It’s unclear how things will shake out in Ukraine after a year of fighting, political strife and annexation. With it’s future hanging in the balance, the country now clings to a shaky cease-fire as reports of violence and death continue.
The conflict began in February of this year after public demonstrations in support of joining the EU turned into fighting and all-out war. After 5 months of bloodshed, the recent cease-fire has allowed for the political process to move forward despite reports of continued fighting.
This morning, Ukraine’s Parliament voted to strengthen ties to the EU. Though it’s a step forward, the move was largely symbolic according to Neil MacFarquhar at NYTimes.com. While the politics play out during the newly-adopted cease-fire, Ukrainian’s at home and abroad are left wondering what’s to become of their homeland.
Here in Chicago, the Ukrainian diaspora has protested in solidarity with their people’s revolution against Russian rule in Ukraine. According to the Encyclopedia of Chicago, the Ukrainian population in Chicago is over 45,000 as of the year 2000, but that number has likely gone up significantly since then.
Though many have left the Ukrainian Village, Chicago’s west side nucleus of all that is Ukraine, many remain to this day. And though it’s been a few months since the last demonstration recognizing the struggle back home, the awareness is always present. The stickers in windows of local businesses read, “United We Stand With Ukraine.” And on nearly every corner, the flags clad in yellow and blue patiently wave and wait for independence.