The ongoing Euromaidan protests in Ukraine, now in their 28th day, were spurred by Ukrainian President Victor Yanukovich’s abrupt turn from trade deal and relief package with the European Union (EU), designed to open Ukrainian markets to the West. The trade deal was seen as one step on the pathway to EU membership and a move away from the crippling internal corruption and Russian influence that have held the nation back.
The peaceful protests in snowy downtown Kiev have been characterized by a masterful use of social media, live video feeds and a 24/7 rotation of live music, dancing, and a multitude of guest speakers (including U.S. Senators John McCain and Christopher Murphy and the actress Hayden Panettiere).
As I watch the live feeds, view the stunning photographs by international journalists, and follow the Tweets and FB posts, I am reminded of 1960’s anti-war protest movements. Like the Vietnam era protests, Euromaidan emphasizes love, peace and inclusion; with thousands of participants fed and cared for by an army of cooks, first responders and entertainers. Social media and web technologies have created a forum for dialogue and building awareness while simultaneously directing volunteers to participants requiring medical and conflict mediation around the Maidan (square).