The people of Ukraine have been protesting for a while, now. Violent clashes have erupted regularly since Vladimir Putin decided that he wanted to annex the sovereign country, beginning with the Crimean peninsula. Back in March of 2014, Putin overran the Crimea and set up Russian forces on the eastern border of Ukraine. Ever since, the two factions in Ukraine — the nationalist Svoboda party and the Radical party of Russian-backed separatists — have clashed in various places, including the country’s parliament in Kiev. The summer of 2015 was especially violent, with several incidents leaving over 75 dead on both sides.
Ukrainians have been protesting the violence and the threat of a Russian take-over and, along with anti-government protestors, those who don’t want to be part of the European Union and anti-U.S. protesters, these crowds have been met by the state police. And those clashes have not been pretty. Police have attacked protestors with abandon, often beating them.
This video shows how deadly these protests have become (**WARNING** Graphic Images):
The protestors have come up with a new plan to shame these violent cops and it seems to be working. The protestors are holding up mirrors in front of them so that the police can see what they’ve become. And the reactions are quite telling. Some look away as if they can’t bear to see what they have turned into. Some are confused, some smile and pretend not to care. Add in the signs that read, “Who Are You Protecting?” and some police appear to be ashamed. As they should be.
The government of Ukraine has noticed this tactic and are considering banning the mirrors under the conceit that they are “potential weapons.” But protestors in other countries have noticed the tactic. And they like it. One person commented that it was “… the most beautiful and brilliant form of protest I have heard of in a long time.” Another summed it up perfectly:
Unless you’ve had every shred of decency and humanity brainwashed out of you, how could you not be ashamed on some level to see yourself standing there; an iron-clad Stormtrooper armed to beat back your own people.
Indeed. There are some police who may have had every shred of decency and humanity stripped from them but, surely, most have not. The mirror, then, is one of our best tactics. As protestors meet them with a reflection of the Brownshirts they have become, perhaps those who still retain their humanity will come to their senses.
Bring a mirror to your next protest. Black Lives Matter protesters, Occupy protestors, minimum wage earners, environmentalists, anti-war… whatever your cause, bring a mirror when you march or gather. This can be a movement if we let it. Let it and thank Ukrainians.
Featured Image by Kostyantyn Chernichkin via FilmingCops.com