Ola HnatiukFeb 8, 2022
Courage and Fear
(Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute 2019
Lemberg, Lwów, Lvov, Lviv… The city, which is located in the western part of Ukraine, evokes a highly entangled past that contains references to a number of nations, ethnicities, empires, states, and communities. They have their own (hi)story and they claim their right to make this story visible.
Ola Hnatiuk’s Courage and Fear (Harvard Ukrainian Research Institute, 2019) focuses on the crossroads of Polish, Jewish, and Ukrainian dwellers that happened to share one geographical space that, however, was fragmentized and diversified, shared and contested at a time. In addition to these three communities, there is an overbearing shadow of both Soviet and Nazi occupants. The triangle of the knotty relations of Polish, Jewish, and Ukrainian residents that makes one travel back in time in hopes to understand how contested legacy took shape and what influence it exercised on generations is further complicated by the arrival of forces whose status was hard to define. Hnatiuk delicately guides her readers into and through these entanglements and attempts to offer routes for uneasy and complicated conversations which, one way or another, touch upon the issues of choice and compromise, courage and responsibility, fear and hope. These are never black-and-white. Courage and Fear exposes unhealed wounds and invites readers to confront the uncomfortable and the painful.
Nataliya Shpylova-Saeed is a PhD candidate in the Department of Slavic and East European Languages and Cultures, Indiana University