Saturday, November 27, 1999
St. Nicholas Ukrainian Catholic Church
An ecumenical memorialization of genocide on the 66th Anniversary of the Famine-Genocide in Ukraine 1933
Ukraine - In the 1930's the Soviet Union sought to destroy Ukrainian nationalism and confiscate the land and property of the people. Stalin achieved his objective through genocide by creating a man-made-famine that resulted in 7 million deaths. During WWII, between Russian and Nazi occupations, internment, enslavement and murder, another 14.5 million Ukrainians perished. This horrendous toll is the highest suffered by any European people during the war.
Tragically, these crimes against humanity were not the first or last of theft kind. As great as Ukrainian suffering has been, we remain sensitive to the suffering of others. This is why Ukrainian Canadians have joined a multicultural coalition of Canadian communities calling for the establishment of an inclusive Canadian Genocide Museum.
A brief chronological list of other genocides being memorialized today includes:
First Nations - With the arrival of the first European colonial settlers the indigenous population in the Americas faced extermination. Vast populations beginning in Central America, having refused slavery, were subjected to extermination. Through ethnic cleansing and disease 90% of the Indian population was exterminated in the first hundred years of colonial settlement. The aboriginal peoples suffer to this day from policies that were calculated to bring about their destruction.
Congo - The 20th century's first genocide. To ensure Belgian control over this rich African colonial possession, King Leopold II presided over the genocidal slaughter of 1/2 of the population of the Congo. In all, this slaughter claimed the lives of 12.5 million Congolese.
Armenia - In the midst of World War I, the Ottoman Empire ordered the mass deportation of the Armenian population from their homeland. Massacres quickly followed the order. Those that were not massacred outright were subjected to a death march. All told 1.5 million Armenians were killed and a further 500,000 were exiled.
Pontus - The southeastern area of the Black Sea, had for thousands of years been home to people of Greek origin. Of the 1914 population numbering 700,000, by 1922, 300,000 had been killed and the balance made refugees as a result of Ottoman Government policies.
Libya - Occupied by Mussolini's Fascists, between the world wars Libyans were subjected to a brutal occupation and campaign of mass terror, internment in concentration camps, and murder that decimated the Arab population.
Belarus - Soviet "Russification" campaigns of the 1930% cost the Belarusan people much of theft cultural identity and 2.25 million lives. During WWII, the Nazi invasion resulted in a further loss of 2.2 million dead and missing.
China - Starting in 1932, Imperial Japan's 14 year invasion of China, sometimes described as "The Forgotten Holocaust", was characterized by brutality, that even when considered against the history of man's inhumanity to man remains unprecedented. China suffered some 35 million casualties.
Poland - The Poles were the first people to suffer from the genocidal Intentions of the Nazi State. Considered sub-human by Nazi's, their lands were to be turned over for use by Aryans. During World War II, they suffered from a brutal occupation by both Nazi and Soviet forces. Six million Poles were killed.
Baltic States - During WWII Soviet and Nazi occupations of Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia left these states devastated. Slaughtered, deported, and enslaved, these Baltic nations lost over 50% of their natural populations. After the war the Soviets subjected these states to great oppression to force their assimilation.
Jewish Holocaust - From the 1930's, with the rise of Nazism, the Jews of Germany were stripped of their equal rights and subjected to persecution, government sponsored violence and deportation. During WWII, the Jews of Europe became targeted for internment, enslavement and ultimately extermination. In all up to 6 million Jews were killed.
Roma Holocaust - The Roma (also called "Gypsies") historically lived as pariahs of European society. During WWII the Roma were summarily subjected to arrest, internment and murder. 90% of the Roma population of Europe was exterminated. No other people suffered greater proportional losses.
India/Pakistan - At the time of partition, in 1947, 10 million Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims changed lands. Approximately, 1 million were killed in the genocidal slaughter that accompanied these refugees' flight in terror. In recent years, India has suffered from violence against minorities that has killed tens of thousands.
Palestine - In 1948, the last of the European colonial settler movements resulted in the dispossession and ethnic cleansing of more than a million Palestinian Arabs from their historic homeland, and the subsequent subjugation of millions of others under a racist system of apartheid.
Biafra - Alienated by massacres in 1966, the Ibo attempted to separate from Nigeria and form a new state (Biafra) in 1967. The war with Nigeria and the imposed man-made-famine cost 1 million Ibo lives.
Cambodia - Starting in 1975, the regime of Pol Pot began the summary execution of whole classes of Cambodian society. During a 4-year reign of terror as many as 2 million people died as a consequence of Pol Pot's policies of social engineering.
East Timor - In 1975, the East Timorese were invaded by the Indonesian army. The efforts over the next 25 years to annex the territory, and crush resistance, resulted in the extermination of one third of the original population of 750,000.
Kurdistan - Denied statehood at the end of the First World War, the Kurdish people have long suffered from brutal attempts to destroy the Kurds as a people. In the 1980% these attempts have ranged from the outlawing of the Kurdish language and culture to the extermination of civilian populations by poison gas.
Sri Lanka - Since 1983 the military government has tried to destroy the Tamil cultural identity and deny them self-determination. Over 65,000 Tamils have been slaughtered at the hands of the military. Hundreds of thousands of others have been driven into exile in search of sanctuary from human rights abuses.
Rwanda/Burundi - Hutus and Tutsies have lived with inter-communal tension in the bi-national post-colonial states of Rwanda and Burundi. This escalated to genocide on several occasions. Between 1962 and 1972, 120,000 Hutus were killed by the Majority Tutsies in Burundi. During only a few weeks in 1994, the majority Hutus in Rwanda murdered 500,000 Tutsies.
Balkans - With the disintegration of Yugoslavia in the 1990's many Serbs, Muslims, and Croats found themselves as minorities in new states. All fell victim to ethnic cleansing and war crimes. Of particular note is the expulsion of Serbs from the Krijina and Muslims from areas in Bosnia.