An Open Letter to the World Irish Dance Association
from Ukrainian Irish dance schools

Ukrainian Irish dance schools are deeply concerned with lack of reaction on unprovoked war against Ukrainians and make the following appeal to the World Irish Dance Association.

 

Russia is conducting warfare with disregard to the key principle of the International Humanitarian Law, namely Geneva Conventions providing for distinction between civilians and combatants, or between civilian and military objects. The Russian military has already killed 161 children in Ukraine and 264 have been seriously injured. Hundreds of settlements were destroyed, thousands of people died from fighting, shelling, and war crimes in the occupied cities. According to the UN, more than 4 million refugees have left Ukraine, while an estimated 6.48 million people have been displaced within the country. Irish dancers from schools in Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Irpin, Kyiv, Odesa, Sumy and other cities are among those escaping the unprecedent violence against peaceful population from Russian military.

Russia is conducting warfare with disregard to the key principle of the International Humanitarian Law, namely Geneva Conventions providing for distinction between civilians and combatants, or between civilian and military objects. The Russian military has already killed 161 children in Ukraine and 264 have been seriously injured. Hundreds of settlements were destroyed, thousands of people died from fighting, shelling, and war crimes in the occupied cities. According to the UN, more than 4 million refugees have left Ukraine, while an estimated 6.48 million people have been displaced within the country. Irish dancers from schools in Kharkiv, Dnipro, Zaporizhzhia, Irpin, Kyiv, Odesa, Sumy and other cities are among those escaping the unprecedent violence against peaceful population from Russian military.

For more than ten years, Ukrainian schools were happy to be a part of the World Irish Dance Association and promote Irish dance in our country, as well as culture, language and music of Ireland. Let us assure you that we deeply appreciate the opportunities for international exchange of experience, the improvement of teaching and dance practices. However, today we are faced with a flagrant violation and disregard for our common values. For 40 days WIDA still has not realesed any statement condemning full-scale war of Russia against Ukraine. WIDA still communicates Ukrainian reality as a “conflict”. There is no mention of Russian aggression. No usage of the word “war”. During the time when Ukraine was and still is under relentless and devastating bombardment – a hundred times greater than the intensity of the bombardment of Syria – in the times of world-wide sanctions against Russia and their sportsmen, Russian schools of Irish dance, WIDA members, held feiseanna in Tomsk, Moscow, and Omsk.

In these tragic times, the whole world came together to support Ukraine. The world community has unanimously recognized the effectiveness of indiscriminate sanctions as a non-military tool to counter Russia's invasion. The list of sports and competitions banned or restricted Russia from participating is attached in the first commentary to this post.

Russian civil society encouraged the actions of the irremovable government for 22 years, including the occupation of the Autonomous Republic of Crimea and the armed aggression by the Russian Federation in Donbas. Citizens of the Russian Federation ignored these facts and paid taxes that were used to produce weapons and equip an army, which is now killing Ukrainians. With the complicity of citizens and on their behalf, terrible crimes are committed, such as tortures, looting, sexual assaults, and rapes. According to the latest sociological surveys, Russia's foreign policy is supported by the majority of the population.

Therefore, on behalf of the Irish dance community in Ukraine, we are asking for your solidarity and support. We call to boycott the Russian state now, until it completely withdraws its troops from Ukraine and is held responsible for its war crimes:

  • Suspend the Russian Irish dance schools’ participation in WIDA international events such as feiseanna, championships, etc.

  • Ban Russia from holding any competitions and events under the auspices of WIDA.

  • Suspend the participation of Russian judges, dancers, and teachers in Grade, TCRG, TMRF Examinations, and ADCRG Training.

  • Remove representatives affiliated with Russia from the decision-making bodies of WIDA.- Refuse any donations, contributions, fees, funding, or sponsorship from Russian organisations, schools, teachers, their proxies and affiliates based in other countries.

We would like to express deep appreciation for the support of WIDA`s schools and teachers who provided housing for Ukrainian refugees and raised funds for humanitarian purposes. The international Irish dance community has the power to help and to be a part of the joint efforts aiming to put an end to this war. We ask for your support in the name of democratic values, peace, and truth.

After eight years of military aggression against Ukraine, Russia has launched an unprecedented full-scale war against our country. Russian invasion has the potential of becoming bigger and even deadlier than any other conflict that took place in Europe since World War II. United in rage and determination, Ukrainians are fighting the aggressor on all fronts. Ukraine protects the European continent from evil in the form of Russian aggression that concerns every European and may affect every country.