There is an urgent need for Ukrainian society (both inside of Ukraine and the Ukrainian Diaspora, particularly in Canada, the USA and the EU) to assist in repelling external aggression, fighting terrorism, and to provide real assistance to Ukrainian citizens affected by this armed conflict.
The still unreformed institutions of the Ukrainian state are slow to act and inefficient. Therefore civil society must take a key role in repelling aggression and undertaking the current challenges of Ukrainian statehood. It was civil society that played a key role in the victory of the Maidan. The wide volunteer movement, developed in the shortest possible time and with minimal budgets for the needs of the anti-terrorist operation forces - from basic necessities to military equipment and the set up of a procurement system, production and logistics, unlike what is envisaged by the far-fetched and obsolete "regulations of the Soviet army".
People say the time for volunteer control of the procurement system has passed and that the army and the state are now handling this responsibility. The experience of foreign countries who were beyond their civil resources and military capabilities that managed to defend their independence in armed conflict, clearly shows that without the active involvement of civil society within the country as well as widespread support from the Diaspora in repulsing the aggression, the victory over a more powerful enemy would be practically impossible.
Now to discuss a little history. It is not a secret that the state of Israel was created in 1948, in spite of neighboring and international powers. Out of fear of economic and social consequences, and possible terrorist attacks from Arabic regimes, the main world powers, such as the US, UK, and France refused to support the creation of the young Jewish state in its war for independence, and even went so far as to impose an embargo.
Why did this happen? Maybe because of the notorious Anti-semitism? Perhaps, it may have influenced making decisions about the support or lack thereof for the Jewish state at this critical moment of its history. The main reason for the refusal to provide assistance to the small state, surrounded by powerful enemies, lies in pragmatic national interests of the largest world powers who are directly uninvolved in the conflict. No one wants to bet on the weak side in the conflict whether it be the most moral and righteous side. Whether we like it or not this is the essence of realpolitik. This was the concept that guided the main international players while choosing a side in the Arab-Israeli conflict in 1948-49.
All rational calculations showed that in 1948-1949, the State of Israel had practically no chance to not only have a military victory over the larger armies of Egypt, Syria, Transjordan, Lebanon (bordering Israel) and supported by Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Sudan and Yemen, which did not recognize Israel's right to exist, but also maintain their state even within decorative borders. It is important to mention that there was no army then, but a few paramilitary organizations which only had armaments which they were able to illegally sneak into the country and hide from the British Army and police forces who were constantly raiding in an effort to confiscate the weapons. In this situation only a miracle and those who we call "volunteers" could have helped Israel. This miracle happened. However, it occurred largely due to the efforts of numerous volunteers who did not expect nor wait for help from the UN (which for more than 60 years has expressed "extreme concern" about the Arab-Israeli conflict) or for the sending of peace keepers (which historically tend to leave their position only when there is a minimal risk to their life or health), or the appearance of a great leader in the country which may be able to solve all the problems overnight.
The approach of the Israeli volunteers was simple and pragmatic. They quickly started to raise money both within the country and in many communities around the world, appealed to ordinary citizens of all ethnicities and nationalities, not burdened by the difficult concepts of "geopolitics", "national interests", and other "concerns". Those who understood the true meaning of honor, conscience, and common sense, were ready to give support to the emergency nongovernmental defense fund.
In the face of ongoing all-out war, an international embargo and other negative domestic and international factors, the young State of Israel, in a matter of months, used this money to buy, deliver and transfer all the necessary arms, ammunition and other military equipment to it's units of the IDF.
The formula for their success still has not lost its relevance and is fully applicable to Ukrainian realities and conditions and in as follows: the main ally for every state in the struggle for independence is his own people (citizens + foreign Diaspora + decent and caring people from all over the world); the best thing that civil society within a country and friends abroad can do, is raise lots of money for the army and security agencies of the state defending itself; the funds raised shall be used for the procurement of military equipment, systems and weapons in such an amount, class and quality that will achieve a qualitative advantage over the aggressor, in the shortest possible time and thereby neutralize its quantitative superiority in terms of manpower and equipment.
So how was this accomplished in Israel? In 1939, after a series of violent pogroms against Jews in Europe by the German Nazis Kristallnacht, emerged the "United Jewish Appeal" - an American Jewish philanthropic organization, whose main objective was the provision of financial assistance to Jewish victims of the Nazi regime. It collected $30 million in 1939, which by the standards of that time was a tremendous amount, comparable to that of the budgets of some small countries. After the creation of the State of Israel, the leadership of the organization called for new contributions and was able to raise 200 million dollars in 1948! Every year the contributions even increased! This money went to the aid of "displaced persons" kept in Cyprus and Eastern Europe, for the rescue of the Jews from pogroms in Arab countries, support of the Jewish settlements and army and other key state institutions. In 1967, in connection with the Six Day War, the organization was able to collect 322 million dollars for the Emergency fund. Major contributions were raised from the Jewish Diaspora in North America. In 1978, 249 American Jewish communities took 55 Israeli settlements under their patronage. More than three million people have received assistance and were often spared from deadly threats, thanks to the funds collected by the United Jewish Appeal through the whole period of its activity (more than 1.8 million people arrived in Israel as new immigrants and were assisted financially by the fund). About 690 American Jewish communities took part in the work of the United Jewish Appeal. In the 1990's the organization was collecting more than 1 billion dollars annually! This is an example of real and substantial not verbal assistance to its people, state and army in critical moments of national history.
Is it possible that Ukrainian Diaspora is much weaker?
Today the Ukrainian Diaspora is tens of millions of people around the world, significantly bigger than the Jewish community all together, which has proved the efficiency and strength of organized civil society. In the U.S. and Canada, the Ukrainian Diaspora numbers 2 to 3 million Ukrainians (according to different estimates), and in Poland - about half a million. There are also other countries where many Ukrainians live such as the EU, Australia, Latin America and of course multi-million Ukrainian Diaspora in Russia.
There is no doubt that the joint efforts of these Diasporas may, without undue hardship, form a second defense budget of Ukraine. However, it is important to ensure this money is not for consumption, kickbacks, tenders, or a "Potemkin village", or for buying second hand equipment from the 70s-90s, but for the purchase of the most modern, efficient and effective technologies, as well as systems and weapons from the vast world arms market.
Our main goal is UUA - United Ukrainian Appeal, an organization, that instead of siphoning off resources, will merge the efforts of many Patriotic projects of civil society into one cooperative and unique group. This will bypass dealing with the excessively bureaucratic machines of the Cabinet of Ministers, Ministry of Defense, Ministry of Interior, etc. It will allow the purchasing and sending to front line combat units, in the shortest possible time, the most effective and essential systems and equipment for modern armies (primarily foreign made), which includes, armament, protective equipment, medical care necessities, etc. It will also provide the most effective training to commanders, soldiers and combat medics.
The main sources of money for the Emergency Fund can be:
- target company for emergency fund raising among members (congregates, followers) of Ukrainian churches and religious organizations, and other community-based organizations located abroad;
- voluntary donations from individuals living abroad, foreign companies and non-profit organizations;
- donations from a wide range of Pro-Ukrainian forces and citizens of Western countries, who are aware of the seriousness of the threat to their states, in the case Ukraine fails to repel the aggression;
- charity concerts, performances and other events;
- other sources.
In order to minimize costs and reduce the time it takes to act, it is proposed in the first phase to collect donations through the existing charitable organizations: 1 Ukrainian, 1 from USA, 1 from Canada and 1 from the EU countries.
Each Fund will open a special account to receive donations exclusively within the framework of the UUA initiatives to avoid any confusion with other projects of the aforementioned funds.
Funds shall, every week, inform the Secretariat of the UUA of the collected funds and account activity.
1. Board of UUA may be composed of leaders of the main Patriotic Ukrainian religious denominations, prominent representatives of Ukrainian culture, science, politics and business, as well as key leaders of Diaspora structures. The Board should include both local and foreign Ukrainian philanthropists.
With such composition, the Board the UUA aims to provide a high moral authority for the organization and inspiration of potential supporters (sponsors, patrons, benefactors) with confidence in the correctness of their actions in support of Ukraine during a difficult historical period.
UUA Board reserves the right to direct funds, priorities, and to monitor and oversee the use of funds.
2. The Executive Secretariat of the UUA is a permanent body consisting of volunteers and other honest professionals, able to organize work in fund raising, coordination, efficient use of funds, logistics and reporting.
Executive Secretariat of the UUA shall be accountable to the Board.
3. The Board of Trustees of the UUA consists of legal and physical persons providing UUA services and guidance and/or assistance in the implementation of projects and programs.
Main Trustees may be well known volunteers and volunteer organizations, journalists, bloggers, public figures, and businessmen.
Main objectives of the Organization:
To help Ukraine and its people in emergency situations:
A) procurement of arms and military equipment (wide range) from those ready to sell. Despite the generation of media information that supposedly no one is willing to provide weapons and military systems to Ukraine, this is not true, i.e. in a free market there are a large number of companies ready to provide the most modern weapons, subject to the confidentiality and timely payment for supplies, with the absence of corruption schemes, because many suppliers are not willing to work according to the system of "kickbacks".
B) Financing of soldiers' and officers' education and training* by the best domestic and foreign instructors. Training is of the most importance for a military force. Despite the fact that negotiations are underway for free training and instruction, we must understand that in the best case, the training will be conducted by non-Russian speaking instructors, not in the ATO zone, and not even in Kiev, but at the Yavoriv military ground. Reality dictates the need for training the maximum number of soldiers and officers in the shortest possible time , both in the rear, and for those already deployed in the ATO zone. First of all, in order to do this, we need to immediately approve a training/retraining program that is relevant to the realities of the conflict in the Donbas, as well as twenty-first century warfare and attract foreign instructors with extensive experience in modern warfare.
A new modern Ukrainian army must quickly move from outdated Soviet strategies, tactics, organizational structure, staff work, items, weapons, logistics and practices. It must advance towards the relevant standards of the USA, NATO countries, Israel and other advanced armies of the world, and be adapted to Ukrainian realities.
C) A program of assistance and integration for refugees and those who wish to leave territory that is temporarily occupied by the Russian Federation and Ukrainian terrorists (separatists). A successful country is impossible while in the state of separation and confrontation. Unity is the key to success.
United Ukrainian Appeal needs to become a unifying and motivating factor for the Ukrainian people both in Ukraine or anywhere in the world. It will consolidate the powers of civil society into powerful assistance for the Ukrainian state, the Armed Forces of Ukraine, statutory law enforcement agencies of Ukraine, as well as victims of the occupation and armed conflict on Ukrainian territory.
Right now, the main assistance that can be provided by Ukrainians around the world and those who are sympathetic to Ukraine, are voluntary donations to the Emergency Relief Fund of Ukraine.
We guarantee that funds collected in the Emergency Relief Fund of Ukraine will be used with maximum efficiency towards the rapid resupplying of ATO forces with advanced technologies and systems, and training in accordance with the best Western standards.
At this stage the UUA has received the support and blessings from the leaders of the main religious confessions of Ukraine, a number of prominent patriotic Ukrainian businessmen, and those friendly to Ukraine NGO's and movements abroad.
Join the people's initiative!
Every person is important for us!
Together we will protect Ukraine!
• It should be noted that training in the leading armies of the world, is much longer and of higher quality than the troops may get in Ukrainian armed units. For example, during the Arab-Israeli wars, Israel was able to neutralize the numerical superiority of the Arab armies at the expense of long-term training of personnel. For instance, in the Israeli Special Forces, military training lasts up to 2 years before the first combat mission, and the preparation of a simple infantryman is six months (compared with 2-4 weeks in the Ukrainian forces). We are aware that the training that we give is able to not only minimize human losses, but also significantly reduce the financial burden on the state and the private sector.
Kostyantyn Parshyn, Tzvi Arieli, James M. UUA for Censor.NET.