By Vlad Lavrov, www.ArtUkraine.com Information Service (ARTUIS)
Kyiv, Ukraine, Friday, August 22, 2003
KYIV.......The round table "Time to Speak the Truth," in commemoration of
the 70th Anniversary of the Holodomor in Ukraine, was organized as a part of
the VIII Ukrainian World Congress by the Ukrainian Congress Committee of
America (UCCA) and the Scientific and Research Institute of Ukrainian
Studies of the Ministry of Education and Science of Ukraine.
The Roundtable was held in Kyiv at the Teachers House on August 21, 2003.
The audience of around 150 people included prominent historians who
specifically researched that period of history both from Ukraine and abroad,
members of parliament, representatives of diplomatic community and the
Patriarch Lubomyr Huzar, member of parliament Ivan Pliushch, historian Petro Kononenko, journalist Borys Hryvachevsky, and historian Taras Hunchak in the presidium
(Click on images to enlarge them)
Lubomyr Huzar, patriarch of the Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church, opened
the Roundtable with a prayer. He then made a brief presentation noting that
it is increasingly important for everybody to exercise moral judgment on
the events that took place in the past as well as on those that are
One of the main themes prevailing at the round table was the need to
officially recognize the tragic famine in Ukraine in 1932-1933 as a genocide
by those in Ukraine today and by the international community. At the moment
only the Ukrainian Rada and several parliaments abroad have passed a
resolution in which the Famine 1932-33 was recognized as a genocide of the
Neither the executive nor judicial branches of power in Ukraine have done
so. Therefore, it was decided that besides of the address to the governments
and people of the world that was originally planned, the participants in the
round table would address the Ukrainian president, government and the
Supreme Court urging them to recognize the famine in Ukraine as a genocide
Among the speakers were Askold Lozynsky, president of the UWC; Yuriy
Shcherbak, former Ukrainian Ambassador to the US and Canada; Marta
Kolomiets, Ukrainian-American leader implementing development programs
in Ukraine, Professor James Mace, Kyiv; Professor Roman Serbyn, Canada;
and members of parliament Ivan Pliushch, Liliya Hryhorovych, Ivan Zayets,
and Pavlo Movchan.
A heated discussion was caused by the speech of Natalya Zarudna, the state
secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in which she gave a report on
the Ministry's work within the international community in commemorating the
70th Anniversary of the Famine.
The controversial part of Ms. Zarudna's speech was related to the activities
of the Ministry in the United Nations. In the text of the resolution on the
Famine in Ukraine submitted to the UN for discussion the word "Genocide"
was replaced with the phrase "Communist Crime Against Humanity."
Ms. Zarudna explained that after numerous consultations at the UN it was
decided that the famine did not qualify for genocide since there were
Ukrainians among those who organized it and thus it was not the genocide
of one nation by another.
Amid the heated argument caused by this fact, there were many speakers,
Askold Lozynsky, president of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC) among
them, who pointed out that there is a very strong opposition in the world to
recognizing famine as genocide of the Ukrainian nation.
It was very surprising to some at the Roundtable to hear that Russia, the
United States and many European countries are in opposition to it evidently
for the fear of creating a dangerous precedent that will lead to other
countries being accused of genocide as well.
Member of parliament Ivan Zayets
Another wave of criticism of the Ukrainian government came when Ivan Zayets,
Member of Parliament (MP) ("Nasha Ukrayina") accused the government and
the Kyiv City Administration of changing the location for the new famine
memorial as specified by the Ukrainian Rada, which was in the downtown part
of Kyiv in the Pechersk district.
Zayets said he understands now that the famine memorial will instead be
built on the outskirts of Kyiv. The reason for that, according to Mr.
Zayets, was the desire by some leaders to use the central location for an
elite residential complex. As Pavlo Movchan, MP ("Nasha Ukrayina") pointed
out, the new Ukrainian elite are totally indifferent to the problems being
discussed at the round table.
Professor Roman Serbyn
Roman Serbyn, a professor from Canada, noted in this regard that there has
to be firmness in keeping the word GENOCIDE on the text of the resolution
submitted to the UN, even if it means that it will only be passed much later
because of that. He also said that we must be firm in defending the central
location for the new famine memorial, even if it means that it will be built
not now but in the future.
Almost all speakers at the round table were unanimous in praising Dr. James
Mace and all the work he had done leading the US Congress Commission
which investigated Famine in Ukraine during the 1980's. There were calls to
urge the government to award Dr. Mace the Hero of Ukraine honor.
Dr. Mace opened his address with sharing the good news with the audience
that according to information he received in the UKRAINE REPORT 2003
the parliament of Basque republic plans to pass a resolution in which the
famine of Ukraine is recognized as the genocide of Ukrainian nation.
The rest of his speech was not as optimistic since it dealt with he fact
that approximately one-third of Kyivites do not consider themselves patriots
of Ukraine and will not be celebrating its independence. Dr. Mace analyzed
this fact as one of the effects of famine which made Ukraine a society of
Dr. James Mace
Marta Kolomiets presented the audience the book by her grandfather Ivan
"Holodomor Memoirs of One Family" about the tragic events that happened
in the Poltava area during the famine in 1932-33.
The round table "TIME TO SPEAK THE TRUTH" passed two resolution:
one to the president, government, and the Supreme Court of Ukraine, and
another to the governments and people of the world calling in both of these
resolutions to recognize the famine in Ukraine a genocide.
The text of the resolutions led to yet another heated discussion among the
audience, where many people, among them Mr. Kocherha, of the Chicago
Famine Association, USA, called for shortening the text of the document,
claiming that the text proposed for approval was too long and difficult to
comprehend. Both of the resolutions were approved by the main session
of the Ukrainian World Congress (UWC).
The famine posters for this event were provided courtesy of www.ArtUkraine.com Information Service (ARTUIS)