On this day: Genocide deniers in America in 1933

Communists_attacking_a_parade_of_Ukrainians_in_Chicago__17_12_1933American communists attack a group of Ukrainians in Chicago who were demonstrating to raise awareness of Stalin's genocide of the people of Ukraine.

In a photograph dated the 17th of December, 1933, American communists attack a group of Ukrainians in Chicago, USA. The Ukrainians were demonstrating to raise awareness of the Holodomor, Stalin’s genocide of millions of people in Ukraine.

Between 1932 and 1933 Soviet authorities confiscated the food and crops of millions of ethnic Ukrainians, deliberately starving them to death. A similar genocide was also committed in Kazakhstan, where 42% of the ethnic population was killed and replaced with Russian colonists.

Unlike the Holocaust, there was very limited Western media coverage of the Holodomor, despite conservative estimates putting Ukraine’s death toll on par with it, and other estimates putting it even higher. This was because prominent journalists were either friends of Stalin or communists themselves, and they refused to report on it.

Amongst these genocide deniers was The New York Times’ Walter Duranty, while Welsh reporter Gareth Jones risked his life to get the truth out.

On this day: the Publication of Thumbelina

Казки_Андерсена_(1873)__Стор__78-79An illustration from Казки Андерсена з короткою ёго життєписью (1873) —Thumbelina first Ukrain

1873 illustration from the first Ukrainian translation. X

Danish author Hans Christian Andersen‘s fairy tale Thumbelina was published for the first time on the 16th of December, 1835.

The story, about a “thumb-sized” girl who goes on an adventure involving toads, birds, and a mole, and who then meets a miniature prince, wasn’t well-received at the time because it didn’t teach any morals.

The first English translation of the book was completed by Mary Howitt in the 1840s.

Usually omitted from English versions of the story, Andersen’s original featured a bluebird telling the story to Andersen himself. The bird had been in love with Thumbelina, and was heartbroken when she married the prince.

Holodomor Awareness

2018_-_Комплекс_Києво-Печерської_лаври Kyiv Pechersk Lavra Ukraine and Holodomor Genocide memorial stalin communism communist

This time in November is typically designated as an awareness week for the Holodomor, Stalin’s forced famine-genocide of millions of Ukrainians in the 1930s.

Above is the Lavra monastery complex in Kyiv, Ukraine’s capital city. The golden tower/flame on the right is the memorial to the genocide.

The deaths of tens of millions in the Soviet Union should serve as a reminder why communism should never again be revived or allowed to thrive – something generations born after the fall of the USSR seem unable to fully understand.

Holodomor Remembrance Day

Today is Holodomor Remembrance Day, an international day to remember Stalin’s atrocities in Ukraine in the 1930s. The peasants’ food and grain were confiscated and the borders were closed as millions of ethnic Ukrainians were deliberately starved to death.

The dead were replaced with Russian settlers, creating a situation that still has massive repercussions today.

The genocide is still denied by Russia.

Holodomor Stalin's Genocide in Ukraine 1930s Communism

The Holodomor, Stalin’s genocide in Ukraine that killed millions in the 1930s.

‘At that time I lived in the village of Yaressky of the Poltava region. More than a half of the village population perished as a result of the famine. It was terrifying to walk through the village: swollen people moaning and dying. The bodies of the dead were buried together, because there was no one to dig the graves.

There were no dogs and no cats. People died at work; it was of no concern whether your body was swollen, whether you could work, whether you have eaten, whether you could – you had to go and work. Otherwise – you are the enemy of the people.

Many people never lived to see the crops of 1933 and those crops were considerable. A more severe famine, other sufferings were awaiting ahead. Rye was starting to become ripe. Those who were still able made their way to the fields. This road, however, was covered with dead bodies, some could not reach the fields, some ate grain and died right away. The patrol was hunting them down, collecting everything, trampled down the collected spikelets, beat the people, came into their homes, seized everything. What they could not take – they burned.’

(From the memories of Galina Gubenko, Poltava region)

 

 

Independence Day

The 24th of August is Ukrainian Independence (such as it is now) Day.

Here is the tryzub – the trident of Ukraine – printed over a Russian stamp during Ukraine’s struggle for independence during the fall of the Russian Empire and the formation of the Soviet Union. Circa 1918.

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The tryzub - the trident of Ukraine - printed over a Russian stamp during Ukraine's struggle for independence during the fall of the Russian Empire and the formation of the Soviet Union. Circa 1918.

105 Years Ago

Ukrainians are photographed harvesting in Separator, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1915.

At this point in time Ukrainians were forced to register as “enemy aliens”, and many were put into concentration camps to perform forced labour during World War One.

Ukrainians are photographed harvesting in Separator, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1915. At this point in time Ukrainians were forced to register as enemy aliens and many were put into concentration camps to perform forced labour

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Ukrainians are photographed harvesting in Separator, Saskatchewan, Canada in 1915. At this point in time Ukrainians were forced to register as enemy aliens and many were put into concentration camps to perform forced labour.

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How not to offend millions of people.

In things I can’t believe I’m typing this morning …

A reminder: the hammer and sickle/the Soviet Union represents evil.

After a “cutesy” episode of Australian Story on the ABC, in which a bunch of Anglo Australians waved a communist flag around and did a “retro kitsch” tribute to Stalinist Russia, in which modern-day Russia was discussed as if it – and Putin memes = cute …

The hammer and sickle flag is illegal in much of the former USSR, right alongside the swastika. It’s illegal because it represents the genocides of the Ukrainian and Kazakh people, the total ethnic cleansing of the native people of Crimea, the deportation of the people of western Ukraine (including everyone in my family’s villages) to Siberian gulags, the deportation of tens of thousands of people from the Baltics, too.

It’s illegal because it represents Russian colonialism and the suppression or elimination of other racial and ethnic groups’ languages and cultures. Because it represents a century of mass murder and horror.

It is now an ideology Putin is using in his invasions of Georgia (which began in 2008, and is ongoing) and Ukraine (started in 2014, and ongoing).

I can’t believe this is something I have to explain, but – to my own horror – Australian author after Australian author shared the story yesterday, all with a comment to the effect of “look at this happy, good news story!”.

To wave that flag around without a care in the world is hurtful and harmful to the non-Russian people of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This is something we just went through with My Kitchen Rules, when they pulled their “cutesy Stalin and Putin” retro communist ad.

Do better, people. There’s no excuse to not know that Soviet Russia was as evil and genocidal as Nazi Germany was.