Ottawa Mourning for Millions of Victims of Ukrainian Genocide, Holodomor 1932/33
Keynote speaker and Ukrainian Canadian Congress National Board of Directors Member, Dr. Markian Shulakewych welcomed distinguished award winners Mr. James Bezan (Member of Parliament), and Professor Dr. Roman Serbyn to broader Ottawa community who made it a full house of over 130 people that came to solemnly commemorate the Holodomor victims.
Dr. Markian Shulakewych is a community leader, who has received a prestigious teaching award at the University of Ottawa for his work as a diagnostic radiologist. Dr. Shulakewych’s extensive contributions over the years have helped build Ukraine’s advanced medical infrastructure and education, and he introduced the first award recipient, Mr. James Bezan.
Mr. James Bezan was first elected in 2004 to the House of Commons in the 38th Parliament as a Conservative Member of Parliament to represent the riding of Selkirk-Interlake (Manitoba). In 2008, Mr. Bezan received one of Ukraine’s highest awards for his private Member’s Bill that recognized the Soviet-imposed Holodomor forced famine of 1932-1933 as an act of genocide against the Ukrainian people. Ukraine’s highest civilian award, the “Order of Prince Yaroslav the Wise” was awarded to Mr. Bezan on the basis of a decree by the President of Ukraine as recognition for the people who have made a historic contribution on behalf of Ukraine. Mr. Bezan spoke about his intimate personal experiences in Canada and Ukraine devoted to Holodomor recognition, which the audience appreciated.
Professor Dr. Roman Serbyn is an historian, and a Professor emeritus of Russian and East European history at the University of Quebec at Montreal, and an expert on Ukraine. Dr. Serbyn is well known for his books and many articles about Ukrainian history, particularly the Holodomor. With a gripping content translated into 28 languages, Professor Serbyn’s “Soviet Genocide in Ukraine” book and concise personal insights as a world renowned Holodomor expert drew close attention of the audience that attended the evening.
For the reasons mentioned above, as well as due to their unique traits of character and leadership, USC uOttawa proudly awarded Mr. Bezan and Professor Serbyn with medals “For outstanding contribution in recognizing Holodomor as Ukrainian genocide”.
The talks and award ceremonies were followed by beautiful vocal performance of a tribute to the deceased Holodomor victims by unparalleled Ms. Olesya Shevchenko, soloist, together with melodious “Akord” choir of Ottawa. Her breathtaking singing of “Svicha” (Ukrainian for “candle”), as well as “Plyve kacha” were very moving and memorable for everyone present in the room.
Father Ihor Okhrimtchouk from Ukrainian Orthodox church in Ottawa beautifully united the community in his lead of the joint singing of a song for deceased “Vichnaya pamyat” (Ukrainian for “eternal memory”).
A constructive networking and a symbolic reception followed, during which many people of varying nationalities and ethnic backgrounds, such as South Korean, British, Jewish, and German attendees expressed their interest in the Holodomor, to give the event a truly unifying multicultural Canadian resonance.
Iuliia Zubrytska, an event organizer, remarked: “Genocide against Ukraine continues today as we speak. Tomorrow marks one year since former Ukrainian government started to kill its students (start of EuroMaidan). Many of you attending tonight may be personally experiencing emotions of brave family and friends risking their lives and getting killed defending Ukraine. What is my motivation for organizing this event? My grandmother’s brother from Poltava is a Holodomor survivor. We are happy to have him alive.”
USC uOttawa is convinced that Mr. James Bezan’s and Professor Dr. Roman Serbyn’s leadership on Ukraine are outstanding and deserve recognition, especially at this time when fear for the future in Ukraine keeps growing. This way USC uOttawa is dissolving Soviet propaganda and aims at largely mitigating current Ukrainian crisis.
Voluntary donation proceeds raised over $2100 and go directly to humanitarian fund # 68139 “Friends of Ukraine Defence Forces Fund” administered by Buduchnist Credit Union.
Buduchnist Credit Union and Dr. Markian Shulakewych are the generous platinum financial sponsors of this movie screening evening.
Official co-sponsors include Ukrainian Canadian Congress National, Ukrainian Canadian Students’ Union (SUSK), League of Ukrainian Canadians, UN Ottawa-Gatineau and UCPBA Ottawa.
Ukraine remembers – the world acknowledges !
By: Iuliia Zubrytska, Graduate & Alumni Rep, USC uOttawa