March 3, 2024 Ukraine

Published by Victor Barr on

The Holodomor – it’s a word I’d never heard until this week. A tragedy that occurred almost one hundred years ago in the Ukraine. At the time part of the Soviet Union. Holodomor literally means death by hunger. And that is what happened between 1931 and 1934 in many parts of Ukraine and Kazakhstan. Some consider it a form of genocide committed by Joseph Stalin against the Ukrainian people.

It’s a story that not that many of us are familiar with. 

I don’t remember learning about it in school. And yet as many as ten million people perished as the result of Soviet collectivism. A communist program where the peasants were forced to give up their farms and work on a collective farm. All the food and grain were shipped to Moscow. In school, we learned all about the holocaust, yet a similar disaster had taken place only a few years before, but it was something I never learned about – until now. 

I discovered the story when I found a book called The Memory Keeper of Kyiv. A compelling story of a survivor of the famine that struck the towns and villages of the Soviet Union in the 1930s. While North America was dealing with its own tragic tale of the Great Depression, the people of the Soviet Union were dealing with something far worse. Something that could have been prevented. 

The book impacted me and drew a parallel to what is happening today in Ukraine. It’s no wonder they fight so hard against the Russians. Putin is the most despotic ruler since Joseph Stalin, and yet some would excuse their ruthless behavior. In the thirties, Stalin had Walter Duranty, today Tucker Carlson went to Moscow and sucked up to the Russian dictator.

After reading the novel I came across a movie on Netflix called Mr Jones. It tells the story of Gareth Jones, the first western reporter to cover the unfolding tragedy. While reporting on what he saw of the famine, Walter Duranty from the New York Times was busy refuting what he saw. He was in the pocket of the Soviets, much like Carlson is in the pocket of the Russian president today.

When will the world be rid of such despotic men? Russia has a long history of being ruled by dictators and despots. It’s as if they don’t know any other way. Incredibly, some accuse Trudeau of being a despot, meanwhile, Putin’s enemies keep falling dead for some strange reason. I don’t see Pierre Polivre being arrested or assassinated. 

We can’t sit by in the west and watch Ukraine fall to the Russian bear. Still, what would we do? Russia is armed to the teeth with nuclear weapons. 

I remember watching the Berlin Wall fall and with great hope, I thought we were done with war and hate. Except that it only lasted two years before the first Gulf War began. Now here we are over thirty years later and it seems as if the world is in worse shape than it has been since those days ninety years ago. 

War in Ukraine, Hamas, and Isreal in the Gaza Strip. Not to mention the myriad of conflicts brewing in other parts of the world. When will we learn? When will peace win out over hate?

At the same time, we cannot let evil rule. We need to fight against tyranny. We must stand up for our fellow man and ensure freedom wins over tyranny. 

That can start in small ways at home. We must speak out against injustice and stand up for what is right. 

Watch Mr Jones, read The Memory Keeper of Kyiv. I warn you though, it is not for the faint of heart. We need to keep the story alive of those who are lost.

I hope one day we will learn to live in peace. Before it’s too late.

Categories: Daily Journal


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