An Open Letter to Ukrainian President Yushchenko

You still have time to reverse our opinions and win back the original faith we placed in you.

Dear and beloved President Yushchenko, we remember as if it were yesterday, before we elected you as our president, how our hearts leapt with joy at the sound of your voice, how our ears found delight in your voice, the voice of liberation, liberation from the oppression and from the helplessness we had felt from many years of not being able to escape the rule of corrupt politicians, politicians with hidden agendas, secret allegiances, self interested, greedy, uncaring, criminal.

We remember as if it were yesterday how we stood together in Independence Square, united in by one voice—your voice, fearless and resolute. Many of us there were ready to fight to the death if need be, and if not, then to shed our blood in order to win that freedom that you talked about so eloquently from that wintry platform, our hearts warmed by yours, our resolve strengthened by yours.

We remember as if it were yesterday how at long last we were able to believe we had found someone who would be our voice, the voice of our nation, the voice of common people, of Ukrainians, the voice of someone from us who was for us. No longer would Ukraine exist, but our Ukraine, president and people united democratically.

For most of us it was the culmination of a life spent hoping that someone like you would come and fulfill our hopes and dreams and those of our fathers, would bring about change within the corrupt political regimes, and would at last free us from Russia's bonds, enabling our beloved country to prosper as other countries do, freed from those who would steal our heritage from us in broad daylight right in front of our faces.

God gifted you with eloquence in speech, but as you are no doubt aware, great oratory without deeds is tantamount to deceit.

We do not pretend for a moment to be able to understand or even glimpse what it is like to be president, nor to be able to comprehend the changes in perspective that being elected president of a country may cause in that person. We do, however, know that only a president can feel the greatest and deepest desire and harbor the greatest hopes for the country he rules. It is on this subject we would like to write you this open letter.

President Yushchenko, what happened to the flame of hope and desire you lit in our hearts through your words? What happened to the promises you made? Why have you not done what you said you would do? If it is because your (and therefore also our) enemies thwarted your actions, tell us who they are and what they did to thwart you, because perhaps something can be done.

President Yushchenko, you welcomed us as friends in Freedom Square. We are your friends, but we can't help you if you don't let us know what or who is hindering you from fulfilling your promises. Don't tell us that you were afraid to ask for our opinions or our help because such self- damaging isolation is self-inflicted and of no benefit to our common cause.

You said that you would bring an end to corruption in Ukraine, yet we see only token evidence of your actions. Many years ago, many people said and believed that it would be impossible to end the rule of the mafia in Italy, so deeply entrenched were its roots, permeating throughout the whole judiciary and political system. Yet it was ended by the resolve of one man. A man who formed a secret group who had been tested to be incorruptible and who were ordered to investigate all the people known to be at the center of the corruption, and to gather sufficient evidence to incriminate them once they had been arrested.

The principle is that if the head is cut off, the rest of the body will die, and die it did as several hundred people were arrested at the same time in the early hours of one morning and were taken to a secret destination awaiting trial.  The judges selected for the trial had also been found to be incorruptible and were afforded the highest level of protection and anonymity. This is how the Italian mafia met its end, to the joy of the majority of Italians who now live their lives more richly and in less fear.

Tell us President Yushchenko, why have you not ended the corruption that robs us of what is ours? Why do you allow your government to tax exports, instead of taxing exporters on the increased profits they would obtain? Why do you allow the mafia and other officials to further squeeze exporters so that exported products no longer become competitively priced?

Ukraine can be a very wealthy country through its exports—exports that would help develop its infrastructure and improve the general wealth of the nation as a whole, creating more jobs and taxes for the government?

President Yushchenko, we could tell you many things that, if changed, would improve the general wealth of our nation, but we are no longer convinced that you intend to do what you said you would do in Independence Square. We have lost hope in you as the person to bring about such changes.

The duties of your office as president must be great, but if they outweigh the commitment you made to us, we no longer want you as our president. Did you ever fight for us "to the blood," like we were ready to for the ideals you expressed?

Time is short, as is the life of a man. It is not important that a man is born and later dies; it is what a man does with his life that is of overriding importance. You have had the chance to do more than any other president in the Ukraine and in our view have done the least. Most of us now think that you are a strong speaker but a very weak president, in a country that needs an iron fist to rule it and not a diplomat.

You still have time to reverse our opinions and win back the original faith we placed in you, but only because at present we do not have enough faith in any of your other contenders for the seat of President.

This time it will take something greater than your oratory to convince us. Your words will not be enough this time. If you are going to act then act now or forever regret the chance you had that we gave you.

We would like to meet with you again, not in Independence Square, but in Freedom Square, its name transformed by your action and deeds, our hopes fulfilled, our president, our Ukraine.

Originally published at http://www.yushchenko.org/.