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Міжнародний координиційний комітет у справі Голодомору
International Holodomor Committee
October 15, 2010
KEEP THE CANDLE LIT IN MEMORY OF 1932-33 HOLODOMOR VICTIMS IN UKRAINE
Ukrainians around the world will mark Holodomor Remembrance Day on November 27, 2010 – the annual commemoration of the most tragic episode of Ukraine’s history when the totalitarian Soviet regime used famine as a weapon in the breadbasket of Europe to commit genocide known as the 1932-33 Holodomor.
The communist government spent decades denying and spreading disinformation about the Holodomor internationally and eradicating its memory within Ukraine. But the truth prevailed and today the world knows about this deliberate, state-organized mass murder of Ukrainians. Declassified archival materials, research by Ukrainian and foreign scholars and eyewitness accounts contributed to the adoption on November 28, 2006 of the “Law on the Holodomor of 1932 – 1933 in Ukraine.” Article 1 of this law states that the “Holodomor of 1932–1933 in Ukraine is a genocide of the Ukrainian people.” Irrefutable evidence was revealed and 14 countries around the globe joined Ukraine in recognizing the Holodomor as genocide; the memory of Holodomor victims has been honoured by various international institutions, including the European Parliament, Organization of the United Nations, UNESCO and OSCE.
The policies of Ukraine’s new government, however, disparage the memories of millions of innocent victims. During a Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe session earlier this year, newly-elected President Victor Yanukovych stated, in direct violation of Ukrainian law, that recognizing the Holodomor as an act of genocide of any one people is “incorrect and unjust.” Parliamentary forces loyal to Yanukovych have declared their intention to turn back the historical clock and amend Article 1 of the “Law on the Holodomor of 1932 – 1933 in Ukraine” to read “tragedy” instead of “genocide.”
In response to these developments, the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) launched an international awareness campaign on June 19, 2010 in continuation of its decades-long commitment to establishing the truth about the Holodomor. The campaign called “Candle of Prayer” is being conducted in Ukraine and abroad. The campaign’s slogan is translated as “Keep lit the candle of memory” and its twofold goal is to honour the memories of millions of innocent victims and to provide the international community with information concerning the real causes of the Holodomor.
UWC appeals to Ukrainians worldwide to join the “Candle of Prayer” commemoration this November 27, 2010, on Holodomor Remembrance Day. The campaign’s initiatives for that day include:
- memorial services in churches,
- appeals to other religious denominations to honour Holodomor victims’ memories,
- signs reading “1932-33 Holodomor – genocide of Ukrainians” prominently displayed,
- Ukrainian flags adorned with black ribbons flown from government and Ukrainian establishments and private homes,
- a minute of silence observed from 19:32 to 19:33 (7:32 to 7:33 PM) local time as a symbolic representation of the Holodomor years, followed by prayers for the millions of murdered Ukrainians’ memories and
- candles lit in every church, community centre and on window sills at home.
On an ongoing basis Ukrainians should continue work towards:
- gaining recognition of the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people by the parliaments of the countries where they reside,
- including the Holodomor in educational programs of learning institutions,
- conducting public education campaigns on the Holodomor among Ukrainian and local communities, and
- organizing events to promote awareness to the general public and mass media such as roundtables, press conference, academic symposiums, screening of films, etc.
The Chairman of the International Holodomor Committee and UWC General Secretary Stefan Romaniw said:
“As we honor the victims of the Holodomor, we need to do everything to ensure the world knows the truth about those horrifying events that should never be repeated anywhere in the world. For this reason alone we cannot be silent. Our duty is to combine efforts and through united action prove that we won’t allow anyone, including President Victor Yanukovych, extinguish the candle lit in memory of the victims of the 1932-33 Holodomor in Ukraine,”