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Balyszak: Honor the victims of the Holodomor
MY VIEW

Balyszak: Honor the victims of the Holodomor

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Members of clergy and a woman examine the Holodomor Memorial in Washington in 2016.

This Saturday, Nov. 21, will be the 87th tragic anniversary of the Holodomor (killing by starvation), also known as the Famine–Genocide in Ukraine in 1932–1933.

In commemorating these horrendous deaths, St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City will remember and pray for these 10 million innocent victims at 2 p.m. that day. (You can view this 87th commemoration at saintpatrickscathedral.org/live.)

Ukrainians — and others — will pay tribute for the victims of a virtually unknown and deliberate starving to death of 10 million innocent men, women and children by the brutal Soviet regime under Joseph Stalin.

At the height of Stalin's forced famine in the spring of 1933, 25,000 Ukrainians were dying every day!

British Prime Minister Winston Churchill asked Stalin how many had perished by starvation. Stalin raised his arms and opened his hands so all 10 fingers were distinctly shown and boasted — "this many millions!"

So how did this genocide occur and why didn’t the rest of the world stop it?

In 1928, Stalin implemented his "Five Year Plan" in which he abolished private industry, nationalized commerce, imposed increasingly unrealistic grain quotas and collectivized all farms in which farmers had to surrender their grain, land and livestock to the state.

And although Ukraine is known as the "Breadbasket of Europe," enough grain was exported to buy machinery for USSR's modernization and military buildup that could've fed the entire population of Ukraine for nearly two years.

In November 1932 Stalin sent in at least 25,000 troops and Bolshevik zealots to seal Ukraine's borders to prevent food from being brought in and to prevent any peasants from leaving unless they had an internal passport.

This prevented the peasants from leaving their villages in search of food, which condemned them to die by starvation.

And if anyone took "any" grain, etc., they'd be shot or sent to Siberia for 10 years.

I’ll list just a few accounts documented by some Holodomor survivors. Many ate leaves, grasses, killed dogs, cats, mice, frogs, birds, etc. Others, who had gone mad with hunger, resorted to cannibalism and some dug up the dead. Parents sometimes even ate their own children.

Yes, it was that bad!

Most foreign journalists were banned from traveling to Ukraine. However, New York Times reporter Walter Duranty — better known as "Stalin's apologist" — wasn't.

Duranty covered up Stalin's forced starvation. On March 31, 1933, he wrote:

"There is no actual starvation or death from starvation, but there is widespread mortality from diseases due to malnutrition."

The New York Times refuses to admit Duranty's duplicity and the Pulitzer Prize remains for his infamous writings.

However, a few reporters like Gareth Jones and Malcolm Muggeridge — who traveled to Ukraine in secrecy — did report the truth on this widespread forced famine.

Unfortunately, the apathy of most world governments couldn't overcome this undeniable genocide — which was further buried by Stalin by rejecting aid from America, Canada, France, Germany, Poland, Romania and the Red Cross — so the carnage continued unabated.

On Stalin's orders, those who conducted the 1937 census of Ukraine, which showed a dramatic decrease, were shot. The results were suppressed and kept secret for 51 years.

Finally in 1987, former Russian President Mikhail Gorbachev admitted the existence of this devastating famine.

However, today’s Russian President Vladimir Putin, still denies this genocide.

A joint statement by 65 United Nations members of Nov. 7, 2003, reads: "The Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Ukraine (Holodomor), which took from 7 to 10 million innocent lives and became a national tragedy for the Ukrainian people."

Additionally, in November 2011, White House press secretary Jay Carney reiterated Congress' 1988 and 2003 declarations of this genocide: "This terrible tragedy, created by the intentional seizure of crops and farms across Ukraine by Joseph Stalin, was one of communism's greatest atrocities."

And today, 23 other countries officially recognize the Holodomor as "genocide."

Hitler slaughtered 6 million Jews during World War II and many voluminous Holocaust writings and many memorials exist today — as they should.

Yet today, there's still scant mention of 10 million Ukrainians — and others — intentionally starved to death.

Why is that?

Bill Balyszak is a Fleming resident

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