The Odessa Massacre – a Personal Tribute

Graham Phillips

I can’t pretend that my reaction towards the Odessa massacre didn’t come from the heart. I’d lived there for almost a year before the massacre of May 2nd 2014, in which pro-Ukraine activists burned alive a number of pro-Russia activists eyewitnesses report as over a hundred. Written numerous articles in raptures about the wonders of the southern coastal city. Taken any number of photos showing my love for the place I’d chosen to come to, call home.

Odessa

Odessa1

I remember things really starting in Odessa, March 2014. Peaceful demonstrations, here thousands marching for referendum –

That hope that proceedings could be resolved peacefully increasingly in March giving way to fears that would be far from the case, as each passing week in Odessa escalated –

I was away for May 2nd, already reporting in Slavyansk, however given my attendance at actions in Odessa, knew many who were killed in that inferno. A very interesting documentary on the tragic events of May 2nd here –

Before getting the call to come east, in early April 2014, you could have found me wandering around Odessa. I worked as a full-time journalist in my time in Kiev, on staff at a magazine along with a good career in freelancing. I knew that moving to Odessa would mean less journalism work, in the short term, but felt that long term, something would come of the inspiration of Odessa, which had inspired writers from Isaac Babel to Ilf and Petrov. I worked mostly as an English teacher, started a blog, used to just go out with my video camera and have fun. You could find me filming concerts –

Cycling about –

Just walking the streets, of the city founded by order of Catherine the Great

But after March 3rd, and an action at an administrative building in the city, it was clear Odessa3something had stirred in the city which had, until that point, mostly sat out Euromaidan. I was along from that day, photographing and filming events, on both the pro-Russia and pro-Ukraine sides.

On the ‘pro-Russia’ side, I knew these people. Odessites, extremely unhappy with the current situation in Ukraine – an unelected Kiev government passing legislation many saw a direct attack on their culture, way of life. They were, as you can see here, normal, Odessa citizens – from my experience of them, on a personal level, good people. Natives of Odessa, proud of their city, a ‘hero city’, their culture, a great one, and rich history.

Of course, as the situation escalated, there were more militant members of the Odessa, pro-Russia side, as there were on the pro-Ukraine side. Yet it must be said that at the demos in Odessa I attended, it was the pro-Ukrainians who came bearing weapons –

Yet, what happened on the evening of May 2nd, with reports of 42 to even over 100 of the ‘pro-Russia’ side burned alive by pro-Ukrainians, in the Trade Union building on Odessa’s Central ‘Kulikovo Pole’ marked a seismic shift in the situation. One from which there was no return, nor could be. It was a day which changed the mood, the stakes, the whole landscape of a situation which quickly spilled into all-out civil war. Just a week later, another large city by the sea, Mariupol, witnessed its own tragedy, when Ukrainian forces entered the city, opening fire on civilians.

OdessamanIn Odessa on May 2nd, true, some peaceful pro-Ukrainians tried to assist their countrymen as they perished in a building which had been their base, their gathering
place, for months. But more looked on, chanting pro-Ukrainian songs, posing for photos even. Some of those, formerly peaceful pro-Ukrainian activists, even made, threw Molotov cocktails, with then several who managed to escape incineration by leaping from windows reported as beaten to death on the ground below. Others, shot from the ground, at least escaped the agony of death by incineration.

Photos from here – 

Odessa may 2 2014 1

Odessa molotovs

Odessa May 2 2014

It’s unforgivable. On a human level, never mind as a journalist, it’s a pain which pierces my soul to think of those people, those I’d seen at demonstrations, including young girls, young men, middle-aged and older men, and women, perishing in such a barbaric way. Yet perhaps just as shocking, the true callousness of the Ukrainian government Odessa3and media – accusing them variously of being ‘Russian terrorists’, ‘Russians’ (actually, they were all, or almost all, native Odessites). The gloating. And then the memes, of burning colorado beetles. Of barbeque sauce. I won’t post them here, even link to them.

On May 2nd 2014, the Ukrainian side lost some of the key things you need to be a country. Something you need to be a person. Compassion. Humanity. Heart. The year since have seen Ukrainian powers do everything to prevent a proper investigation, and then blame it on ‘strong wind‘, an Odessa victimegregious mockery to those slain. Due to my being deported and banned from the country, the ongoing reign of terror against ‘opposition’ figures, I’ve not yet been able to return to Odessa to pay my tribute.

I’ll be back one day, for sure, to pay my tribute to those who stood against the fascism of this new, post-Euromaidan Ukraine are as one with the city of Odessa, the city they came from, the city they died in – proud, defiant, glorious.

***

Adapted, updated from my original article of last May 6th, here.

17 thoughts on “The Odessa Massacre – a Personal Tribute”

  1. I liked a political and cultural rainbow which was in Ukraine before Maidan – a wife spectrum of different political opinion and thoughts, the ability to choose the information on Ukrainian, Russian, English languages and TV stations.

    The level of freedom in Ukraine was more high righter in Russia. and all looked like a great hope for the better life here in the future.

    Ukraine had West Ukraine near to Poland and Europe, East Ukraine near to Russia and Crimea between them both. It was as a situation with a crane with a hot water-West Ukraine, a crane with a cold water – East Ukraine, a bowl of mixed warm water between them both.

    These areas had a different languages and mentality and links and preferences in their opinions, traditions, way of thinking and choices historical as locals from different Ethnic Groups.

    I was thinking Ukraine will develop links with Europe though the West Ukraine, links with Russia via East Ukraine to grow the economics.

    People in West Ukraine plenty know still Polish/German or English in Kiev. People in East Ukraine, living in towns, plenty lean English in schools and liked this language and their native Russian and Ukrainian.

    Plenty educated people in towns and student lean English language with a joy, plenty came as students to America and liked life in the USA and democracy ideas and a freedom of speech ideas, and a hope to stay in USA be Americans, but American President Obama and CNN blamed them all as pro-Russian any way not taking their love to English language and to USA to any attention – instead, Obama and .Senators USA blamed all local people as pro-Russian and so the wish to kill them all here for their political opinions and choice and native languages, including all local people whom liked to lean to know English language.

    So, the point to like and to lean English language for plenty locals in East Ukraine did not protected their lives and their property and their right for the normal life here – if someone dislike you and wish to kill – he will say any lie as a reason. So, all local people from the East Ukraine with their knowledge of English were being blamed to be pro-Russians any where whom needed to be killed any way as their Ethnic was Russian Ethnic as their guilt, and they were being local people of white European race as their guilt too. The Genocide.

    Hitler and German Fascists had a plan to kill all Hebrews/Jews, Slavs – Russians, … in WWII TIME. Russia had a loss of 40 millions people.

    Russia gave a loss of 23 millions lives of males -soldiers during WWII time to stop this war.

    So, as Russia stopped the plan of Fascists and Hitler to kill plenty Ethics, someone decided to start to kill Russian at first, so Russia would not stop after the plan to kill other Ethnic.

    This as my personal point of view.

    .

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  2. When I saw these events in Odessa when one part of locals used to put other part of locals, including women, in a fire to burn them to kill for the political difference in opinions, thoughts, languages, I was shocked to look videos as young local people laughed loudly on the loud shout HELP ME , staying on the street as they just liked this funny for them situation that alive people burned in fire and them their political opposition.

    No one from locals in Odessa whom were being local Ukrainian radicals run to help. Instead they tried to kill or beat all people whom tried to run from the fire in the building. And they laughed to see a death.

    People from a small town in Italy named their street in the memory of killed people.
    American President Obama and Senators USA and American Embassy in Kiev had not a free time or the interest to say the sympathy – as they were being on the side of this laughed crowd too – OBAMA said his support for this Ukraine and that Maidan was being organizing with the help and support of USA and so by the help of American Diplomats from American Embassy in KIEV.

    I was in the shock and in the disbelieve in such reaction of OBAMA and USA while people were being burned in Europe which memorized Middle Age Fires of Inquisition for 300 years as returned back in Europe again and Hitler and German Fascists with their Holocaust and concentration camp returned back to Europe again.

    I read that plenty Americans, military and CIA worked in Ukraine – but as I saw this strange reaction Obama and USA Officials – I had thought that probably, CIA and American Diplomats from Kiev had not informed Obama, hidden the information from him.

    so, I tryed to pass the information to Obama via web-page of American General – 18th Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Martin E. Dempsey

    I saw American General Martin E. Dempsey as a person of high level of the intelligent, a true-American, Christian, a decent, honest, respectable man, spending a lot of his time o his duties, including in holidays. I was thinking at that time about General Martin E. Dempsey as a good future possible candidate for the post of President of USA.

    as I trusted American General Martin E. Dempsey at that time, I tried to pass the information for him and though his web-page to Obama too, asking Americans to check that CIA had passed the whole information to Obama, as Obama looked like a person without the whole information from Ukraine and what happened in Odessa, as people were burned here by Ukrainian radicals.

    Obama did not changed his position – so – his position was his position as it was and not by the lack of the information which was not provided and hidden from him.

    I put plenty links on videos and photos and article about Odessa for Americans and for American General Martin E. Dempsey, to be sure that they were being fully informed.

    I am the ordinary person, as all other people. But we read that plenty professional Americans from the military and Diplomatic and CIA background worked here as professionals to provide the information to USA and Obama too, including simple people as me too. so, Obama had plenty resources to receive the whole rage and spectrum of the information from Ukraine and about this event in Odessa.

    I have asked my question to American military people and Officers as a free training to upgrade their possibility to protect USA National Defense

    – What would be your decision in the case of events similar to Maidan in Kiev in Ukraine if some big crowd of people would take the power in USA without the vote by the force threw down stones and a fire to a police and that would gave their order as the new power in your country to go to bomb towns and villages and houses of their political opposition?

    — WHAT WOULD YOU DO HERE – TO DO THEIR ORDERS TO BOMB AMERICAN TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THEIR POLITICAL OPPOSITION?

    AS THIS WOULD BE YOUR DUTY AS THE OFFICER OF AMERICAN ARMY
    — YES OR NOT ?

    Americans started to answer me, as I was banned for this my question of free training of American military people and Officers on web-page American General Martin E. Dempsey and all my posts and all my opinions here were being deleted too.

    I had received the great true lesson about the American freedom of speech and opinions and about American Democracy and their rules of discussion and never returned back to be fan of some American from USA again, as I had a loss to them and their country and rules.

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  3. — WHAT WOULD YOU DO HERE – TO DO THEIR ORDERS TO BOMB AMERICAN TOWNS AND VILLAGES OF THEIR POLITICAL OPPOSITION?

    AS THIS WOULD BE YOUR DUTY AS THE OFFICER OF AMERICAN ARMY

    — YES OR NOT ?

    – Will you go to kill and bomb towns and villages of political opposition, their women, kids, pensioners, local men, if politics will order to do this

    – Will you go?

    — YES OR NOT ?

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  4. Obama did not said his sympathy, American Diplomats from American Embassy too, American Senators too. American CNN and American Citizen, Christians, females and males, did not said NO AND THEY DID NOT PUT FLOWERS OF CANDLES AS THEIR SYMPATHY FOR THE MASS DEATH PEOPLE IN ODESSA — THEY WERE BEING pro-Russian and CNN and Obama declared this as a right decision to kill all pro-RUSSIAN women, kids, pensioners, local people, workers, miners, journalists, including small pro-Russian new born babies.

    Obama and USA declared GENOCIDE for Russian Ethnic group as blamed them to be pro-Russians – to love the language of their mother and their father and their grandparents a lot.

    Some of people, blamed to be pro-RUSSIAN WHOM NEED TO KILL FOR THIS BY THE POSITION OF OBAMA, LIKED ENGLISH LANGUAGE AND PLENTY LOCALS KNEW ENGLISH AS THEIR SECOND LANGUAGE — THIS DID NOT SAVE THEIR LIVES OR PROTECT THEIR PROPERTIES FROM THE BOMB.

    The knowledge of ENGLISH LANGUAGE FOR PEOPLE OF RUSSIAN ETHNIC IN THE EAST UKRAINE DID NOT SAVED THEIR LIVES OR PROPERTIES — THEY WERE BLAMED BY OBAMA AND CNN AS pro-RUSSIAN WHOM NEED TO KILL as their ETHNIC WAS AND ARE Russian ETHNIC, WHITE EUROPEAN RACE.

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  5. USA AND RUSSIA AND GREAT BRITAIN WERE BEING ONE ONE THE SOME SIDE AS ALIAS DURING WWII TIME TO FIGHT AGAINST HITLER AND GERMAN FASCISTS.

    WHAT HAD HAPPENED NOW?

    People vote for Obama – he promised them to be different, he had promised them to close GUANTANAMO – but he lied them and as he had not closed it to stop it. Probably, OBAMA JUST HAD NOT A FREE TIME TO DO THIS OR HAD NOT ANY INTERESTS TO KEEP HIS PROMISES FOR THESE FULL IDIOTS – AMERICANS WHOM HAD VOTED FOR HIM AS HIS PRESIDENTS.

    I was the some idiot, whom believed in Obama as a new spring which had came in USA life but later I saw me as the naive idiot who any might lie to use in own goals.

    Politics play their game, plenty people died from their games, but someone had and has the good income and a good profit from all this.

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  6. An awesome article Graham. This appears to be the first ever war (/”ato”) to be on youtube (to any significant extent). And the first ever “revolution” ditto. There’s the famous saying that history is written by the victors. Which seems true given the outstandingly bigoted misrepresentation of German v allied actions in ww2 which is a main preoccupation of “history” teaching in our schools.

    The Odessa massacre and it’s whitewashing by the Brutal Bullsht Collusion has marked a new low in the morality of the US/K regimes.

    One wonders how much longer before the truth becomes the recognised realiity. In any case I think your videos here do a great service towards writing that history!

    Note to Tiggi. Learn is spelled with an r in it. Also maybe you are getting a bit too many wordsy today….. (loquacious)

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    1. Dobbb. Note to Tiggi. Learn is spelled with an r in it. Also maybe you are getting a bit too many wordsy today….. (loquacious)

      Thank you very much for your opinion, dear Dobbb. If you have difficulties with the understanding of my English, I may use Russian instead – to repeat some my senses for you on Russian.

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      1. Actually your English is very good considering that was about the only error I noticed. Most people here make more mistakes. I myself am not sure about the spelling of spelled / spelt but I’m not that bothered as I don’t use it in any important sentences anyway. .
        Reading your Russian is a bit more of an effortful challenge. Language can be very revealing. In Ukland we don’t have a word equivalent to opazdat / opazdivat, because everyone is always perfectly on time anyway or others are far to tactful to claim they aren’t anyway. Clearly the standards are lower over there so they have to have a word for it. Even the end of the ATO appears to be late by several months now.

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  7. So, if I am guessing correctly, the majority of residents of Odessa and Mariupol (and probably the rest of connected Ukr too) are well aware of the criminal nature of what happened to establish the control of the Kiev regime in their cities. And are not impressed. Or do I guess wrong? (Sure I guess it’s hard to do a valid survey under present conditions.)
    (I thought that bit about turning his tank round was an absolute cracker. Glad he wasn’t talking to myself!!!!)

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