Vujko Ilko has been visiting Winnipeg, the home of the controversial Canadian Museum for Human Rights. He attended the Ukrainian Canadian Congress public meeting designed to cast some light on the status of the Museum’s treatment of Holodomor.
“How was the weather in Winnipeg, Uncle Ilko,” I ask as an opener.
“Left me as miserable as the UCC dog and pony show.”
“Because it’s the 11th hour, that’s why. For UCC to win a case for a fair and equal treatment for Holodomor at this late date, it needs more than a call to raise money and to write letters to MPs. That should have been a tactic years ago when they first had a whiff that the Museum was not honouring its commitment to the proper treatment of the famine genocide. It seems its been determined for some time now to highlight the crimes of the Nazis while covering up those of the Communists.”
“Back up Vujko. What happened during the especially arranged tour for UCC in early February?”
“The UCC was skunked. Apparently it sent an indignant letter to the Museum but when asked for a copy, none was forthcoming. The UCC reports a most unsatisfactory treatment of the Holodomor. Dr. Curle, the man responsible for content, says the Holocaust will serve to illustrate the danger in today’s world: Germany had a constitution, etc. etc: yet bad things happened. The same can be said for Ukraine at the time of the Soviets. It too had a constitution and an ideology that promised heaven on earth…”
“…but delivered hell.”
“Exactly! Yet this is irrelevant to the Museum. It treats the Holocaust in an exclusive manner and denies viewers equal access to the overwhelming crime committed by the Communists. Discrimination plain and simple.
“The battling of the Nazis is everywhere, as if they still were a threat. Recently, CNN broadcasted over and over that Neo-Nazis were behind the shooting of a prosecutor in the US. Turns out this was wrong, but beating the dead horse and fear-mongering continues.”
“Exactly. The Nazi ideology has been dead some sixty years and is brought up whenever a bogeyman is needed. Meanwhile, Communists brutality keeps marching on, but gets whitewashed. Lenin’s crimes are protected by silence while the long-gone threat from Hitler gets ongoing and prominent exposure. The Museum is an over-the-top example.”
“Vujku, I read that communism is the most avaricious and nasty ideology of the 20th century; some 120 million dead world-wide and still at it. Why is Canada refusing to tell this story?”
“It said it would, but went back on its word. Clearly, influential people have an interest in protecting communism. Remember Lazar Kaganovych? He was Stalin’s No. 2 charged with eliminating national identity in the various Soviet states. Holodomor was but one instrument used in Ukraine, when people refused to be Sovietized. There were others -- mass exile to Siberia, executions in order to free up the real estate for the “deserving” apparatchiks. A Kaganovych grandson wrote that his grandpop has nothing to be ashamed of. Imagine someone saying Hitler has nothing to be ashamed of for gassing people. Yet the Museum is determined to protect the crimes of Communists.”
“Have its decision-makers [thought] this through, Unk?”
“UCC says it submitted some 800 documents.”
“And didn’t protest right then and there?”
“Incredible, isn’t it? But the Museum’s Board is nothing if not pigheaded; determined to keep the comparison of both atrocities out of the public’s mind. Exclusivity has its privileges. It lends protection to murderers like Kaganovych and hides all sorts of dirty linen.“
“Vujku, did you hear that Minister Jason Kenney focused on the reconciliation between Ukrainians and Jews during his trip to Kyiv last month? He says he’s already spent some $400,000 in doing so. “
“Are you serious? First, the government funds an ill-conceived Museum that undermines good relations among Canadians and then gives money to work on “reconciliation”? Who got the contract to do this?”
“I’ll call the minister’s office to find out. I’m ashamed of Canada, Vujku.”
“Be ashamed and worry about its future and that of your offspring. The Museum’s position reflects a “we and they” trend that is not being nipped in the bud. Not good. Call up some people in Kenney’s Calgary riding and find out what’s happening.”
“I’ll [contact] UCC, too. Perhaps they will know who set Minister Kenney’s agenda and who is getting the nearly half-million to work on “reconciliation”. There's a lot of grumbling about the lack of information coming out on this entire mess. Photo-ops and congratulatory messages are not enough. Folks want to know what’s happening on their behalf. A press release explaining who in the Ukrainian community initiated and supports their pseudo ”reconciliation” and who got the money would be a good step.
“Will you be signing the UCC petition seeking a turnaround for Holodomor at the Museum?”
“Of course. We must not give up even at the 11th hour.”