Back then, not so distant 85 years ago, ears of wheat could be a real chance of salvation and survival. The terrible and cynical tragedy, initiated by the Soviet authorities, turned reality the way that now we turn to the wheat ears again, even if it seems that we have all that we need. This time – they are a symbol that honors the memory of the deceased in 1932-33.
Hundreds of stories about grandfathers and grandmothers, posts that appeal not to forget about one of the most important moments of the year, and emotional freeze after realizing what actually happened at that time – Ukrainians started to talk about the grave and painful tragedy from the very morning, some of them even the day before. According to some estimates, about 17 Ukrainians died every minute at the peak of Holodomor. 1020 people per hour, about 25 thousand a day. It turns out that mathematics can be extremely cruel.
Yesterday, November 24, the memory of Holodomor victims was honored all over the country and beyond it. President Poroshenko announced the all-national moment of silence, which in fact became a marker of consciousness and commemoration. It started the action at the Memorial to Holodomor victims. According to the president, a considerable number of countries all around the world have already recognized Holodomor as the genocide of the Ukrainian people. However, the responsibility for everything lies with Russia, as it is the successor to the USSR. And that crime has no time limits.
“Historical responsibility for Holodomor lies with the Russian Federation as a successor to the USSR, and that crime has no time limits. Like a hundred years ago, Russia has launched an aggression against Ukraine in order to return us to the empire. Kremlin hates and fears a free European Ukraine again. But they will no longer be able to turn the wheel of history backward. Never again will there be another Holodomor, Great Terror, or Russification,” the president said.
President’s speech and a minute of silence are, of course, not the only reason, for which Ukrainians gathered at the Memorial yesterday. By preliminary estimates, delegates from 50 countries came to honor the deceased in this tragedy. After the official part of the event, people continued to bring flowers and ears of wheat to the Memorial of remembrance.
Photos from the place of commemoration are not just a picture from one more formal event. In this case, it’s about photos that are worth looking without any text. Their emotionality may be silent, but at the same time maximally eloquent. Each candle, every ear of wheat, every flower, and every person that puts all of his or her work aside for the sake of honoring the memory of the dead is a document of nowadays, an illustration of our ability not to lose important things and to focus on the main ones. After all, this simply shows our priorities.
And even if at four p.m. only one car has stopped out of hundred or two, and out of hundreds of pedestrians a few people recalled commemoration – this is a small victory already. Until we’re not dissolving in our own oblivion and until we’re not allowing the memory to set accents and priorities on its own – there is still hope. Memory is a phenomenon that is deeply philosophical and metaphorical. Past is something even bigger, it seems that it can dissolve in itself everything. To float in the ocean of the past is a test that we have to pass every day.
“In 1932-33 there were no natural disasters in Ukraine. There were no tragic circumstances. There was only a scrupulously executed Kremlin’s plan that brought an unprecedented human tragedy to the fertile Ukrainian lands. Today’s Moscow is also struggling to stamp out the memory of Holodomor victims. Moreover, with the renewed vigor it rushed to tear apart the Ukrainian soul in Donbas and in the Crimea,” Petro Poroshenko is convinced.
The genocide of Ukrainian people is a conscious policy of Soviet authorities, which, despite all the efforts, could not suppress a Ukrainian spirit. For a while, it weakened its grip and then cynically and brutally killed millions and millions of people. However, it couldn’t win. For even one candle per dozens of windows is already a sign and a symbol that in our memory there is a place for important things. And while we remember the past, it is impossible to take away the present from us.
Photo by Ivan Pechenyi