The Shadow of Holodomor

As we enjoy our Thanksgiving leftovers (or any favorite meal if you are not from the US) remember those without. Specifically, I want us to remember the victims of Holodomor.

November 21-28 is Holodomor Remembrance Week, a week in which we commemorate the millions of Ukrainians who were murdered by starvation from 1932-1933. Holodomor literally means death by hunger, and it was inflicted by Joseph Stalin to force them to comply with Soviet aims and eliminate Ukrainian culture and independence. When we think of genocide, we think of the extermination of the Jews in the Holocaust. While no reasonable person seeks to minimize their suffering, billions of other victims of genocide are not remembered. Victims aren’t always recognized as having been part of any genocide, as is the case with the Armenians. We think of starvation as something pitiful that happens to brown people in Africa and not something that can strike *us.* Think again.

I am not Ukrainian, but I knew someone whose parents survived Holodomor. I am of Slavic descent myself. So take a moment and “offer it up” to people that suffered and that continue to suffer from famine and genocide. Affect change, not just in faraway lands, but in your hometown as well.

And the next time someone slams fat people by romanticizing “healthy” peasant lifestyles, tell them to come for a visit and see how they like it.:)


One comment

  1. vesta44 · November 25, 2011

    My great-grandfather was born in the Ukraine in the late 1800’s (he died in Spokane, WA in 1961, he was in his 80s, I think). That was my mother’s mother’s father. My mother’s father’s father was born in Gdansk, so there’s Slavic blood in my family as well. I’ve been proud of my Polish ancestry ever since I read Story of a Secret State by Jan Karski, about the Polish resistance during WW II.
    I don’t know the history of how our ancestors came to the United States or exactly when they came, but I imagine it was to escape pogroms like the one you describe.

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