Commemorating Memorial Day, Reminds Of Circassians’ Extermination By: Adel Bashqawi 21 May 2012
Day of Loyalty to Circassia, the Circassian Memorial Day... 21, May, 2012, marks a reminiscence of the elapse of 148 years memory of the Circassian genocide, ethnic cleansing and forced deportation of ninety percent of those who remained alive in Motherland to the wider world which has formed more than forty countries in the world of today, after one hundred and one years of devastating war waged on Circassia and its survival as an entity of the Circassian nation in the midst of harsh conditions and circumstances, and enormous risks.
This anniversary links us with our ancestors’ homeland which will never be forgotten as long as we have a vein pulsing and an eyelid blinking, that we love as much as we respect and admire our courageous forefathers who sacrificed dearly and preciously, for what they have in their power to defend homeland, dignity and their own selves, refusing surrender, humiliation and ignominy under Tsarist Russian obnoxious occupation.
Despite multiple appeals sent to the Russian leadership and the Russian State Duma for the recognition of Genocide against the Circassian nation as well as the responsibility for the forced deportation caused by war in the Caucasus, the Russian leaders have not responded to yet, despite the historical evidence and hundreds of official documents obtained from the Russian official archives as well as the Tbilisi archives, that had retained the official Russian military documents kept after the Russian occupation of Georgia, as Tbilisi, became later on a center for the southern military command of Russian forces that were operating in the Caucasus in general and in Circassia in particular.
We cannot in this scope, but, to recall the International Olympic Committee's decision to convene the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in the city of Sochi, which is the location that has a special place in human and Circassian memory alike, due to the particularity of the site being the last capital city of Circassia when the Russian Tsarist occupation had taken place, the scattered graves of those who perished in that location and adjacent places, while they were defending their homeland. Also the significance of the event connected with what memorizes of the provocative military parade of the victorious forces at the end of the Russian – Circassian War in 21/05/1864.
To the extent that we recall the painful past with all its disasters and implications for learning lessons, where factors of evil, tyranny and wars have worked on its consecration, as much as we look to a bright, promising and prosperous future with hope and optimism for friendship, fraternity and peace among the nations in the world of the 21st Century that will be prevailed with stability, progress and mutual respect among peoples. We hope that the appeal of the mind reaches to the Russian Federation for the solution of the Circassian Question and its related problems that have not yet been resolved, and better to have a reconciliation with Circassians that includes recognition of Genocide, apology to the Circassian nation, moral and material compensation, the right of return to homeland and self determination.
Retrieving the rights of the Circassian nation is justified in the eyes of international laws and norms, legitimate, obligatory and no statute of limitations; the time passed since 1864, as not more than a century and a half, not decades, not years, not weeks or not days, but painful moments had taken roots in the heart and conscience from grandparents to grandchildren. A prudent had said: “Silence doesn't always mark wisdom”. Also quoting Confucius as saying: The man of wisdom is never of two minds; The man of benevolence never worries; The man of courage is never afraid.
Extermination of Circassians Throughout history, imperial powers, oppressing states and tyrants have managed to perform acts of barbarism in order to conquer and occupy others’ territories and homelands, with noticeable disastrous consequences that ranged between total elimination of population entities, nations and countries, and bullying and partial elimination that keeps enslaving and absorbing the elements of vital resources. The common factor between the two cases is the committing of genocide that either goes unaccounted for, when no one is still alive to raise concern or to demand restoration of rights (no questioning and non accountable), or when those who remained alive would step in with all available resources to restore human rights and privileges in their own homeland.
Known committed genocide crimes had been announced, proclaimed or debated that they had taken place in recent history in many locations of the world, that known to be the Armenian, Cambodian, Rwandan and Darfur in addition to the Holocaust during World War II. Unfortunately, Circassian Genocide was forgotten and not too many people knew about, even though tools of crime, documents and consequences are available. Not to underestimate the consistent efforts to keep this episode unknown even for the victims and their descendants, in order to get away with all the atrocities committed.
Regarding the Rwanda Genocide, it took place after ethnic tension had started long time ago, and developed through the years between the majority Hutus and minority Tutsis, especially during the Belgian colonialism to Rwanda. 800 000 people mostly from the minority Tutsis were killed within 100 days, which is an ethnic issue within a country that can be classified as a civil war between citizens of same country and even same religion. Soldiers and police officers encouraged ordinary citizens to take part. In some cases, Hutu civilians were so-called forced to murder their Tutsi neighbors by military personnel. Participants of Hutu ethnic majority (boys being amongst them) were often given incentives, such as money or food, and some were even told they could appropriate the land of the Tutsis they killed. During the genocide, the bodies of Tutsis were thrown into rivers, with their killers saying they were being sent back to Ethiopia, where they originally came from.
As for the Holocaust that is the genocide carried out by Nazi Germany, it had targeted Jews in Germany and countries occupied by Germany at the time. That means Germany had executed extermination mainly on its own citizens of certain origin/religion and similar citizens of countries it occupied during World War II, in addition to members of other tiny minorities and POW’s. The millions of Jews were murdered in the six extermination camps. It is impossible to estimate the precise figure, since the Nazis did not calculate the number as individuals but rather as the number of trainloads that arrived to the extermination facilities. “Jews were herded into the gas chambers, then the camp staff closed the doors, and either exhaust gas (in Belzec, Sobibor and Treblinka) or poison gas in the form of Zyclon B or A (in Majdanek and Auschwitz-Birkenau). Another method was the use of gassing trucks”.
“A third method was mass shooting of Jews and other groups (Soviet POW’s, Poles, etc.)”. After shooting bodies, they were either burnt in the open, in mass graves or in the crematoria. “Most of the victims had been told that they were merely to be moved to the east for new jobs and living places, and most of them had brought their favorite belongings”, which later were looted and robbed by those who were doing the criminal dirt work themselves. “In the “pure” extermination camps, men were separated from women upon arrival. The first to be gassed were the men – the women had their hair cut off before they went to their death”. “Those able to work for instance helped carry the bodies to the crematoria or search the bodies for valuables”. Sometimes bodies were burnt. When the capacity of the ovens was not sufficient, as a result the bodies were burnt under the open sky, regardless of weather conditions.
Despite the sophisticated methods, equipment and tools used by Nazis in the mid 20th century on how to eliminate hundreds of thousands of human victims in different places and different methods in the shortest possible time, with the least possible trace of crimes, by getting rid of the corpses (deposits in the criminals’ vocabulary) after killing the people, viewing the Tsarist Russian ways and means for accomplishing crimes of genocide against the Circassian nation almost a century earlier, the Russian killing machine in the 19th century was well advanced in using the environment natural substances as a tool of committing a genocide, relatively speaking, as one of the worst in human history. It was clean and green (not to underestimate the hundreds of thousands of oppressed Circassians that were the target of the criminal Tsarist Russian troops), and they were ahead of time, as if reading the future for the environmental concerns of the present time, in which they didn’t use gas, or any other substance that might affect the ecology and the gases of the planet.
Circassians at their homeland, they were not far away from the sea and accordingly the deportation and/or extermination did not need sophisticated means of land transportation at the time, the way the Nazis had used in the 1940’s such as trains to transport the victims to remote areas. In most of their evil acts, there was no need for the Tsarist killing machine to find a way to get rid of the dead. All natural process by getting rid of batches of people: -Either buried in order to enrich the soil of Circassia by using its own people’s precious remains being killed by the invaders of the North Caucasus. One of the most attractive hobbies for Russian elite at the time, was to keep human body parts especially heads to be kept, sent to high ranking government officials including the emperor in San Petersburg.
-Or could be dumped in the sea, to be either eaten by the fish -or to be used for the conduct of scientific tests and analysis. Two other extra tyranny techniques were used: -Dragging thousands of people to the Black Sea coastline and keeping them on the sand both in winter and summer time for long periods until the departure by sea commences. Many of those waiting for a destiny in poor living conditions get affected of extreme heat in summer and extreme cold in winter, and get infected with epidemics with poor or unavailable medical services. -Or to take the lousy and hard sea trip on board rickety ships in tatters that come to the coast to carry Circassian families to destinations they never dreamt of, where many of those deported travelers do not make it to the destination due to degraded ships sea-worthy, get gravely ill because of Sea-sickness and epidemic. To be fair (not in the sense of preferring one on another), the Tsarist Russians had worse evil minds than the Nazis, which they proved to be more far horribly efficient... http://www.holocaust-education.dk/lejre/udryddelseslejre.asp http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-13431486