Friday, November 19, 2004

Ukraine Migraine

Help! I'm under attack from the people of Ukraine!

I kid you not...people in Ukraine are assaulting me...albeit electronically.

I logged onto my corporate web-based email this morning to find perhaps 300 messages from people in Ukraine. They are all the same email...they start out like this:

Esteemed Editors, Columnists and Media Representatives,

We ask you, sir, madam, that with the pending elections in Ukraine on Sunday, your paper objectively examine the battle underway in Ukraine, not between east and west, but between forward-thinking reform and the embracing of democratic values, on the one hand and an inevitable return to Russian domination in the political, economic, and social spheres and the demise of democracy on the other. There has been much coverage, but little has ventured to document the essence of what is currently occurring in this geopolitically significant nation of 48 million.

Then they go on and on about stuff of which I have no knowledge....and to be frank, not a great deal of interest.

I have been a news broadcaster for almost 30 years. I have never written a story on Ukraine or even "the Ukraine" when it was part of the Soviet Union. I'm fairly certain my only real exposure to Ukraine was in college when after 7 or 8 beers I think I invaded Ukraine during a late night game of Risk. I could be wrong about that; it might very well have been Uzbekistan or Uruguay. It might have been more than 7 or 8 beers too.

Anyway, once I got to the office, I was able to access more features of the email system. I set up rules to automatically delete any email that mentioned Ukraine (if you wrote me on that topic today, please don't think I'm ignoring you...unless you wrote me 700 times... in which case I am ignoring you, or at least trying to).

However at home I have no choice but to use a web based system to access my office email, and that system won't apply my rules. That means I have to individually mark each email and delete it. Therefore to find out if I have any email dealing with a subject of importance, or at least of this continent, I have been forced to delete page after page of Ukrainian political propaganda each urging me to use my "esteemed" influence in their election.

The last thing I did before I left the office today was delete every remaining Ukrainian email.

When I got home, perhaps 40 minutes later, I logged into my corporate account to find this:

Click to enlarge

I realize you can't see them very well, but believe me they all say the same thing, and that's only one page. There are pages of pages of them.

Apparently there is a runoff election of some sort in Ukraine on Sunday and for some reason I have obviously been targeted as someone who can turn the tide. I checked my web statistics to see if perhaps somehow my blog had become popular in Ukraine, but according to this highly technical graph, it doesn't appear so.

Click to enlarge

That's a least my personal web site isn't a rallying point for the Ukrainian resistance. I'm only considered a man of "esteemed" influence at the office...of course you have to go to a breakaway former Soviet republic to find someone who believes that.

I'm mystified. How did I get on this list? No one else in my office is a target of Ukrainians with obsessive compulsive election disorder....only me.

I didn't even want to get that involved in our country's I'm supposed to editorialize for Ukraine's future?

Honestly, at this point I'm almost tempted to get involved.

Of course I'd have to figure out which candidate opposes freedom of speech.