The Shotgun Blog
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Saskatchewan recognizes International Holodomor Remembrance Week
This week, Saskatchewan residents are being asked to reflect upon the millions of Ukrainians who died as a result of the Holodomor, a man-made famine that took place in 1932-1933 under the communist regime of Joseph Stalin.
Despite successful harvests during that period, millions of Ukrainians starved to death as a result of the Soviet government confiscating crops and preventing the victims from receiving assistance from outside sources. The Holodomor was deliberately planned and executed by the Soviet regime under Stalin to systematically destroy the Ukrainian people's aspirations for a free and independent Ukraine.
In 2008, the Government of Ukraine, the United States Senate, the Senate of Canada, UNESCO and the United Nations joined more than 40 other jurisdictions around the world to officially condemn the Holodomor or recognize it as genocide.
"Historians estimate that possibly at least 7 million people died during this period - there is no debate that the Holodomor was one of history's worst atrocities," Deputy Premier Ken Krawetz said. "As one of the thousands of Saskatchewan residents of Ukrainian descent, I believe it is vitally important that we continue to remember this horrific genocide and honour the memory of its victims."
Last year, the Government of Saskatchewan unanimously passed legislation to designate the fourth Saturday in November each year as Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day. November 21-28 is International Holodomor Remembrance Week.
Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 26, 2009 | Permalink
I presume you are posting this, in part, to draw our attention to yet another example of government excess. It is fine if individuals want to memorialize this occasion and it is fine if private groups want to promote its recognition, but it is no business of the government to be organizing the social lives of its citizens. In fact, the best way for them to memorialize the evil of Soviet government excess would be to not officially condemn or memorialize anything.
Am I right?
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-26 1:58:13 PM
It is a very legitimate and proper thing for government to be involved in historical events. I need only to point to Remembrance Day and to Holocaust events as proof. If the legislature wants to pass a law honoring a certain time for an event, it's no big deal so long as they don't need tax dollars.
And yes, Ontario, the Holocaust DID happen. Your buddy Ernst Zundel was wrong. He lied to you. Get over it.
Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-11-26 2:31:16 PM
The State has no business commemorating State crimes. It's obscene.
The State uses Remembrance Day to propagandize for more war, for example.
The Holodomor absolutely is an example of where the logical extreme of statism leads. As with Nazi Germany, Maoist China, and countless others.
The Saskatchewan government is also complicit in the destruction of the Cree and Dakotah First Nations. Perhaps we should be grateful they are not tainting the memory of that crime against humanity via maudlin memorial.
As an aside, my recollection was that Stalin had murdered as many as 20 MILLION Ukrainians...
Posted by: JC | 2009-11-26 3:49:12 PM
I think it is good to remember government atrocities, even when it is government asking us to remember.
While I would prefer to see things like this done privately, this case does not offend me terribly.
If the government decided to send a $1 billion of aid to the Ukraine on the anniversary of the Holodomor, I would object. It is not our responsibility to make restitution; it is Russia’s.
But you raise a good point, Fact Check: Is it a proper function of government to determine the historical significance of events on our behalf, and to establish days like the Ukrainian Famine and Genocide (Holodomor) Memorial Day?
If security is a proper function of government, raising awareness of a major threat to our security – tyrannical government – may be legitimate. But because this creates too much room for government growth, I would answer my own question with a "no". But again, there are much more important things to worry about than this, especially in the case before us.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-11-26 4:50:26 PM
"The state uses Remembrance Day to propagandise for more war" is an interesting comment considering that all of us owe the freedom we enjoy to the soldiers who too often gave their lives for it. Otherwise we would not even be having this discussion.
I see nothing wrong in the state recognising the murder through starvation of millions of Ukrainians by Stalin in light of the fact that the state is also supposed to represent its citizens and there is a large number of Canadians of Ukrainian decent in the province. There is no suggestion of a money grab for this.
Posted by: Alain | 2009-11-26 6:06:41 PM
We do NOT "owe our freedom" to soldiers, dead or otherwise.
This is state propaganda, proselytized thru the publik skools, plain and simple.
You MIGHT argue we were defended by those proto-Canadians who fought against the US invasion in the War of 1812.... but it is arguable as to whether we gained or lost freedom following that one.
Canada was essentially conscripted as a colony for cannon fodder in two world wars that did not need to be fought.
As authors Eric Margolis, Niall Ferguson and Pat Buchanan, among many others, have pointed out, North America was not under any threat at those times.
It is one thing to remember the millions of young, idealistic, patriotic, courageous Canadians who were killed, dismembered, or psychologically damaged for life by Britain and her colonies' politicians, it is quite another to get sucked into the State's evil, religious celebration of war.
Posted by: JC | 2009-11-26 6:29:08 PM
Jewish group objects to ‘Great Famine’ case
June 15, 2009
KIEV, Ukraine (JTA) -- A Jewish group in Ukraine is objecting to a criminal case brought over the "Great Famine" committed in the 1930s.
The nation's security service is pressing the case against a list of former Soviet officials accused of committing the Holodomor, which caused the deaths of millions in Ukraine in 1932-33. Most of the names on the list were Jewish.
Posted by: JTA | 2009-11-26 7:18:44 PM
"If security is a proper function of government, raising awareness of a major threat to our security – tyrannical government – may be legitimate."
Sure, but "raising awareness" of tyrannical government or other threats to a free society has often been used by governments as a part of a broader argument to justify tyranny at home. Orwell's 1984 and the threat of Emmanuel Goldstein is one example that comes to mind. Arguments justifying The Patriot Act in the US is another.
"But because this creates too much room for government growth, I would answer my own question with a 'no'."
Here's another concern: If the government gets in the business of making moral judgments on history, it is a short walk to cases that are much more controversial. Then it becomes more questionable that it is appropriate for the government to speak for all citizens about an issue. It also makes it more likely that a lot of time (and thus money) is wasted debating the issue. The Armenian genocide comes to mind here.
Here's yet another concern: If we believe that the government has no business taking children away from parents because they are neo-Nazis and has no business preventing neo-Nazi parents from teaching their kids to be neo-Nazis, then how can the government presume to speak for neo-Nazi citizens when, for example, memorializing the Holocaust? Most Canadians (I hope) believe that remembering the Holocaust is important, but that does not mean all do. I doubt there are very many Canadians who would want to celebrate rather than commemorate the Holodomor, but they are probably some (and in Saskatchewan, too). So the government's official position should be to allow private citizens to memorialize what they want and not interfere - either to prevent or to endorse.
Posted by: Fact Check | 2009-11-26 7:40:12 PM
As a person of Ukrainian descent, I am disgusted by what happened under Stalin. Having said that, right now, the Wall government is using any distraction it can to try and mask the fact that it has Saskatchewan in a nose-dive of unprecedented proportions. Facing a billion-dollar deficit, after blowing 2 billion dollars left in the government savings account by the former NDP administration, along with 783 million dollars from the sale of a profitable government asset, the Wall gang are holding tons of events to try and throw the people and the media off the REAL story.
Shame on them for using something so horrible as a photo-op. In 2011, they will get the drubbing they deserve.
Posted by: Ed White | 2009-11-27 7:02:20 AM
"If we believe that the government has no business taking children away from parents because they are neo-Nazis and has no business preventing neo-Nazi parents from teaching their kids to be neo-Nazis, then how can the government presume to speak for neo-Nazi citizens when, for example, memorializing the Holocaust?"
Noboby presumes this, FC. The government is not obligated to be representative of Nazis. A legitimate government is one that respects and protects individual rights. Those who are a threat to these individual rights should have no expectation of being represented.
Nazis do, however, have a right to be left alone, as long as they are peaceful, so taxing them to pay for a Holocaust memorial raises a valid issue, which is why I prefer these things be done privately with private money, as I stated in my post.
Posted by: Matthew Johnston | 2009-11-27 12:10:50 PM
This week, Saskatchewan residents are being asked to reflect upon the millions of Ukrainians who died as a result of the Holodomor....................
Posted by Matthew Johnston on November 26, 2009
Wanna bet if there were no Ukes in Saskatchewan the government wouldn't give a hoot about Holodomor Remembrance Week. Typical ethnic politics.
Posted by: The Stig | 2009-11-27 2:58:27 PM
God forbid we talk about the potato famine.
Posted by: baba o'reilly | 2009-11-27 9:22:53 PM
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