I can't believe I won. I mean, I never won anything in my life until recently. The only thing I won was a discarded medal from my school sports day that no one wanted and my friend thought it would be cool to take it. I still have it until now :) .
Anyhow, I am from Mauritius, a tiny island (48km by 60km) in the middle of the indian ocean. My dad ended up here when there was war in China and my grandparents got onto a boat and hoped that they would reach a better land and they did.
Mauritius is where I was born and after spending 12 years in London, I decided to go back home. I earn one fifth of what I used to earn back in London and I don't regret it at all because Mauritius is a lovely place to live where you have African descendants, Muslims, Indians, white and chinese all living together without killing each other off.
This is also why I thought that I should give the chance for someone else who doesn't have the same luck as I do to pass a quick message about what is happening in her own country which is Ukraine. I believe that everyone should have the chance to live in peace and not fear.
"Hi, my name is Nastasia,
Usually I have a normal job working in an advertising agency. But times are not normal.
Yesterday more than 70 of my fellow people were shot and killed by the government in Ukraine.
Shot in the head, shot in the stomach. Blood coloring the cobble stones red at Kyiv's main square, Maidan, where me and my friends have walked, ate ice-cream and danced at festivals over the years.
The government claims that these people were terrorists, yet I know what system they were fighting against. A corrupt, brutal and criminal bunch of thugs making the lives of ordinary citizens unbearable.
Let me give you some background information if you have the time:
In case you don't know what's happening in Ukraine, google "what is happening in Ukraine slideshare" - there's a link on presentation with a summary, last updated 16th Feb. It tells the story about a 3-month-long protest in the center of the country's capital against the criminal president's dictatorship, robbery and total legal vacuum nationwide, all for the sake of president Yanukovich's "family" wellbeing (is it normal in your country for a president to have a golden toilet bowl? no, seriously, there are photo proofs).
This protest was peaceful, but turned violent in November, after riot police shed blood the first time - against the few students who stayed at Maidan at night, singing songs and guarding the tents of protestants on the capital's main square.
Since 16th February (that presentation's last update) we had lots of stuff going on. Government's snipers on roofs of hotels in the center shooting unarmed peaceful protestants, more than 50 people dead, many of them with gunshots - in the head, heart and stomach (obviously bullets aimed to kill, not to stop). The official version is that this was an antiterrorist operation (in a country that never had a terrorist attack?), that the protestants are fascists, nationalist radicals who want to overthrow the legal government. The information war got to an absurd scale. They say, people are drugged and brainwashed. They say, they are financed by Europe and US. Road police stops cars who try to bring food, medicines and supplies for the protesters.
Yesterday by accident I wrote a Facebook post that suddenly got widely shared. Shortly, I joked that if someone doesn't know how to help people at Maidan, I can help with advice. Now, just 2 days later, afetr I got hundreds of messages "how can I help?", I manage a 1000 people group on Facebook, coordinating transport, purchase and delivery ofmedical supplies, generators for the field hospitals, etc. People send money without asking who I am or demanding reports on how money were spent. And there are loads of coorinating centers like that. This blind trust and wonderful self-organization make me proud of being a Ukrainian, though I have no Ukrainian blood in my veins (me parents are Russian and Armenian).
According to the official government's version, though, is that I am a Ukrainian nationalist helping fascists.
Dear world. Please, find and share the news from my country. Help spread the word. Contact your local mass media to cover what's going on. Find NGOs that gather financial help. Make us visible. We work and fight for the freedom we were nominally born with. We want to make our own choices and to manage our own country. During these 3 months we've proven we can do it. The clever way. The kind way.
And beware - passive political position that allows people like Yanukovich rule countries, break laws and murder the innocent, can suddenly make you a fascist one day.
Thanks the Listserve team for being understanding and willing to help, thanks Jonathan for letting me use his turn to speak to you, and Jesper, my Danish journalist friend, for helping to write this letter."
Jonathan from Mauritius