Ukrainian Cultural Festival In Washington Roils With Hope, Fear And Anger

by | Sep 19, 2022 | Politics

SILVER SPRING, Md. — For some, it’s hearing air raid sirens while talking with relatives back in Ukraine. For others, it’s the fear that Ukraine may become an economic basket case, even if it wins the war. Or that the world may forget the country’s plight altogether.Ukrainans, their friends and those simply curious about the country that’s fought Russia to standstill gathered on a sun-splashed weekend at St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral in suburban Washington for the region’s biggest annual Ukrainian cultural festival.AdvertisementAmid women wearing garlands in their hair, men wearing vyshyvanka — white shirts with intricately patterned embroidery down the front — and accompanied by traditional and pop Ukrainian music, the war was never far from people’s minds. What in past years had been a chance to showcase the culture and drink some beers from the home country had taken on a different, somewhat deeper meaning.“This year is particularly beautiful and sad at the same time,” said the church pastor, the Rev. Volodymr Steliac, as he formally opened the festival Saturday. “We have seen the worst of humanity but at the same time we have seen the best of humanity.” The festival opened on Day 206 of the invasion and came amid good news for Ukraine: a surprise counteroffensive in the northeast that in a few days cleared Russians from towns and villages they had fought weeks to take earlier in the war.But the victory came with a price. In the strategic town of Izium, mass graves were found, similar to those seen in the capital Kyiv’s suburb of Bucha when the war began.Advertisement“We have seen the worst of humanity but at the same time we have seen the best of humanity.”- The Rev. Volodymr Steliac, St. Andrew Ukrainian Orthodox CathedralOksana Sukhina, who was staffing the booth of the U.S. Ukraine Foundation, where she is project director, said she wanted to see what the impact of the latest reports of atrocities will be on Europe.In …

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