Speaker: MR. SCHAFFER
· Mr. SCHAFFER: Mr. Speaker, as Co-Chair of the Congressional
Ukrainian Caucus, I rise today to commemorate those innocent victims
murdered by the Soviet regime during the Ukrainian Famine. Mr. Speaker, I
also call the attention of the House to the famine presently being waged
against the people of Zambia, Zimbabwe and South-central Africa.
· This year, on November 23, the world observes the 69th anniversary
of Ukraine's Great Famine -- an unspeakable event. By presidential decree,
every fourth Saturday in November is a national day of remembrance for
famine and genocide victims throughout Ukraine. History has not witnessed a
greater moral injustice. This was genocide unlike any other example in the
history of human civilization.
· At the time of the Great Ukrainian Famine, playwright George
Bernard Shaw and his friend, Lady Astor, had a rare visit with Josef Stalin.
"When are you going to stop killing people?" Lady Astor brazenly asked of
Comrade Stalin. His terse reply: "When it is no longer necessary."
· Stalin's favorite killing tool was mass starvation, a tactic he
used ruthlessly against his own people. "The collectivization program in
Ukraine resulted in a famine which cost not less than 3,000,000 lives in
1932. It was a Stalin-made famine," reported Time Magazine in its January 1,
1940, issue. We know now, the more realistic estimate is more than twice
that originally reported by Time.
· The Ukrainian Famine of 1921 - 1923 was a human tragedy
perpetrated by the Soviet regime in an attempt to destroy Ukraine and its
culture and leave behind an amorphous mass of people that could be
restructured and redefined to serve the Soviet Union. It began as a process
of assimilation, but soon turned to the collectivization and then
subjugation of Ukrainian peasants, their lands, and their livelihoods. Most
paid the ultimate price for their heritage, culture and orientation toward
· Bolshevik partisans confiscated grain from Ukrainian peasants and
subsequently exported the stolen food to foreign nations and other regions
of the Soviet empire. Those who protested were imprisoned, deported, or
often killed on the spot. This grain, belonging to Ukraine, would have
saved thousands of Ukrainian lives. Instead, it was callously shipped off
for purposes of generating state profit, sometimes left to rot on the docks,
or shipped to meet the needs of Russia's population. Once the famine ended,
Ukraine's population was further decimated by a series of epidemics.
· The Commission on the Ukraine Famine, appointed by Congress in
1986, researched and documented this terrible event. The commission
confirmed these horrible events and verified the cruelty with which the
atrocity was executed. The deliberate mass starvation did indeed constitute
an act of genocide against Ukrainians. The commission's findings are
recorded in the Congressional Record for posterity, as is the graphic and
sobering testimony of genocide survivors.
· Mr. Speaker, Members of the Congressional Ukrainian Caucus have,
in prior years, risen here on the House floor in observance of the Ukrainian
Famine and in solidarity with the survivors of this terrible tragedy. We
have taken great efforts to ensure this House never forgets. In fact, we
honor the lives of the victims by rededicating ourselves to summoning the
strength and courage of our own nation and the conscientious voices of its
leaders in the Congress to stand in firm contradiction to any new tyrant who
would contemplate such devastation through intentional famine.
Today's observance compels me to also speak out against one such example of
starvation currently taking place in south-central Africa. Mr. Speaker,
America must be unambiguous in its opposition to the deliberate famine
presently being orchestrated there by an alliance of clearly defined
· As in Ukraine seventy 70 years ago, Southern Africa's famine has
less to do with drought and everything to do with pure politics. Today,
nearly 13 million people in Southern Africa face a similar starvation.
· "We're staring catastrophe in the face - unless we get food aid
fast to millions of people whose lives are in the balance because they are
starving," said James Morris, the UN's special envoy to the region.
· Officials blame environmental groups such as Friends of the Earth
and Greenpeace that have pressured African countries like Zambia to halt
shipments of food aid from the United States and other nations willing and
able to relieve the famine and save precious lives. The groups oppose
so-called genetically modified (GM) foods. Extremist groups have put their
ideology - opposing the importation of all such hybrid agricultural
products - ahead of the lives of starving people.
· "It's very disturbing to me that some groups have chosen a famine
to make a political point," says Andrew Natsios, administrator of the U.S.
Agency for International Development (USAID). "The lives of 13 million
people are at risk."
· Natsios said the U.S. is ready to supply more than 75 percent of
all the food coming into starving Southern Africa. "If they don't get food
from us they're not going to get it," he said.
· This year, for example, Zimbabwe has refused to accept U.S. corn,
convinced by radical groups that GM grain might somehow "contaminate" native
crops. Some of this life-saving corn was grown in my own state of Colorado.
Adding more disinformation, Friends of the Earth claims "the U.S. is
disposing of its rejected food on Africa," in a news release last month.
· Just as in Stalin's days, truth has seldom been an ally of the
Left. Natsios, who says the U.S. has been supplying GM foods to the region
for the past seven years, also says it is the same food sold and consumed in
the United States. "I've never seen, in my 30 years of public service, such
disinformation and intellectual dishonesty," he said.
· As for problems with modified crops -- there are none. Concerned
about the lives of millions of people desperately in need, the World Health
Organization (WHO) released a report at the end of the summer assuring GM
foods are perfectly safe. "Southern African countries should consider
accepting GM food aid in the face of the humanitarian crisis facing the
region," urged WHO Director General Gro Harlem Brundtland.
· Like the notorious 1932-1933 mass starvation in Ukraine, famine is
not always borne of a natural disaster. However, famine can become an
effective ideological weapon.
· Stalin himself would have been proud of the sordid partnership
forged by radical environmentalists and African tyrants. What are a few
million lives worth to this axis of hunger when there are political
statements to be made?
· Mr. Speaker, I urge the House to speak in strenuous objection to
this African tragedy unfolding before our very eyes. The extreme human
price paid for the lessons of the Great Ukrainian Famine should not be
dismissed now to the complacency of an overwhelmed world. To permit this
new festering scourge is to insult the memory of those poor Ukrainians who
have perished while trivializing the dignity of their survivors whose lives
command us to respond with immediate courage.