Yevshan -- the herb of remembrance
When I posted the website of the Ukrainian online store called Yevshan down below, I suddenly remembered what the name means in Ukrainian.
The word "Yevshan" has a rather charming definition. It is the name of a legendary or mythical Ukrainian herb. This herb was said to have the magical power to cause the person who ate or drank it to remember who they really were. The reason for this is that in Ukrainian history, so many Ukrainians were taken prisoner and removed to the lands of the Turkish sultans. Many of them became Janissaries -- the foreign slave armies of the Turks. These Ukrainians were said to be in captivity for so long that they forgot their language and forgot their heritage. But if they were to be given this herb to drink -- they would remember who they were.
I've always thought that was such a lovely legend and it occurred to me that the people in the "maidan", the Independence Square in Kiev, who were demonstrating recently must have drunk this herb, because they have finally recovered their sense of self-identity -- of being Ukrainian.
Perhaps this is the antidote to the poison that was slipped into Yushchenko's food and which he said has been poured into the Ukrainian soul for so long.
Perhaps all nations need the herb of remembrance. Because any nation which forgets its roots loses its national identity -- and its will to survive.