27 November 2006

Answer from Editor of What's On Regarding Holodomor

The following is an answer to my letter to the editor (see earlier post).
Dear [Petro],

Thank you for writing in and sharing your thoughts on last week's editorial. As you may have ascertained I try to use the weekly editorial spot to encourage discussion of issues which I consider to be of importance to today's Ukraine, and judging from the response I have received in the past few days that has certainly been the case this week. As a long-time writer on Ukrainian issues and qualified historian I am well aware of your arguments, much as I am familiar with the tactics employed by the Yanukovich administration when dealing with such core issues, but neither suggests that my position on the Holodomor is not the correct middle ground.

I agree with your statement that Stalin clearly targeted Ukrainian villages, much as the regime targeted villages in Russia, the Caucasian region and elsewhere during the collectivization period. That is accepted historical fact. However, the debate here is essentially one of semantics. If, as you seem to believe, it was a racial genocide specifically targeted against ethnic Ukrainians, this begs the question of why ethnic Ukrainians in the cities did not suffer widespread starvation and why the famine was limited to the rural population. At core the issue is whether these people were murdered because they were Ukrainians, or because they were peasants. It is an admittedly ghastly question, but one which the nature of these genocide declarations forces us to address. The evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that they died because they were part of a peasantry which the Bolsheviks had earmarked for destruction. In my opinion this also constitutes an act of genocide but given the body of evidence which has now come to light it is intellectually dishonest to argue that this genocide was racial in nature or targeted the Ukrainian people as a whole.

I appreciate that this is an extremely emotive issue and would not seek to offend anyone's sensibilities or sense of grief and desire for historical justice, but do believe that the best way to achieve closure and build a better Ukraine is through an honest and open appraisal of the facts. Please feel free to share this response with your email circle. I would welcome further comment on the Holodomor issue and may even consider publishing a selection on the subject.

Best regards,
Peter Dickinson
This puts me in research mode. Since, essentially I'm a business guy selling widgets, I've delved off into uncharted waters. I clearly need to answer the following issues for myself if not for anyone else.
"...this begs the question of why ethnic Ukrainians in the cities did not suffer widespread starvation and why the famine was limited to the rural population. At core the issue is whether these people were murdered because they were Ukrainians, or because they were peasants..."

4 comments:

Veronica Khokhlova said...

it reminds me of the armenian genocide - if i remember correctly, armenians of istanbul were largely spared, due to the presence of foreign diplomats in the city. i may be mistaken, though, as it's been years since i last approached the subject.

Michelle said...

Why is it not considered genocide? Whenever a government SHOOTS people who try to steal the government owned food supply instead of FEEDING their OWN people, they are INTENTIONALLY enforcing a famine. If the famine was enforced in say a republic/country like Ukraine....why is that not genocide??????? This makes me CRAZY! I have seen pictures of people in HARKOV laying on the street dead during the famine. So the famine never reached the big cities? Is Harkov not a big city? The best book I have read on the famine is "Harvest of Sorrows" by Robert Conquest. I couldn't finish it because it was so horrific, but it will definitely explain want happened if anyone really cares to dig into the truth.

123 123 said...

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