The Great Famine-Genocide in Soviet Ukraine (Holodomor)

U.S. Senate Resolution on Genocidal Famine Deserves an Affirmative Vote

EDITORIAL: The Ukrainian Weekly, No. 4, Vol. LXXII
Parsippany, New Jersey January 25, 2004

The U.S. Congress is back from its holiday recess, resuming its sessions as of Tuesday, January 20. As noted by various news media, the Congress has to deal with a number of leftover issues and bills - not the least of them an $820 billion spending measure that funds diverse federal agencies. Also in the legislative mix are such significant measures as bills on energy, highway programs and taxes. Thus the legislative calendar is quite full. Plus, with 2004 being an election year - and a presidential election year at that - the congressional calendar will be cut short due to breaks for the two party conventions during the summer and an early recess in the fall that provides time for members of Congress to travel back home and campaign. Thus, observers say, the congressional schedule will be dominated by politics.

In the midst of all this, there is a Senate resolution that deserves the Senate's affirmative vote. We speak of Senate Resolution 202, "expressing the sense of the Senate regarding the genocidal Ukraine Famine of 1932-1933." The resolution was introduced half a year ago, on July 28, 2003, by Sen. Ben Nighthorse Campbell (R-Colo.), co-chairman of the U.S. Helsinki Commission. While it continues to gain co-sponsors - the count is now up to 27 - it continues to languish in committee. (See update on S. Res. 202 on page 4 and adjoining columns on this page.) That is why there continue to be calls for Ukrainian Americans and others to contact Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.), who chairs the Foreign Relations Committee, to seek his support for this significant measure.

In addition, Ukrainian Americans and friends of our community are being asked to contact their senators, if they are not yet co-sponsors of S. Res. 202, to impress upon them the importance of this resolution and explain why it is imperative that it be passed. At the same time, Sen. Campbell has written a "Dear Colleague" letter to all the members of the Senate, in which he underscores: "It is important that the world not forget this genocidal famine and that we support Ukraine's independence and democratic development as the best assurance that atrocities such as the Famine become truly unthinkable."

It is noteworthy that this resolution includes senators on both sides of the aisle - 10 Republicans and 18 Democrats. Thus, it is neither a Republican, nor a Democratic initiative, but a bipartisan expression of the sense of the Senate at a time when communities throughout the world have been commemorating the 70th anniversary of the Famine-Genocide, at a time when there are few survivors of that horror left among us.

Why should we rally to secure passage of this particular resolution? The answer is simple. S. Res. 202, which unequivocally states that "the man-made Ukraine famine of 1932-1933 was an act of genocide as defined by the United Nations Genocide Convention," is the strongest resolution dealing with the horrific events of 1932-1933 introduced in either house of the U.S. Congress. It tells the world the truth about what happened during the Famine years in Ukraine and neighboring ethnically Ukrainian regions, and it resolves that the millions of victims should be "solemnly remembered" and that the anniversary of the Famine "should serve as a stark reminder of the brutal imperialistic Soviet regime."

Through this resolution the Senate "condemns the callous disregard for human life, human rights and manifestations of national identity that characterize the Stalinist policies that caused the Ukrainian Famine" and supports efforts "to publicly acknowledge and call greater international attention" to the Famine. In short, S. Res. 202 is both an important statement of the facts and a statement of U.S. concern.

We cannot fail to advocate and secure passage of this landmark resolution, for we cannot fail the memory of the millions of our kin who perished during the Famine of 1932-1933. And, the Senate must not fail to acknowledge the deaths of between 7 million and 10 million men, women and children during one of history's worst genocides.

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