The picture of this boy (left) was all over the Internet the day after Ukraine’s victory over Sweden in Euro-2012 group match. The boy even received something - some gift - from our football-star Shevchenko in person...
Somehow I never doubted it wasn’t an ordinary kid from the street in his moment of glory. To begin with, ordinary kids here hardly watch EuroCup matches in the stadium. Even ordinary adults hardly do...
Back in high school, in the last years of the Soviet Union’s existence, we had a school-mate - a girl with mediocre grades, glum and not very pleasant in disposition.. When you present a person to a person you would say something remarkable about them. Well, that girl was known as the daughter of Such and Such.
Such and Such was a teacher and a big wig on the regional (or was it even the city?) educational board. An awe-inspiring and glum figure herself. Even the headmistress – a notorious bribe-taker - danced attendance on her.
One year when we were back to school after summer we didn’t find Miss ‘Such and Such’. There rumour was she may have been transferred to another school, something else.
The real reason came out a year later. She reappeared and only then we learnt that she had spent the previous year studying in… CANADA!
At this point I have to stress that at that time Canada, USA, Europe… that was something beyond anyone’s wildest dreams/ The awe and amazement at this news can hardly be described to anyone who didn’t live in ‘behind the curtain’ reality. At that particular moment the curtain was presumed to be lifted already, yet none of us could even imagine themselves going anywhere even nearer.. let alone CANADA!
Even more shocking was the reason she had been there. She had presumably been granted this honour as the school’s best pupil!
This was the outrageous part. Because we were also students of this school.. I was ashamed of what they (in Canada) could think about us now. They must have thought that we were idiots here – well, since she was the best student..
Of course, you could always hope that they had put it down to the language barrier because ‘the best student of our school’ hardly knew any English. But it was a whole year, surely one could have drawn some conclusions even with the language barrier.
To spend a year in Canada as an exchange student at THAT time – man! It had to be someone unique, someone really talented and an achiever…To be presented by a person like that!?!
But what choice did we have. No one ever informed anyone about such Canada opportunities – neither children, nor their parents. ‘Such and Such’es excluded ordinary people even out of the information flow not to mention selection process.
As we continued our studies and our new lives in the ‘without the curtain’ reality, here and there you could meet someone who would say that they had spent some time with a foreign family or studied somewhere for a period. Such children would always be from affluent families of those near the power – those who didn’t live on what they earned alone (~took bribes) and redistributed the Aid (between themselves). Yes, the Aid! At that time we also started hearing about the Aid - the Aid they (capitalistic countries) were sending us.
Once I virtually missed such ‘Aid’ arriving even to me as my school's student. I had fallen ill and stayed in that day. My younger sister brought me some of the ‘Aid’ however – that was a couple of tiny tangerines. She also said that at school you could have had many but there had also been many who wanted tangerines. The sister said the headmistress had even brought her grandchild that day so that the grandchild could also have some free tangerines. So I missed a truly big day…
When I personally met some of those who had spent time with foreign families I always wondered: can’t they there (abroad) see that those they receive are not poor children in desperate need of help and aid? Do they ever wonder? Try to influence the situation? Probably..
I believe some people must have suspected what was truly going on. Did they feel.. fooled, too? Used? Did they realized that they were helping people who could obviously help themselves far better?
Yet, it also became obvious that there were those who would still help the 'Such and Such' class for a very definite reason - because they wanted connections, for business, politics or other..
As I see the photo of a young-fan-star-of-the-Internet I know how many other young fans (or not-so-fans even) must feel - the same that we felt when we had learnt about… Canada!?! COME ON! THIS IS.. SUCH A FAKE!
And there’s a feeling that there is a totally different world… Where you are totally excluded. Because that is the world where Such and Such rule with the aid of any means they can get their hands on. It’s never enough for them and their kids, and kids, and nephews, and nieces etc etc etc.. And who are you? The would where somebody who gets things just like that.. presumably because of.. luck? ; ) Lies…
PS) The young-fan-star-of-the-Internet turned out to be a son of a middle-aged Ukrainian MP. The papers who had first hyped him up, then sold another titbit of news... http://like.lb.ua/celebrities/2012/06/13/8402_malenkiy_zvezdabolelshchik.html
NOTE: If you are looking for a freelance writer in Russian, English or Ukrainian, eng-ru-eng translator, get in touch with me, and we will discuss it. Sometimes, I ghost-write texts for other people to be posted on various Internet sites or otherwise used. I can read a few foreign languages and turn out materials based on versatile sources. My mail is mumikuku_at_mail.ru (replace _at_ with the proper at-symbol).