Friday, November 25, 2011

Canada honours memory of Ukrainians murdered by Stalin's famine

The week of November 21-27 is the fourth annual National Holodomor Awareness Week, which was first launched by the Ukrainian Canadian Congress.

The goal is to annually unite the Ukrainian community and all Canadians in remembering the victims and raising awareness of this genocide the 1932-33 Ukrainian famine genocide known as Holodomor (translation: death by hunger).

This year, International Holodomor Memorial Day will be observed on
Saturday, November 26.

In British Columbia, there will be a Panakhyda (Memorial Service) on Saturday at noon at the Ukrainian Orthodox Church of Sts Peter & Paul, Kyivan Patriarchate, located at 304-8th Street, New Westminster, B.C. The service will be followed by a showing of the award-winning documentary film Genocide Revealed by Montreal film-maker Yuriy Luhovy.

As well there will be services in the Vernon area in the Okanagan valley and in other Canadian cities as well.

In Canada, this day has been enshrined in both federal and provincial legislation (including my province of British Columbia) as Holodomor Memorial Day. Every year, Members of Parliament stand up in the House of Commons to commemorate this tragedy. (This year's statements are posted here.)

A year ago, during his visit to Ukraine, Canada's Prime Minister Stephen Harper visited the National Holodomor Memorial Museum and Monument in Kyiv.

Prime Minister Stephen Harper observes a moment of silence

after placing a jar of grain on the "Sad Memory of Childhood"
statue at the National Holodomor Memorial Museum and Monument

In Ukraine, unfortunately, the authorities continue their efforts to bury this historical truth.

The Holodomor, by its geographical focus and intensity, is one of the greatest genocides in human history. It is an example of the deprivation of the human right to food and embodies the human rights violations suffered by the victims of communism around the world.

Canadians of Ukrainian descent have a moral obligation to ensure that the Holodomor is recognized and properly acknowledged. Therefore the UCC asks us to remember together in this way:
  • On Saturday, November 26 at 19:32 (7:32 p.m.) local time pause for a moment of silence to honour the memory of the victims;
  • Light a candle of remembrance in our windows;
  • Participate in memorial services in a local church;
  • Participate in events organized by local Ukrainian communities. For a complete list of events across Canada marking the 78th anniversary of the Holodomor visit:Holodomor events
This is the least we can do, not only to honour the millions of victims, but more importantly, for the future of humanity.

By always remembering the Holodomor, and honouring the memory of those who perished, we will continue to heighten the international community’s sensitivity to the reoccurrence of similar tragedies occuring now, in an effort to prevent them in the future.

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