio

Margaret Wheatley is a well-respected writer, speaker, and teacher for how we can accomplish our work, sustain our relationships, and willingly step forward to serve in this troubling time. She has written six books: Walk Out Walk On (with Deborah Frieze, 2011); Perseverance (2010); Leadership and the New Science; Turning to One Another: Simple Conversations to Restore Hope to the Future; A Simpler Way (with Myron Rogers); and Finding Our Way: Leadership for an Uncertain Time. Each of her books has been translated into several languages; Leadership and the New Science appears in 18 languages. She is co-founder and President emerita of The Berkana Institute, which works in partnership with a rich diversity of people and communities around the world, especially in the Global South. These communities find their health and resilience by discovering the wisdom and wealth already present in their people, traditions and environment (www.berkana.org). Wheatley received her doctorate in Organizational Behavior and Change from Harvard University, and a Masters in Media Ecology from New York University. She's been an organizational consultant since 1973, a global citizen since her youth, a professor in two graduate business programs, a prolific writer, and a happy mother and grandmother. She has received numerous awards and honorary doctorates. You may read her complete bio at http://margaretwheatley.com/bio.html, and may download any of her many articles (free) at http://margaretwheatley.com/writing.html.

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