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27.11.2007 | Halya Coynash

Remembering together

   

On 24 November, people throughout the world joined Ukrainians in lighting candles in memory of the millions who died in an artificially caused famine – Holodomor 1932-1933.   Holodomor was not caused by blundering incompetence or cataclysms. A murderous regime took the grain away, surrounded villages with armed units and closed the borders.   Given the lies over decades, the figures range, however most believe at least 5 to 7 million people died.

One often hears arguments about whether this constitutes genocide as understood in the 1948 Convention.   There is no opportunity here to discuss this, nor would I wish to.  There was food, but it was taken away by force and people were prevented from saving themselves and their children from starvation. While there were famines throughout the USSR, it was in Ukraine and an area predominantly populated by Ukrainians that starvation was used as a deliberate weapon of terror and destruction. . If this does not constitute genocide as per the UN Convention, I would respectfully suggest that the latter is failing its role as a human rights document intended to identify human rights crimes and ensure they never happen again.

We are collecting signatures for an appeal to the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We ask for their cooperation in declassifying all documents in their possession pertaining to our common fate under the old totalitarian regime. We ask also for Russia to implement the recommendations in the recent UNESCO Resolution which Russia signed.

We also call in our appeal for Russia to join Ukraine and many other countries in recognizing the actions of the totalitarian regime of that time to have been genocide.

We wish to wrench this subject from the area of geopolitical considerations which make us cogs in some abstract machine on which we can have no impact.   We are adamant that Holodomor must be viewed solely within the context of ethics and law. .

This vital question of justice, memory and of safeguards for the future must be separated from all extraneous issues and grievances.

In the last week, our petition has been signed by many people in Ukraine, Russia and other counties. It is intended as a uniting force, aimed at removing artificially created obstacles and geopolitical arguments. 

With both our candles and this petition, we remember the victims of a crime against the Ukrainian nation and against all humanity.   We would ask you to join us.

You can read (and sign!) our covering letter and appeal (in three languages) at: http://maidanua.org/static/viol/1195265429.html 

 

Halya Coynash

Kharkiv Human Rights Protection Group, "Maidan" Alliance

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