Any story that was being told, of a choice between the European Union and Russia; of ultra-nationalists versus a democratically elected government; of a gradual exchange of power from president to parliament; of things reverting to normal once all the homeless bums realised they couldn’t live in protest tents forever and went back to whatever gutter they’d crawled from – whatever the story was, however coherent and persuasive the narrative, it was utterly overtaken by events.
Who could make up police snipers shooting down unarmed protesters with live ammunition? Or charter flights of the wealthy and well-connected with their suitcases of cash queuing nose to tail to take off for Russia or the West? That the tanks and soldiers allegedly heading to Kiev would never arrive? That the president would sign an agreement to hold early elections and then disappear? That next day his country residence would be open to the public to wander around and gawp at his ostentatious and thoroughly kitsch display of stolen wealth?
Truth stranger and more fantastic than any fiction. I’ve been making stories out of Ukraine for several years, both as a journalist and as a fiction writer. This last week I’ve just stared in horror, astonishment, awe, sadness, cautious hope. I could never have guessed what would happen, let alone made all this up.
|Barricades in central Kiev (photo by Max Bibik)|
History will make its own story out of these events. We don’t know yet who will write that version. Who will evaluate it, embellish it, censor it, cross out and rewrite it, turn it into poetry, a children’s story, a romance, a tragedy – a happy ending…?
|Memorial for those killed (photo by Max Bibik)|