Human rights crimes delicate subject
BY BRONWYN EYRE, SPECIAL TO THE STARPHEONIX NOVEMBER 26, 2011
Today, the fourth Saturday in November, marks Ukrainian Famine and Genocide Memorial Day in Canada. It’s been 78 years since Josef Stalin perpetrated the Holodomor – the deliberate starvation of millions of Ukrainians – while the world turned a blind eye.
Ukrainian-Canadian groups lobbied hard to have the Holodomor recognized as a genocide. The Harper government did so in May 2008. Saskatchewan was the first province to do the same, also in 2008, and similar legislation was subsequently passed by Alberta, Manitoba, Ontario and Quebec.
The historic facts are chilling. By 1929, Stalin – fearing Ukrainians’ growing sense of independence – had 5,000 leading Ukrainian literary and cultural figures either executed or sent to prison camps. The Ukrainian Orthodox Church was liquidated.
In 1932, food procurement quotas for Ukrainian peasants were set so unnaturally high, literally all their food was taken away by the state. A person could be executed for stealing even a grain of wheat from state-owned collective farms and the borders of Ukraine were sealed off by police.