COMMENTARY: The Day, The Day Weekly Digest in English,
Kyiv, Ukraine, Tuesday, May 11, 2004
James E. Mace, 1952-2004
Last Thursday, our esteemed colleague, pioneering researcher of the
Holodomor Manmade Famine, prominent scholar and publicist Prof. James
Mace was laid to rest at the Baikove Cemetery.
Hours before that, his colleagues and friends - journalists, historians,
public figures, and writers - gathered for the civil funeral ceremony at the
Teacher's House in Kyiv to pay their last respects. Ukraine's President
Kuchma, Defense Minister Yevhen Marchuk, and the Foreign Ministry offered
their condolences to the family and friends of Prof. James Mace.
Poet Lina Kostenko recalled one of James Mace's first televised appearances
in Ukraine, when, asked what key should be used for Ukraine's history, he
said, "The key to Ukraine's history is a key to Pandora's box." She feels
that James Mace was looking for this key to Pandora's box not to open it,
for, to quote Lina Kostenko, "all the misfortunes have been already released
onto Ukraine," but to drive all those misfortunes back into the box and lock
Leader of the Our Ukraine bloc Viktor Yushchenko said that James Mace
researched one of the most tragic pages of Ukraine's history, "because he
understood clearly that history is in fact what is stored in our memory".
During the civil funeral ceremony, speakers stressed the need to continue
Prof. James Mace's research of the Holodomor and, to quote Stanislav
Kulchytsky, "make the international community finally face the obvious
facts." Proposals have been voiced to name the future Holodomor Research
Center in the honor of James Mace and publish in a separate book his
articles carried by The Day and translated in The Day's Ukrainian and
As it became known later, the Ukrainian Federation of America has set up the
James Mace Memorial Fund to study Ukrainian Holodomor in 1932-33. Yet,
to quote Politychna Dumka [Political thought] Editor-in-Chief Volodymyr
Polokhalo, we will remember James not only for his scholarly efforts but
also for his indefatigable and energetic aspiration to do good to our
country, and not only to the country in general but to its every individual;
"for him there were no little Ukrainians; for him all were normal and
civilized Ukrainians in the upper case."
To quote Kyiv-Mohyla Academy National University President Vyacheslav
Briukhovetsky, "he felt he was the kind of Ukrainian who might still appear
in Ukraine someday." Mr. Briukhovetsky recalled that James was the first
foreigner to come to the Kyiv Mohyla Academy in the early 1990s and say, "I
would like to work here." "An American wearing first jeans and later shorts
was wandering around among the buildings of the then Higher Naval Political
Academy... This was a true shock for the world that surrounded us at the
time." And if this world has changed it is, among other, due to James Mace.
Meanwhile, one of Ukraine's first dissidents, Yevhen Sverstiuk, said the
following about James: "We are paying our last respects to a beloved
foreigner, who came to be known here as the Knight of Ukraine, meaning the
Knight of Truth about Ukraine. He Settled in Ukraine at a time when so
many of her children were fleeing this country. I think he had been driven
here by his natural inclination to tell and research the truth, and this
truth has made him a great man."
As Yevhen Sverstiuk put it, Ukrainians are yet to fully realize the extent
their loss. "And this loss will gradually sink in, because Mace was one of
Ukraine's best representatives. He was the voice of Ukraine's history in
All one can add is that he was the voice of not Ukraine's history alone but
also of its present both inside Ukraine and out. His voice will remain with
us forever, for the words of James Mace, which he has left in his books,
articles, and notes of his Kyiv-Mohyla Academy students, are the best
monument to the remarkable author he had been.
FOR PERSONAL AND ACADEMIC USE ONLY