Michael MacKay, Radio Lemberg, 24.11.2018
The Holodomor was a forced famine-genocide of the Ukrainian people committed by the totalitarian and criminal Stalin regime in 1932-33. Millions of Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death because of their ethnicity or nationality. “Cause of death: Ukrainian” is what some death certificates said during the Holodomor.
We the living remember the dead. We acknowledge the great wrong that was done to them. For ourselves living with this legacy we seek to make sense of senseless slaughter. Somehow we must learn lessons from the past to redeem the present. On the 85th anniversary of the Holodomor, how do we say “never again?”
First, we support the Ukrainian people in realizing the hopes and dreams of the Revolution of Dignity. Ukrainians fight to achieve a normal life, free from corruption. They aspire to Euro-Atlantic integration in the EU and NATO. EuroMaidan makes possible the practical independence that was only formally obtained in 1991. Ukrainians can do this because unlike during the Holodomor there is a strong and united Ukrainian state. We must support the Ukrainian state to say “never again” to genocide.
Second, we support the Ukrainian people as they defend against Russian aggression. Ukrainians are fighting the unprovoked invasion and illegitimate partial occupation of Ukraine by the Russian Federation that began in 2014. Ukrainians can and should liberate Crimea and Donbas. Ukrainians can do this because unlike during the Holodomor there is a Ukrainian army capable of restoring Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity. We must support the Ukrainian army to say “never again” to genocide.
Third, we support the Ukrainian people as they try to support those who are worst affected by Russian aggression: refugees within Ukraine known as Internally Displaced Persons, hostages and political prisoners of the Russian invasion-occupation regime, wounded soldiers and families of fallen defenders. Over four million Ukrainians face a humanitarian crisis as a consequence of Russian aggression. We can alleviate their suffering more effectively than we could possibly have helped Ukrainians during the Holodomor.
Each genocide is criminal and horrific in its own unique way. The Holodomor can inform the present only if we recognize the broad strokes of dehumanization, persecution, and denial with propaganda as precursors of mass murder on an industrial scale. The warning signs are there in Russian-invaded and occupied Ukraine.
Only by supporting the united Ukrainian state, the strong Ukrainian army, and the most vulnerable Ukrainians can we truly be saying “never again” to a genocide like the Holodomor of 85 years ago.
From “Holodomor” by Palahnyak:
Голодна смерть безжалісно косила
Люд в кожном місті, в кожному селі.
Плач, стогін по землі моїй носила,
Сиріт і трупи сіючи в пітьмі …
Голодомор, небачене страхіття,
Що холод навіває крізь роки,
Що серце кригою до сліз стискає.
Й скорботу розливає навкруги.
Забути ті часи не маєм права
Й жахливі тридцять третього жнива
Хай будуть докором насильству й зраді
Допоки українська нація жива.