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Iosif Zisels: The slogan ‘Je suis Volnovakha’ is a copy that changes the meaning of the events

The chairman of the Association of Jewish organizations and communities of Ukraine provided JewishNews with exclusive commentary in which he expressed his doubts about the suitability of the French slogan in the Ukrainian situation.

A “march of solidarity” was held in Ukraine in memory of the tragedy by Volnovakha. In Kiev, the march was led by the heads of the country and representatives of all religions.

The members of the memorial march which gathered around 20,000 people in the capital proceeded from Shevchenko Park to Maidan, holding placards reading “I am Volnovakha”, similar to the slogan in support of the Parisian magazine Charlie Hebdo, “Je suis Charlie” (I am Charlie).


Photo: glavcom.ua

On the central square of the county, a general prayer service was held, with the participation of Ukrainian President Pyotr Poroshenko, Prime Minister Arseny Yatsenyuk, Kiev mayor Vitaly Klichko and other politicians.

Similar rallies were held in Kharkov, Dnepropetrovsk, Cherkassy and in Volnovakha itself.

The chairman of the Association of Jewish organizations and communities of Ukraine provided exclusive commentary to JewishNews.com.ua, where he expressed his doubts about the suitability of the French slogan in the Ukrainian situation.

“When people say ‘I am Charlie’, they express solidarity with freedom of speech. It is one thing to express solidarity with a magazine whose employees were killed. This means sharing the opinion that freedom of speech is very important for civilization and the world.


Photo: glavcom.ua

“But what is ‘I am Volnovakha’? I understand that this slogan means solidarity with the people who resist the Russian fighters, and expresses sympathy with the victims. But I don’t think that we should copy what is happening in the West. We need to develop our own symbols, our own ideas and slogans.

“We must attract the attention of the international community, but we must do this correctly. We need to speak differently to the Americans, Germans, French and Spanish, for few of them know what Volnovakha is.


Photo: glavcom.ua

“I am convinced that this tragedy is a terrible by-product of the hybrid war that has been unleashed in Donbass. But it is not a purposeful act against the passengers of a bus, the war cannot be compared with a terrorist attack.”


Photo: glavcom.ua

“I believe that the incident in Paris is a kind of equivalent to the terrorist attack on the 11th of September in New York. Paris was a terrible shock, New York was a terrible shock.

“But we’ve been “shaken up” for a year now! For a whole year Russia has been terrorizing Ukraine.

“People are dying here, dozens are injured and killed every day. Terrorist attacks are a one-off phenomenon, even if they occur in a group, as they did in Paris.


Photo: glavcom.ua

“But here people have been dying for a year now, over ten thousand people on both sides, including the civilian population. We must draw the intention of the international community to this. So the slogan ‘Je suis Volnovakha’ is a copy that changes the meaning of the events.”

***

On 13 January terrorists opened fire on a Ukrainian army checkpoint in the southwest of the Donetsk Oblast near the town of Volnovakha, hitting a minibus carrying civilians. 12 people were killed in the tragedy and 11 were injured.

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