Sunday, November 14, 2010

International Politics

I've tried to keep the focus of this blog on Canadian matters, but I want to make a slight diversion to include this article, since I feel the issue is one that affects us, and that we must be more cognizant of before it becomes our downfall; Canada may be considered a pathetic character by the rest of the world, but in our fight for greater relevancy we must guard against become a tragic figure. We shall not be Icarus.

To set the back-story; it is a huge industry to send Westerners overseas to teach English, since speaking English is considered a valuable asset in many countries. Just this fact alone should make us aware of the opportunity for exploitation. Many Americans consider people who do not speak English to be less intelligent, which is a failing on their part, fosters the notion that it is "right" that people should speak English, and if they do not then it is "their problem". From this precarious imbalance comes the following situation; a young girl in the Ukraine was attending an English language class taught by an American lawyer. From early transcripts of their discussions, she appeared to have a rough friendship with her teacher, reminiscent of the usual sort of teacher-student relationships that are common everywhere. During these he made statements (language warning) about his students and the Ukraine such as:

"This place is so monumentally fucked up it deserves whatever bad things ever happens to it"
“why are all you ukrainians so fucking stupid. and what was the bullshit about not taking the test, i give a fuck if your dumb ukrainian ass takes my test, i don't give a fuck about all of you (…) in fact, fuck you.” 
“one more thing you dumb bitch, you and her, are out of my class on thursday, you do not set foot in my company again or i will personally call the cops for you trespassing.”

She complained about his behavior, but graduated and, like survivors should, moved on.  However, he was her neighbor, so she could not simply evict him from her life. At the beginning of October, on the 9th, just before noon, she was returning home with groceries when he was returning home from his jog and he beganto berate her for being Ukrainian, then began to hit her, threw her to the ground, and spit on her. An elderly lady nearby yelled at him to stop but he told her to "shut up stupid cunt", and tried to drag her inside his home, repeating "ugly things of sexual kind".  At this point it becomes a bit confused, her English is not perfect, but he left her outside and she went to report to the police, who asked her why "he only pushed you, why did you call police"? and various other admonishments. They told her that the man would sue her since she was leading him on to get American citizenship. After three days she signed a paper saying she "refuse from claims" and left to rebuild her dignity.

She wonders on her website "Why do we tolerate foreigners, who insult our land, our nation, our history, our gains?" and "why do we keep bowing to everything western?". That we could allow this travesty to continue is unforgivable. 

In a handout by Compass magazine in March 2009,  the teacher states that he likes working in Kyiv because "the girls are beautiful" . In that same handout there is this joke: 

A wise schoolteacher sends this
note to all parents on the first day of
school: "If you promise not to believe
everything your child says that
happens at school, I'll promise not to
believe everything he says that
happens at home." 

What kind of an environment are we encouraging here?

I have no proof. I have no police reports. I have no information other than what has been provided by the student. Why? Because there appears to have been no investigation, no due process, no international outrage that an American could abuse his position as teacher so grossly as to threaten her with a lawsuit if she reports a crime that over in western society, we would be disgusted by.  Why is this being buried? Because he is expensive. It would cost too much to train and bring another one over. Her dignity and safety is worth less  than the cost of another English teacher. 

Can you recognize the pattern of his behavior? He was angry and ill-mannered online, then apologized; he attacked her and tried to drag her inside his house, then phoned her and apologized. This, for anyone not familiar, is the cycle of abuse. Abuse, then what's called a honeymoon phase, when everything seems better. But the abuse will escalate and if we do not address this issue now, the next news report will be more severe. Abusers almost never stop on their own. 

What if she's lying?
There's always that possibility. We should not allow ourselves to believe the victim in every circumstance since it will be eagerly exploited, such as the case in my own town of Morinville where a teacher was accused of sexually touching some students, who was cleared of all charges, and it is widely believed they made up the stories. I feel these incidents should carry heavy sentences for the liars. But we will not know if she is lying or not until an official investigation can be held, and it looks as though there will not be one, which does not look good.  However, she also does not divulge her name, which does not look good either.
One thing is for sure;  this needs to be looked into. And given that a month has passed already, this needs to be looked into as soon as possible, as the evidence disappears day by day.


Another Girl said...

Dear Michelle,

thank you for your comment and for sharing my story. In fact, I am afraid and the only thing I want is to eventually forget about it, the blog was an attempt to get it out of me by speaking it out n hearing what people say. I feel myself opressed and ashamed - dont know why. In my text there is no word of not truth. I dont need to lie about that, imagine smth and I dont need to keep on thinking of it. And of course I need no problems with anyone.
But I needed to speak out. I did it only after 1 month, because first month after I only tried to forget.
I felt hurt that someone, foreigner, teacher, can behave that way and nobody reacts, and the person, being a lawyer and teaching how it has to be, knows the drawbacks of our legal system and abuses them... and he used to underline it, for example, how great it is "that there are no teachers trade unions here" - that it "permits me to do all kinds of things" - he once said it during the lesson... (later i was told he dates his subordinate teachers) and other things... and how you get sued in the US if you only look at someone's breast in office... and how great it is here. He DID say these things during lessons.
I felt hurt for that it happens here. I felt anger for how imprudently it is done, how imprudently he shows disrespect... I truly felt hurt for this national issue and fully felt how sensitive national issue is. But after i saw that indeed nobody cares about what he says and how he abuses his position, after I saw indifference of my compatriots to all those ugly things... I lost a huge part of my patriotism. And in fact, it feels like this place deserves such things to happen with it, as he said before. Regarding justice and legal system... I will tell you an example, nowadays in the news you can read a lot about abuses by police, about death of ppl in police offices which are later called "suicides". And other ugly things... Beating ppl to make them sign on smth what they didnt do. I had only cockroach on my shoulder in police office - "home cockroach" as laughing policeman said. No, nobody put it on me. It ran over my jacket by itself becoming one more factor to make me give up the idea of fighting... Going to those ugly police offices trying to prove that I didnt want to marry him? Living again and agian through all that crap?...
Cmon... I had to take a lawyer with me, but I never was in such situations and in fact, it wasnt me who attacked so I even didnt think of lawyer.
Later, when I started paying attention on the news about police abuses, I thought that occasional cockroach was quite an okay thing... Justice here exists when you pay or when you have connections.
This place is indeed "monumentally fucked up" - he was right at the end of the day.
hm... only imagine it happening in Israel...wouldn't be possible to this extent.
Frankly, I am afraid to go out and became quite a paranoid now, started training at some self-defence course and it is the only thing that makes me feel better.

Anyway, thank you for your attention to my story and for your supportive words. And sorry for my English.

Another Girl said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Another Girl said...

I will link this post on my page

Another Girl said...


Jeff Mowatt said...

I know this story from the blog and it reminds me of the young man Albert Pavlov who said "It's not possible to keep silent" about how disabled children are treated in institutions . I think also of Oligarchs who use British law to suppress articles about their activity. I even know of a UK barrister who helps a smear campaign against me, because I speak out about the same thing as Albert.

Michelle Ernst said...

Is this the smear campaign you are referring to?

Or is it this one?

There are a lot of uncomfortable allegations surrounding you, Mr. Mowatt.

Another Girl said...

They want to make me keep silence, because it harms their business. The name of the blog, which is now in google and which was there before is hacked. Lawyer is expecting me to delete all the data about his name by monday. They said he will be dismissed only if there is some case against him, otherwise nobody is going to dismiss him so i should not harm their business. Please, spread information about this person around.

Michelle Ernst said...

The police are still insisting they have no case against him? Is there anywhere else you ask to investigate? I was hoping some International media would pick up the story but no one has so far. I need to look into my country's liability laws, I'm unsure if I can include him name or not.

But I agree. I'm telling everyone I can about this.

Jeff Mowatt said...

"There are a lot of uncomfortable allegations surrounding you, Mr. Mowatt. "

Indeed and as one involved in law enforcement you should know the true value of anonymous allegations.

As a trusted participant in pro-democracy activism in Ukraine I was approached by and gave support to Another Girl as she requested.

Another Girl said...

Okay people.
I will delete his name, but I am not giving up. :)
See you later.
if you like, my e-mail on this issue now is askmewhoattackedme at - it will be given as link on my page if people want to know more. I was told by their lawyer that i kinda cant accuse him in public, but in private can say whatever.

Anonymous said...

Not all foreigners are cads. in the same way not all Ukrainians are as described in this article. I am sorry you had to experience Te worst of the worst. Sadly there are those who come from the developed world that think Ukraine is somehow substandard below par. The fact is they are not. In many cases Ukrainians are better educated then in the west. Some westerners take advantage of Ukraine and make out they are something they are not. One such organization pretending they are an International economic development company when they are nothing more then a rubber stamp. a piece of paper and computer. Some try to claim they are involved in Charity work hen they are not, Some claim they are Teachers of English when they are not. Many are in Ukraine working illegally. I suggest you have the authorities look into the persons immigration/visa status. I wish you all the best and ask that you not judeg all foreigners for the abuse of some.