Editor's Notes

Friday, October 23, 2009
True North Perspective
Vol. 4, No. 48 (199)

Triumphs of the human spirit

There are different kinds of tears of happiness
and in this edition we bring you two extremes

Kseniya Simonova, the winner of TV show contest 'Ukraine's Got Talent', creates a drawing in sand in Yevpatoria, Sept 24, 2009. Photograph: Stringer/Russia/Reuters
Kseniya Simonova, the winner of TV show contest 'Ukraine's Got Talent', creates a drawing in sand in Yevpatoria, Sept 24, 2009. Photograph: Stringer/Russia/Reuters

There are different kinds of tears of happiness. In the extreme, one kind is the tears of elation that come when we participate in, or identify with others who know the satisfaction of victory after a long hard struggle. The other kind comes from the sheer joy of living.

Today True North Perspective brings you both.

The first has to do with the brilliant artistic ability of a 24-year-old Ukrainian woman whose work made a nation cry. Using a light box and sand she creates the sense of peace and tranquility that existed in her country before the Germans, led by that rightwing lunatic Hitler, attacked the Soviet Union in June 1941.

Before the Red Army was able to stop the Nazi war machine cold at Stalingrad and then broke its back at Kursk in the largest armoured battle in history, the Ukraine was entirely overrun. Out of a population of 40 million, ten million were lost. That’s almost the whole population of Canada at the time.

Kseniya Simonova is a Ukrainian artist who just won Ukraine's version of "America's Got Talent." She uses a giant light box, dramatic music, imagination and "sand painting" skills to interpret Germany's invasion and occupation of Ukraine during WWII.

The opening scene shows a couple sitting on a bench under a starry sky. Warplanes appear and the happy scene is obliterated to be replaced by crying faces. Then a baby arrives and the woman smiles again, but war and chaos return and a young woman becomes an old widow, before the image turns into an obelisk — the Ukrainian monument to its Unknown Soldier.

At the very end of this brilliant ephemeral work of art a mother at a window holds a baby out to a joyful military man returning home after defeating the Germans.

The artist then writes in sand in commemoration of the ten million her country lost in the war, "You are still with us."

Ukraine lost one in four of its population during the Second World War, the largest losses of any country and about 20 per cent of the total deaths in all countries.

Simonova has returned to ordinary life in the Crimean seaside town of Evpatoria, where she has used her £80,000 prize to buy a modest house and set up a children's charity.

Simonova has told interviewers she is happy to stay in Evpatoria and will not be travelling abroad to cash in on her growing global fan base. Her success has taken the young woman by surprise.

"I only entered because there was a child I know who needed an operation and I wanted to help," she said. "I did not mean to make the whole country cry."

Do Re Mi

Another experience that prompts tears of happiness is the sheer joy of living demonstrated recently in the Central Station at Antwerp, Belgium. After only two rehearsals more than 200 dancers from men to eight-year-old girls converge on the early morning work-bound crowd to the glorious voice of Julie Andrews.

The dancers were performing their version of "Do Re Mi". With just 2 rehearsals they created this amazing stunt! These 4 fantastic minutes started at 08:00 a.m. on 23 March 2009. It was a promotion stunt for a Belgian television program looking for someone to play the leading role, in "The Sound of Music".

Please sample both videos and share triumphs of the human spirit.

Meanwhile, take it easy, but take it.

Looking forward.

Carl Dow
Editor and Publisher
True North Perspective

23 October 2009 — Return to cover.