The Ukrainian Weekly
November 28, 1999, No. 48, Vol. LXVII
Stop the silence and end the lies. That was the principal message carried
forth by those who participated in the Famine-genocide memorial procession
and service in New York City on Saturday, November 20.
Ukrainians of all ages, members of various organizations, faithful of
different Churches congregated to bear witness to the man-made Famine that
decimated the Ukrainian nation in 1932-1933 during Stalin's reign of terror.
They came to remember the greatest tragedy that has ever befallen Ukraine
and to mourn its innocent victims, to pledge that they will never forget and
will tell the world about one of this century's darkest periods. That was
evident from the placards they carried and from the observations they shared
when questioned by a reporter.
But mostly the marchers and mourners came out of the strong conviction that
this can never happen again, that others must know the truth - for it is the
truth that can prevent such atrocities. ("To ignore one genocide is to
invite another," said one poster.) They pledged by their presence to
continue to speak out about the Great Famine, for they know that silence was
one of the principal reasons this murderous act of Stalin and his
collaborators in crimes against humanity was so successful.
Ambassador Anton Buteiko pointed out in his address that, even during the
artificial Famine, the issue been raised "at a forum of the League of
Nations and was supported by representatives from Norway, Ireland, Spain and
Germany. However, representatives of other nations insisted that the famine
was an internal affair of the Soviet Union. Thus, indifference got the upper
hand, and the crimes remained unpunished."
Sound familiar? Even today there are "internal affairs" to which the West
reacts with but a slap on the wrist; and silence is maintained. Former
National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski minced no words recently when
he called what is happening in Chechnya a genocide. "A nation is being
destroyed," he told CNN. "Do you destroy an entire people to protect
yourself from terrorism?"
Some marchers carried placards reminding the public of the horrific events
in Chechnya, where Russian troops are mercilessly pounding the general
population - in the name of fighting terrorism within the Russian
Federation. ("Purges, famine, Chechnya. Genocide is habit-forming," read one
poster. "Yeltsin, stop murdering defenseless Chechens," said another.)
The mourners converging on New York City also knew that another reason the
Great Famine was successful was the "Great Lie," as Bishop Basil Losten
called it, via which the Stalin regime and its supporters - including some
notable Western journalists and intellectuals - denied that famine was
raging in Ukraine.
Even today, after "Monuments were erected to commemorate the victims, secret
archives made public, tens of books, memoirs and studies published," as
Ambassador Buteiko noted, "the Communist Party of the Soviet Union, directed
by the bloody deeds of Lenin and Stalin, is yet to bear the judgement of the
nations of the world, the judgement of history. We have yet to tell the
truth about artificial famine, to preach its lessons to humankind."
Though they did not get to hear the first lady's message in St. Patrick's
Cathedral, the Ukrainian Americans gathered for the last time this century
to commemorate the Great Famine are no doubt buoyed and emboldened by
Hillary Rodham Clinton's words to the memorial gathering: "Together we must
walk ... into the next century and millennium - remembering the past,
keeping the memory of the famine and its victims alive, honoring the
survivors and striving every day that such atrocities will never be
The Ukrainian Weekly, November 28, 1999, No. 48, Vol. LXVII