Ukrainian Rioters’ Fight for Social Justice

Big things are happening in Ukraine right now — things that mirror the stories we read in our favorite dystopian novels. It is easy to read books like 1984 or The Hunger Games and think that kind of oppression could never take place, but when I opened The New York Times this morning, my ignorance was stripped away (again), as I am reminded that oppressive governments exist, even today. Here are a few news reels discussing the riots in Ukraine:

General Overview:

Recent Update:

As I watch updates streaming from multiple news stations, I am reminded of what heroism looks like. It is not always jumping out of a building to save a child or throwing oneself in front of a bullet. Sometimes it is standing up for justice, even when the odds are not in your favor. These riots started November 22, the same day the second installment of The Hunger Games series, Catching Fire, premiered in theatres. Though a mere coincidence, I cannot help but find connections between the two events.

Here are two images from Catching Fire (possible spoilers ahead, but nothing you wouldn’t get from a movie trailer):

In both of these images (taken from the film, Catching Fire), one can see the tension rising in the districts. These people, oppressed by a corrupt government, found hope in Katniss Everdeen’s bravery. This story, though, is fiction — yet, these images look very similar to what is happening in Ukraine:

Though a stretch, it is becoming clear — at least, to me — that the nightmares found in dystopian literature are not always fictional. However, people are strong when they want to be, and these rioters demonstrate their strength in fighting for social justice, giving us inspiration to fight against oppression in our own towns.

For more information on these riots:

Ukrainians call for Yanukovych to resign in protests sparked by EU u-turn

Ukrainians back in street to support EU accord

Video of police brutality in Kiev fuels rage

Thousands demand resignation of Ukraine leader

4 thoughts on “Ukrainian Rioters’ Fight for Social Justice

  1. I don’t think this comparison is a stretch at all! When reading 1984 and Brave New World in high school, I viewed them (and was taught to view them) as cautionary tales. Now that I am older, wiser and more informed, I see that they are written for enlightenment. They are not foretelling, but rather calls for awakening.

  2. I was fascinated by your insightful connections Jenn! I can see you teaching these works in a way that helps your students see the relevance of such novels and the urgency of acting in a way that supports those fighting for justice, fighting for their lives. Taught this way, the novels will engage, the lessons will endure.

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