1932-1933 Ukrainian Famine Commemoration
"… When I awoke, before the dawn, amid their sleep I heard my sons…weep and ask for bread…"
(from Dante's description of Hell)
This year we begin to mark the 70th anniversary of the enforced famine of 1932-33, engineered by the Soviet regime in which some 7-10 million Ukrainians perished. The sheer numbers alone would qualify this entry as the world's most massive genocide. We honor the millions of victims of this most heinous mass crime ever committed by man against man. Historians conclude that no nation lost more than the Ukrainian during the XX century. Together the famines, purges, persecutions and wars resulted in some twenty million lives lost.
The quintessence of today's commemoration lies not only in reflection. Seventy years ago when Ukrainians were being brutally murdered, many governments in the so called free world were establishing diplomatic relations with the Soviet Union. Worse, even the free press conspired to conceal, among them, The New York Times. In 1983 Time magazine wrote about the victims of the famine of 1932-33: "Their extermination was a matter of state policy, just as the ovens of Dachau were a matter of state policy. The Ukrainian kulaks died…for the convenience of the state, to help with the organization of the new order of things…they died and yet the grass has grown over the world's memory of their murder. Why ?…"
To date this tragic event lacks due condemnation or recognition as a genocide from many international institutions, democratic governments and even the government of the Ukrainian people. In 1988 the U.S. Congress Commission on the Ukraine Famine concluded: "The Genocide Convention defines genocide as one or more specified actions committed with intent to destroy a national, ethnic, racial or religious group wholly or partially as such…One or more of the actions specified in the Genocide Convention was taken against the Ukrainians in order to destroy a substantial part of the Ukrainian people…Overwhelming evidence indicates that Stalin was warned of impending famine in Ukraine and pressed for measures that could only ensure its occurrence and exacerbate its effects. Such policies not only came into conflict with his response to food supply difficulties elsewhere in the preceding year, but some of them were implemented with greater vigor in ethnically Ukrainian areas than elsewhere and were utilized in order to eliminate any manifestation of Ukrainian national self assertion."
We call upon the government of Ukraine and other governments worldwide to recognize the 1932-33 famine in Ukraine as a genocide against the Ukrainian people and to condemn the perpetrators. We urge the Ukrainian people throughout the world to observe this sorrowful anniversary with solemnity and scholarship.
For the Presidium of the Ukrainian World Congress:
Askold S. Lozynskyj, President
Victor Pedenko, Secretary General
Ukrainian World Congress
Reprinted by permission
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