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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

An analytical diary of the defeats and victories of the Ukrainian state

9 September, 2008 - 00:00

Another book has just been published as part of The Day’s Library Series. The new publication, entitled James Mace: “Vashi mertvi vybraly mene“ (James Mace: “Your Dead Chose Me”) is Ukraine’s first collection of the major works of this noted US historian, who exposed the truth about the Holodomor genocide in Ukraine.

The volume includes nearly all his articles that were pub­lished in The Day between 1997 and 2004, as well as a handful of his articles that were published in other Ukrainian periodicals. An inalienable component of Ukrainian journalism and political culture, Mace’s articles are a kind of analytical diary of the defeats and victories of the Ukrainian state.

Mace’s scholarly grasp of the Holodomor reveals his quest for the purely political reasons behind this heinous crime, and this collection of articles addresses a number of crucial political, economic, and cultural issues. At the same it is a social diagnosis of the pathologies afflicting the Ukrainian society and state, a quest for optimal solutions with a universal and substantial meaning. The creation of a civil society, the assertion of freedom of expression and freedom of the individual, and many other urgent problems are considered on the foundations of humanistic world views, with the aid of a variety of intellectual tools that were the hallmark of this outstanding American with a Ukrainian heart.

Mace stood out conspicuously among Ukrainian intellectuals with his quick temperament, fundamental knowledge, erudition, and undeniable polemical talents. He responded to all attacks and attempts to label him and, at the same time, deprive him of the moral right to his own ideas with genuine good humor tinged with regret.

He wrote: “At this point a digression is in order...What did I need this for? I have been asked this question frequently, and I have often been tempted to ask in turn: Why should millions of Russians, Jews, Armenians, and Ukrainians travel across the ocean to that faraway and godforsaken country, my America?

I did it because Ukrainian Americans required this research, and fate decreed that the victims chose me. Just as one cannot study the Holocaust without becoming half- Jewish in spirit, one cannot study the Famine and not become at least half- Ukrainian. I have spent too many years for Ukraine not to have become the greater part of my life. As Martin Luther said, ‘Here I stand, I can do no other.’”

In 2006 the President of Ukraine signed an edict establishing the Ukrainian Institute of National Memory. Mace had voiced this same idea in several Ukrainian periodicals as early as 1993, and his proposal sparked a heated debate in the press. He responded with a series of devastating articles that reflected the pain in his heart. Eventually, he wrote the program and statute of the new institute.

That same year the Ukrainian World Coordinating Council appointed him head of the newly established structure. The present volume includes Mace’s programmatic speech in Baturyn. This conceptually important speech points toward the direction in which it is necessary to move and indicates how to turn this institution into a truly living organism, a powerful generator of new ideas and new research, one that will be able to influence all aspects of intellectual life.

“James Mace played a decisive role in exposing the hidden Stalinist crime of the famine of 1932-33 in Ukraine,” noted Stanislav Kulchytsky, deputy director of the Institute of Ukrainian History at the National Academy of Sciences of Ukraine. “As the executive director of the US Commission on the Ukraine Famine, in 1988 he prepared and published the groundbreaking Report to the US Congress, which was followed in 1990 by three volumes of Holodomor eyewitness testimonies. These publications forced the Soviet Ukrainian government to officially acknowledge the fact of the famine, which had been kept secret for 55 years.

“The activities of Mace’s commission gave an impetus to research on the Ukrainian tragedy. The truth about the Holodomor turned into an effective means of freeing Ukrainian society from misleading Soviet propaganda stereotypes. James Mace dedicated the last 10 years of his short life to Ukraine. His scholarly and educational endeavors focused on amassing arguments that prove that the Holodomor was an act of genocide corresponding to the UN Convention on the Prevention and Punishment of the Crime of Genocide (Dec. 9, 1948). We owe the ratification by the Verkhovna Rada of the Law of Ukraine “On the Holodomor” to a number of domestic and foreign scholars, but we must not forget that Mace was present at the early stages of this research. The truth about the Holodomor is helping us revive our historical memory, rally the Ukrainian people, and direct the state-building process along national lines. This is precisely why James Mace became a Great Ukrainian.”

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To inquire about ordering this book, call (044) 414-6400.

By Nadia TYSIACHNA, The Day, and Natalia DZIUBENKO-MACE