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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

Stop the violence!

Are we going to learn the lesson of the Mykolaiv tragedy?
3 April, 2012 - 00:00

Oksana Makar, a victim of rape and tortures, died in Donetsk hospital in the morning of March 29. Pain. Grief.

But this horrible situation is still actively discussed today by common citizens, politicians, officials, journalists. They talk of different things, of reprisal, Lynch law, try to find who was right and who was wrong. The Mykolaiv press club jointly with the Academic Television Channel in Mykolaiv have carried out a week-long telethon, and talked about the lessons of Oksana Makar tragedy. Dozens of experts were involved in the discussion: teachers, psychologists, doctors, lawyers, sportsmen, bodyguards, representatives of law enforcement structures, school students, active youth, and journalists, all those people who care about the city and the country we live in.

While the telethon was in progress, a tragedy of another girl from Mykolaiv was revealed to the public. Oleksandra Popova fell a victim to violence approximately at the same time as her peer, on March 10. Severe physical injuries and two weeks in coma, this is the price the girl paid for her willingness to help people. Unlike Oksana Makar’s story, this case is not given much coverage in press, and the girl’s mother struggles every day to get 2,000 hryvnias to pay for her only daughter’s medical treatment. The lawyer, who represents Oleksandra’s interests in court, does not provide any information about the suspect, and complies with Ukrainian laws in this way. And the girl’s mother, Alla Popova, does not demand the suspect’s execution or Lynch law, she just hopes the law enforcement authorities are going to solve it. Here are two violence cases in one city, in one country, but two different stands of mothers and journalists, two different kinds of attitude from politicians, officials, and law enforcement authorities.

But Oleksandra Popova fights for her live. The Mykolaiv television press club proceeds with the active discussion of the two tragedies and the telethon under a joint name “Lessons of Oksana Makar tragedy.”

Hlib HOLOVCHENKO, Ph.D. in education, director of the Mykolaiv College of Press and Television, general producer of the television company TAK-TV:

“It cannot be said that the death of Oksana Makar was unexpected, since her condition was basically incompatible with life. Though this does not make her death any less tragic. All of us should learn a lesson from this. Doctors, law enforcement authorities, education system workers, representatives of the public, grandparents, parents, and even young people themselves have to draw conclusions. While the telethon was in process, we discovered another tragedy, the one of Oleksandra Popova. Television company TAK-TV and the Mykolaiv press club took Oleksandra under patronage. We hope that at least one of the two sad stories is going to have a happy ending, and we are not going to lose one more young girl from Mykolaiv, who can make her friends and relatives happy and benefit the society. Also, on behalf of the College of Press and Television, the Mykolaiv press club, and television company TAK-TV, I offer condolences to Oksana Makar’s friends and family. May her memory life forever.”

Illia STARYKOV, doctor of education, professor:

“This tragedy affected more than just one person’s life. Oksana’s fate was like a litmus paper and revealed everything that is going on in our society these days. Besides, this is a reason to give some thought to what is happening to our youth, which direction it chooses, the way we are bringing it up. I think, besides the tragedy of the situation, it has a positive effect: it woke our consciousness up, made us think about these problems. But the bad thing is that various political groups start using this tragedy for their own political reasons. And this is a tragedy of the whole society in general.”

By Tetiana DENYSENKO, Olha HLUSHCHENKO, Viktoria VESELOVSKA, The Day’s Mykolaiv Bureau