The Edmonton Journal today published an article that argues for the perpetrators of the Holodomor to be brought to justice.
Problem is, of course, that few of them would likely be alive today. It was, after all, 75 years ago, and the perpetrators would be over 100 years old... older, even, than any surviving Nazis.
So there will likely be a raging debate as to whether or not there is any point in pursuing them.
Some will say that if even only one of those monsters remains alive, they should be pursued to the ends of the earth and made to account for their crimes.
Others will say that it is a waste of resources after all this time, and better to just "learn from history" and move on.
It's a very emotional issue and a perplexing situation. Just what is the "right thing to do"?
Twenty years ago, Ukrainians the world over celebrated a millenium of Christianity in Ukraine. It was before the fall of communism, and naturally the (atheist) Soviets in Moscow tried to appropriate the event in the public discourse and all the photo ops that went with it. The western media fell into slavish step and did its best to accommodate them.
But I digress. My question is, would it serve Ukrainians better to consider calling on those 1000 years of Christian heritage and come up with a better solution?
I imagine this call to pursue the perpetrators of the Holodomor will resonate with contemporary native Ukrainians (especially since 80 years of official atheism have come between them and that heritage).
It resonates with me, too. Although I'm Canadian-born (as are my parents) and didn't have any immediate family perish in the Holodomor, this genocide deeply grieves me. I had kin there. Distant, sure. But I still had a bloodline connection to those who did perish. And so does everyone on this planet with even a drop of Ukrainian blood in them.
But might forgiving and not forgetting perhaps be a better solution than executing extremely elderly criminals?
Knowing Ukrainians as I do, I don't really even need to ask that question. It's done. And I think the author of that article knows that, too. After all, he just spent the last 20 years fighting on behalf of survivors of the WWI Canadian internment operations who didn't ask for money or even an apology. All they wanted was that the world remember and acknowledge what what was done to them, and learn from the past so it is never done again to anyone else.
In light of the breathtaking denial of the Holodomor still happening in western and post-soviet academic and media circles, remembering and acknowledging this horrific genocide is the least the world can do. Isn't the fact that genocide is still happening somewhere in the world as you read these words reason enough to learn from the past?
As for the perpetrators of the Holodomor, the Christian way is to forgive and leave any retribution to divine forces. If any of these criminals are still alive they wouldn't have many years left anyway. For them to leave this earth in disgrace, knowing they will forever be remembered as monsters, and that their evil legacy will not live on, may be the worst punishment the world could offer.
As in the Canadian example, Ukrainians have never asked for much. Just that the world remember, and acknowledge.
After 75 years of denial, it's time to do the right thing.