This Saturday, we will once again light a candle in the window, and remember all those who died the most horrible death imaginable — the slow agony of starvation. We will remember the mothers of dying babies, their pain and despair. The fathers, their feeling of impotence and helplessness, unable to save their families. We will also remember those who were able to survive and keep their human dignity, feeding on bark and potato peels.
In moments like this, it is important to realize that we have the support of the whole world. The other day a statement by Michael Hammer, spokesman for the National Security Council, was circulated. “It is the 77th anniversary of the tragic events of the Holodomor, when millions of innocent Ukrainians died as a result of Joseph Stalin’s deliberate policies. American people support the Ukrainian nation and ethnic Ukrainians worldwide, commemorating all the victims,” reads the statement.
In France and Italy, the tragedy was presented… in a book of educational comic strips titled Ukrainian Notebooks. The author of the book, Igor Tuveri (aka Igort), is one of the most outstanding Italian artists in this sphere. According to him, he first came to Ukraine in order to visit Anton Chekhov’s house in Yalta. The accounts of the Holodomor survivors and their relatives affected the artist so much that he forgot about his other projects.
“That was the first time that a thing like that had happened. It was strange, it felt like an explosion inside,” related Igort in his interview to a Kyiv newspaper. “I called my publisher and said that I wanted to make another book.” Thus, Igort settled in Dnipropetrovsk for two years, in order to travel to towns and villages of eastern and southern Ukraine. It is noteworthy that in France the book has enjoyed considerable commercial success. More than 10,000 copies have been sold, 12 to 16 euros per copy.
But what about the Ukrainian government? Nothing! There still is not a single official announcement of the events which will be held (or there won’t be, for that matter). There is only a statement made by Hanna Herman to the effect that the anniversary of the Holodomor will be celebrated on the highest level. And that’s all there is to it… Although, not quite. As it turned out, the Ministry of Education and Science failed to carry out its own decision to honor the memory of Holodomor victims. This was mentioned in the communique made by the Center for Liberation Movement Research. In particular, according to the center’s data, the ministry has not held the annual Ukraine-wide action “The Ear of Memory.” Nor has it circulated methodological recommendations for “The Lesson of Memory,” as it has done in previous years.
We can only hope that teachers themselves will hold such lessons at their schools, without any orders from above, simply listening to the call of their memory and conscience.