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You're reading: Back Story: Ukraine proves naysayers wrong in Euro 2012

I would like to hear a big apology from those who, on the eve of the 2012 European football championship, wrote in overblown language and broadcast with selective video that Ukraine has a toxic and dangerous element of racism, discouraging some visitors from travelling to the host cities.
Let’s hear it: A giant mea culpa.

As the finals approach, I am reasonably confident that any isolated incidents of racism will be just that — rare incidents that would happen regardless of the country where the championships were held, with the possible exception of a pitch on Vatican territory.

The European leaders who stayed away from Ukraine due to its more oppressive political climate didn’t “dis” Ukraine’s political leaders. They disrespected the people of Ukraine, who are — many would agree — better than their leaders, who currently clock in with less than a 15 percent approval rating.

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