Fictional History For The Ukrainian Heart

Given the current situation in Europe, especially with regard to events happening in Ukraine, Crimea and stemming from the Russian leadership, I felt it necessary to keep a low profile in this situation and these events.

That might seem to contradict the fact that one of the key characters from my books and stories is of Ukrainian descent.

More accurately, her father, a construction engineer emigrated from Ukraine (which at the time was part of the U.S.S.R.) to Montreal in Canada where he met a  lively Montrealer in the late 1980s.

In order for her father to have made this move, he had to defect. The decision and the process had been a difficult one for him, for the year before he made it, the last of his own surviving parents had died leaving him with no living family. He'd lost his grandparents during World War II, with both of his parents having only met just after the war had ended.

He was born in Kiev (as it was known back then) on January 12, 1946 and named Volodymyr Fadeyushka. As he would later tell his wife, Amélie, there had been a passing parade at the moment of his birth as was common in post war Ukraine as it was throughout the U.S.S.R., which at that time was only in its early twenties. 

During the parade the marching band had been playing Mussogorsky's Great Gate Of Kiev, prompting Volodymyr's parents to later tell him that he'd come to them through the Great Gate itself, with a marching band heralding his arrival.

Arriving at the decision to defect had been a difficult one initially as it would be for anyone whose ties were so forged with their own home. With no surviving family and dwindling work amidst rising turmoil in Ukraine, he set about coming up with a plan where he could carry the tradition of his family and his people to found new roots and flourish in another part of the world.

That plan culminated in an opportunity to participate as a Construction Engineering representative for his own people during the Expo 67 event in Montreal. As an Engineer, he'd designed and worked on some of the most advanced new buildings in Ukraine in the post war effort to rebuild. As those contracts dried up, he'd found that future opportunities had dried up with them.

One of the organizers of Expo 67, an Architect by the name of Xavier Dubois had become aware of Volydymyr's work on some of these buildings in Ukraine and had invited him as a guest speaker to the upcoming Expo. 

Volodymyr accepted the invitation and went about arranging for the necessary permissions to leave Ukraine, under the assumption that he'd return after his time at the Expo. During the course of the Expo and with the help of fellow British Engineer James Madison, he managed to secretly communicate to Xavier that he wished to defect to Canada.

Xavier and James, using some of their own contacts arranged for representatives of the Canadian Government to meet with him and see his plans through to completion. After he'd been debriefed by Canadian authorities, he went through the process of receiving his Canadian citizenship.

He was quickly hired by an Engineering firm to oversee a number of modern projects throughout South Eastern Canada. He'd often write essays for the trade papers in his field, where he sung the praises of his former Ukraine, one day hoping they'd extricate themselves from their membership in the U.S.S.R. and achieve their independence. He would marvel that you can take the citizen out of Ukraine, but you can never take the Ukrainian out of the citizen. As it would turn out, in 1991 he would get that wish, as Ukraine would become independent once again.

It was through his work publishing for Engineering journals that he met his wife Amélie. She had been the managing editor for the most popular peer reviewed of such journals, and met him at a function in Montreal on June of 1988. Three months later and Volodymyr proposed to Amélie. They were married in January of 1989. Both continued their lives as working professionals living in Montreal until in 1994, Amélie agreed with Volodymyr that they should start a family.

They had their first and only daughter on August 6 of 1995. They'd agreed that if their child was a girl, that Amélie would name her and if their child was a boy, that Volodymyr would bestow his name. 

Amélie on that day named their daughter Monique Sheri Defleur-Fadeyushka.

From her first moments, it was obvious that Monique was destined to be the center of attention and certainly an entertainer at that. When Amélie had turned her attention to one of the doctors after Monique's birth, Monique had gurgled her first noises trying desperately to draw her mother's attention away from the doctor and back to her.

Only six years later would her parents attend their child's first live performance in a school play, hence securing their confidence that their daughter would eventually find her way to show business with her mother's wit and allure and her father's dedication and perseverance. They'd also joke that she'd certainly make it as a result of her mother's temper and her father's uncompromising stubbornness. It was that fiery French and that Unyielding Ukrainian in her that be a present force in her future.

At the age of nineteen, her parents would come face to face with that same fiery boldness that had led her to the stage at six, and had led to her father Volodymyr's setting out on his own for Canada.

Monique thinking she knew it all, left home with little opportunity or future on her horizons, believing that by her first job as a waitress, she could make her way in the world without her parent's assistance.

She struggled for years, confronting some of the most challenging situations an attractive woman of her persona could face, but every time her mother's wit and temper and her father's boldness and stubbornness would save her. However, she reached a time in her life where her opportunities had run out and for the first time, she had nowhere to go having fled an abusive relationship in Toronto.

At the moment she'd decided never to go back, it was then that fate had come to her in the form of Heylyn Yates. Monique had been reading On The Shore Of The Eternal River by Ukrainian author Lina Kostenko when Heylyn, who'd walked into her favourite Cafe to buy her morning Chai Latte before she started her day, noticed Monique seated at one of the tables.

You see, Heylyn, a woman whose family had emigrated to Canada from China, retaining their strong ties to their East Asian home, was a prominent fashion designer in Toronto. As fate would have it, she'd been short handed, not having found the right model to take part in an upcoming show for the presentation of her spring lineup.

Upon seeing Monique, she realized she'd found the perfect woman for the show.

Heylyn approached Monique, starting with small talk first, asking Monique about her book. When she discovered that Monique also had a flair for wit and friendly charm, she presented her with an opportunity. The opportunity to become a model at her fashion company, the popular West Meet East International design firm.

On the outside, Monique played it casually and modestly, taking her time to consider the offer, even asking if there was a financial opportunity to accompany or if it was just a scam looking for a free body in a bikini to populate a stage as a publicity stunt.

"You certainly have a spark," Heylyn smiled at her.

"Yes. There is a sizeable financial opportunity for you to make an honest living, but you're going to have to earn it. You'll get paid along the way, but you won't find the real reward until you're well into that journey, because I have to know that you're disciplined and dedicated," Heylyn assured Monique.

"Can I think about it? Call you tomorrow?" asked Monique, who was down to her last fifty dollars.

"Sure. Call me first thing tomorrow morning. Around 10 AM would be good," Heylyn agreed as Monique was beaming inside.

As Heylyn bid her farewell and headed for the door, Monique exploded:

"Wait!" she yelled at Heylyn, who turned around calmly and with a smile on her face.

"I'll take it!" Monique agreed and the rest is West Meet East International and Butterfly Dragon history.

Monique from that point forward would become one of the key characters in my own Butterfly Dragon series, her Ukrainian and French roots often touted and mentioned in the stories and books.

Our Current Situation

In all irony, years after this encounter, her and Heylyn would come to know Katya and Victor Piotr as a result of their participation in the Western Delegation, a mission to found ties to the Asian Alliance, a treaty based organization unifying several countries in Asia and Oceania in terms of regional policy such as health care, environment and economy.

Doctors Katya and Victor Piotr are both experts in biology, especially in the study of Phages and Emergent Biological Systems. They too have their initial roots in the U.S.S.R., being citizens of modern Russia and from families with ties to the former ruling party of the U.S.S.R.  In the world of the Butterfly Dragon, there is no conflict of the nature currently happening in our world as I write this and I honestly wish that was the case in ours.

Hence, there is much cooperation and growth happening amidst some social and environmental challenges that their world is facing. There are seeds being sewn that might lead to conflict, but it is in a state where most of the global focus is related to preventing environmental disaster rather than global inter-state political theory conflict.

When this current crisis in our world began, I was faced with the prospect that I might use Monique to give a political voice to the Ukrainian people amidst the Russian forces invading the country. After much consideration, I decided that would ultimately be very irresponsible of me to do.

I can say that if Monique were here and speaking with me now, that she'd feel very strongly about the situation, as she feels a strong bond with her father and his stubbornness and unwillingness to yield at times, and when it comes to one's independence and freedom, that's a good quality to have but it has to be coupled with wisdom, diplomacy and the ability to communicate. When faced with a angered enemy, it is always wisest to remain reasonable rather than to follow suit, all while allowing your enemy the same grace.

Two enraged beasts will never yield to one another. One enraged and one calm will fail to find compromise, and yet two calm and rational minds might find compromise without the necessity to yield. It would pay to find out what has lead to this outcome so far by dealing with Russia and hearing them out in full. 

Most sudden and aggressive action is the result of one's pleas falling upon the ears of the ignorant or in some cases the act of riling or radicalizing another party secretly to the point they attack with no apparent reason.

At the same time, Monique's mother's influence upon her personality would inspire her instead to focus on ways to find a cessation to the situation, while ensuring that all of those at threat were safe, had roofs over their head and their mouths well fed.

Monique herself would be ill equipped without her friends to deal with this situation as a whole. Hence, Heylyn, Alicia, Valerie, Kori and Troy would certainly need to be a part of her support group in helping her to see this situation through to a fair and prosperous outcome, without the yielding of independence or freedom, or failing to give our listening ears to our enemies so that they may explain their grievances.

I would even go so far to say that the Sanctum itself from my A Lady's Prerogative books would certainly be needed in this situation as well. Both Ukraine and Russia have a long cultured history, especially in the arts, the strong point of the character Mila Rendebelle from A Lady's Prerogative. 

Coupled with Yirfir Lacharme's and Jasmer McCavanaugh's propensity for diplomacy, they would certainly contribute much to progress in the situation, though the world is full of many similarly inspired and hearted such people.

In order for most conflict to continue, it requires that everything we consider be one sided. In order to solve conflict, we need both sides on board and to arrive at compromise. That's my humble opinion and I'm certain that it echoes the same such opinions in the people and the world leadership alike.

Hopefully, we as the public aren't getting only one side of the story, though I tend to trust our journalists for objective coverage.

Supporting Ukrainian Refugees

So, I'm going to support on behalf of Monique through the United Nations Refugee Agency, a global organization through which you can donate money from most any part of the world. Shhhh! Digital Media and I are both Canadian and live in Toronto, Canada from where we'll be supporting UNHCR.

If you're from the United States you can double your impact by supporting the United Nations Refugee Agency efforts to ensure that the Ukrainian refugees dishoused by the crisis have the essentials they need to survive. The American effort is being backed by the kind efforts of Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds, who have pledged to back every dollar up to 1 Million dollars (USD) in support of those Ukrainian families in need as a result of this crisis, like the true superheroes they are.

I should clarify that Shhhh! Digital Media has nothing to do with the name Shea, though I do love their dairy products and still remember them from when I was a kid, even here in Canada ;-)

Those of you who read or pay attention to my goings on here, I'd ask that you watch my back and protect my content and identity from theft by others, which seems to be frequently happening in addition to the efforts of others to replace my own identity with that of someone else. Where others in my community and elsewhere take over my own identity while forcing a different identity upon me. 

That's why my picture is almost always at the bottom of every post. Not because I'm egotistical, because I'm not. I just want to ensure that there's something associated with each post that's linked to my own identity of Brian Joseph Johns.

Thank you for taking the time to read this post and this is the closest thing I can offer to being additional writing for the current round of stories. Perhaps this week I'll consider ending my moratorium on writing.

FYI, Katya and Victor Piotr are planned to make appearances in both A Lady's Prerogative III: Singularity and The Butterfly Dragon III: The Two Dragons.

To both Ukrainians and Russians, 

hear each other and find the peace 

long before you unleash the beast.

Brian Joseph Johns

<== me, 6 feet tall and about 170 lbs and without my glasses

<== me again, with my glasses