Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 01.01.2018
Human rights matter. Women’s rights matter. A Ukrainian woman, Anna Muzychuk (born in 1990, on the left) is leading by example, taking a stand on principle, and is making the world a better place. Unfortunately, she is suffering personally for her moral courage.
Anna Muzychuk is a chess grandmaster. In 2016, she won the Women’s World Rapid Chess Championship and the Women’s World Blitz Chess Championship. She is so famous in Ukraine that she and her sister Mariya (the 2015 Women’s World Chess Champion, born in 1992, on the right) were featured on a Ukrainian postage stamp.
The 2017 Women’s World Speed Chess Championship is being held in Saudi Arabia. The World Chess Federation (FIDE, from its name in French) chose this location despite knowing that Saudi Arabia is a gross violator of human rights and imposes restrictions on women which it does not impose on men. It offends moral conscience that an international women’s chess championship would be held in such a wasteland of women’s rights as Saudi Arabia. For reasons of profit only, FIDE chose Saudi Arabia.
Anna Muzychuk made a decision to abide by her moral conscience and not participate in the FIDE-Saudi Arabia travesty. On December 23, Anna Muzychuk wrote: “In a few days I am going to lose two World Champion titles – one by one. Just because I decided not to go to Saudi Arabia. Not to play by someone’s rules, not to wear abaya, not to be accompanied getting outside, and altogether not to feel myself a secondary creature. Exactly one year ago I won these two titles and was about the happiest person in the chess world but this time I feel really bad. I am ready to stand for my principles and skip the event, where in five days I was expected to earn more than I do in a dozen events combined. All that is annoying, but the most upsetting thing is that almost nobody really cares. That is a really bitter feeling, still not the one to change my opinion and my principles. The same goes for my sister Mariya – and I am really happy that we share this point of view. And yes, for those few who care – we’ll be back!”
FIDE is notorious for corruption in the world of chess, but it does not come close to matching the appalling corruption of the International Federation of Association Football (FIFA, from its name in French). FIFA intends to hold the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the country that is invading Europe in Ukraine and has killed over 10,000 Europeans in almost four years of continuous warfare. By acting out of principle against FIDE corruption, Ms Muzychuk shines a light on the lack of principle on those who choose to participate in the FIFA-Russia travesty, despite knowing the criminal conspiracy between Sepp Blatter and Vladimir Putin that underlies the whole thing.
Anna Muzychuk is losing chess championships but gaining world-wide respect for herself and for Ukrainian women. FIDE and Saudi Arabia come out of this looking the way they are: money-grubbing, bereft of moral principle, ignorant of the dignity and worth of the human person as embodied in international human rights. The FIFA-Russia travesty about to unfold is thrown into sharper relief. Countries that boycott World Cup 2018 will be following the principled stand of a real champion, Anna Muzychuk. Countries that support World Cup 2018 will be saying “yes” to corruption, the abuse of human rights, and war.