It was both a symbol and a symptom of the revolution that rippled across Ukraine last week. On Thursday, as the presenter of state-controlled UT-1's main morning news program was updating viewers on the Central Electoral Commission's decision to declare Prime Minister Viktor Yanukovych the winner of the country's Nov. 21 presendential vote, Natalya Dmitruk, the woman who translates broadcasts into sign language, decided to send a very different message. "When the presenter started to read the news," Dmitruk tells Time, "I said, 'I address all deaf viewers. Yushchenko is our President. Do not believe the Electoral Commission. They are lying.' " In a week filled with remarkable acts of political protest, Dmitruk's silent rebellion was one of the most defiant.
Pretty damned amazing. My first thought was that someone ought to turn that into a play. My second was that I wish that I knew sign so that I could figure out when I'm being lied to. I need a Natalya Dmitruk.
I really do wish that I knew sign. I can finger spell very, very slowly and like all incompetents, I can finger spell better than I can comprehend the finger spelling of others. I know a few signs, a very few. (I can ask for a cup of tea in many languages.) One day I'll learn sign. I'll probably never aquire the guts that Natalya Dmitruk has.