Paine’s Common Sense inspired people in the American Colonies to fight for independence against Great Britain. It was written after the Loyal Nine dumped tea into the Boston Harbor. The Loyal Nine evolved into the Sons of Liberty, which created chapters all over the 13 colonies.
People risked their lives to belong to the Sons of Liberty.
The Sons of Liberty were angry that King George stationed British troops in Boston. On a snowy night in March, 1770, kids threw snowballs at the red coat soldiers. A crowd gathered and the people cursed the soldiers and threw more snowballs.
Shots were fired, killing five Bostonians. This really ticked off the colonists. It was called the Boston Massacre. American children learn it in fourth grade, if not sooner.
The people of Ukraine are acting in a similar fashion. After breaking away from the Soviet Union in 1991, Ukraine became an independent, democratic state. But the Ukrainians have had enough. Groups inside the country such as the Parliament of Fatherland, Party of Svoboda, and the Ukrainian Democratic Alliance for Reform, are rallying up the people the same way the Sons of Liberty did in Boston.
So what’s their beef? Taxation without representation?
Not exactly, but the Ukrainians are tired of their President, Viktor F. Yanukovych (Y), dragging his feet while the nation is on the verge of economic collapse. High gas prices, unemployment, high cost of food and medical care, and Y is messing with the constitution — taking away the freedom of speech and assembly.
Whoa, where is Thomas Paine at a time like this?
It seems Y is playing both ends against the middle. The two ends are the European Union and Russia — and the middle is the Ukrainian people. Y failed to sign a free trade agreement with the European Union while the people suffer. The people think Y is a horse’s ass and a traitor.
The Son’s of Liberty type groups mentioned in the third paragraph are inspiring the people to gather and protest for change. Just like in Boston in 1770.
You have to admit, it sounds like the Ukrainians need George Washington at a time like this.
The crowds have grown and they have spread from Kiev to eight other cities. Shots were fired at protesters, killing some. Just like in Boston, the people are gathering in the cities armed with sledgehammers and axes.
They are not afraid to die.
Y has offered some bread crumbs, but the people are saying, “stick it.” They’ve had enough and they smell blood.
You can bet there is a Thomas Paine amongst the Ukrainian people. Perhaps instead of selling pamphlets on the streets, he or she is blogging — maybe using WordPress.
That’s what’s good about history, it can and does repeat itself.