The Trojan War ended in victory for the Greeks due to what many refer to as the “Trojan Horse.” For those who have been living under a rock. Basically, the phrase Trojan Horse reference is used when an entity penetrate another entity while helping the initial entity obtain victory unbeknownst to the second entity. A few weeks ago I realized what I dislike most about Ukraine. This week I figured out a way to explain it to people.
I will be delicate with my words because this message is not to offend people. It is meant to help identify a problem. I saw this problem as a joke for the last few years as a Peace Corps volunteer living in Ukraine. Recently, I have become frustrated with the people saying “Richard, this is Ukraine.” When I hear the phrase I pictured myself turning into Bobby Knight after a bad call. Luckily, my mind works much like Ben Stiller’s character in the movie The Secret Life of Watler Mitty. My mind quickly snaps back after the cancerous phrase triggers my fury.
For those of you who do not know. This phrase is used by Ukrainians almost every day to excuse something subpar or sketchy. There are the occasions when you see a woman on the streets who looks as if she was pulled out of Vogue (that’s okay). But, 99 percent of the time it is used to justify the rotten persona of Ukraine. I believe this mentality is at the heart of Ukraine’s problems.
In comparison, the same statement about the United States, “Richard, this is America” induces thoughts of possibility. There is simply joy in knowing that I am amongst the luckiest people in the world for the simple fact I was made in America. Think about it. Some people plan their whole lives around going to the USA, when American’s were simply born with this gift. How fortunate? That is shrill contrast.
Picture a plastic ruler lying parallel to the ground while in your outstretched hands. When pressure is applied it bends up or down. If it bends up the arc represents warm fussy feelings. If it is bends down the arch represents dark depressing feelings. When I hear Ukrainians use the phase above while talking about their country I imagine the ruler bent towards the floor. When I hear Americans use the phrase when taking about their country I imagine the ruler bent towards the ceiling. I challenge all Ukrainians to make my imagination hoist both rulers towards the sky.
Ukrainian society has invited a Trojan Horse into its consciousness with an innocent expression. Some may say that this cannot be a Trojan Horse scenario because it is the same entity destroying itself. However, attacks on Ukraine throughout its long history have worth the fabric of its peoples’ behavior. They have allowed their conduct to be shaped by the outside world for many generations. It is time for them to take control of their own destiny.
*These are the thoughts of Richard J. Roman and the not those of the Peace Corps or its affiliates.