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News of Interest
Review of the Film Kaytarma
A new film about the deportation of Crimean Tatars, Kaytarma was first screened in Simferopol in May of this year. It is based on the experiences of Amet Khan Sultan, a decorated fighter pilot in the Soviet armed forces. He is given a leave to visit his family in Crimea just prior to the deportation and witnesses the sorrowful and tragic departure of his people. The film stirred up emotions among the Crimean Tatar viewers as well as controversy which led to the resignation of the Russian Consul in Crimea. We are pleased to publish a review of the film Kaytarma written by Greta Uehling. See: "The Release of Kaytarma and its Aftermath."
May 18 Commemorative Events
On May 18, thousands of people participated in commemorative meetings and peaceful demonstrations to observe the 69th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars. Normally on this date, Crimean Tatars stage a rally in Simferopol's central square to honor those who died during deportation and arduous years of exile, and voice their demands for land and better housing, equal employment opportunities and elimination of human rights violations. This year, however, the anniversary was marked by widespread participation of Crimean Tatar diaspora in Western European countries, Turkey and the US. These peaceful demonstrations were held in front of Ukrainian embassies in Germany, France, Holland and Belgium. In various cities in Turkey and in New York, Crimean Tatars and their friends arranged for public gatherings to honor the victims of deportation and to offer prayers.
For a report from Simferopol, written by Dr. Greta L. Uehling, see:
"The 69th anniversary of the deportation of the Crimean Tatar people: A report from their historic homeland in Crimea."
For an analysis of events that have created the tense political climate in Crimea, see Dr. Idil P. Izmirli's article:
"Growing Sense of Polarization and Escalating Tensions in Crimea Ahead of 69th Anniversary of Crimean Tatar Deportation," Eurasia Daily Monitor, Volume: 10 Issue: 94, 17 May 2013.
Demonstration in Brussells on May 18
ICC's Statement on the Deportation Anniversary
On the 69th anniversary of the deportation of Crimean Tatars from their homeland, we remember all those who died during the years of exile. They were victims of hunger, disease, cruel separation from families and unjust governmental policies. In anticipation of the anniversary, several posters are circulating in the social media now. One says:
18 May 1944 / Black Day / We did not forget / We will not forget / It will not be forgotten
Another poster (below) refers to the Day of Remembrance, honoring those deported from Crimea. Most of the deportees from Crimea were women, children and elderly men, while able men fought in WWII defending the Soviet motherland. Nearly half of the deportees died during the long and arduous journey on unsanitary trains and within two years of life in special settlements. Forced to live in exile for decades, many Crimean Tatars were able to return to Crimea only after the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s. However, they have met many obstacles trying to resettle in their homeland. Land ownership, employment, education in their own native language, and social prejudice and discrimination remain the main problems. Recent political pressures from the local Crimean administration are not conducive to the peaceful settlement of native people subjected to forced migration and repression. Over 100,000 Crimean Tatars are still living in Uzbekistan where they were deported nearly 70 years ago.
18 MayDay of Remembrance
Frustrated by the inaction of the Ukrainian government in facilitating the repatriation of Crimean Tatars, members of the diaspora living in Turkey and European countries will be staging peaceful demonstrations on 18 May 2013. Organized by the European Crimean Tatar Cultural Center, groups of concerned citizens, carrying Crimean flags, will gather in front of the Ukrainian Embassies in Germany, France, Holland and Belgium to protest the recent political pressures exerted by the local Crimean administration and to show their solidarity with Crimean repatriates. We applaud the efforts of the members of the European diaspora to organize peaceful demonstrations in support of their compatriots in Crimea and hope that their actions will have the desired positive effect.
Cornucopia Magazine's Guide to Crimea
The most recent issue of Cornucopia magazine features a travel guide to Crimea, with over 100 pages of text and gorgeous illustrations, including many historic pictures. Cornucopia's editor and publisher spent 9 days in Crimea, covering the Ukrainian peninsula from east to west and visiting the southern coast and Sevastopol, the site of the Crimean War. Bahçesaray in the heartland, the administrative center of Crimean Khanate, is also included. You can see and read the Cornucopia's Guide to Crimea online.
Jewish Fort, Bahçesaray, 1840
Our Forgotten Diaspora in Brazil
We are pleased to publish a story about a man named Izzet (Ismet Kasim) who had lived half of his life in Crimea and refugee camps in Germany. He then moved to Brazil, established a new life and had a family. Almost thirty years after his death in 1983, his grandson from Brazil contacted the ICC, wanting to know if anyone had information about his grandfather. Mubeyyin B. Altan, the first President of the ICC, has succeeded in reconstructing Izzet's story owing to a set of amazing coincidences. He managed to talk to a number of elderly Crimean Tatars who had also spent time in German refugee camps and now live in New York, including his own father. The result is a remarkable story: Our Forgotten Diaspora: From Kulcora, Crimea to Curitiba, Brazil.
Camp Mittenwald, Germany, 1947
Arabat Tragedy Series
A narrow strip of land, a sandbar, that lies to the northeast of the Crimean peninsula was the scene of a horrendous crime during WWII. The Arabat Spit was barely populated in 1944, when the remaining group of villagers, left behind during the forced relocation of Crimean Tatars, were rounded up and drowned in the Azov Sea. The Soviet authorities denied that the event took place; however, there were eye-witnesses and the horrible demise of innocent villagers survived in the memory of indigenous people of Crimea. A series of narratives, including an eye-witness account, a story and a ballad, has been recently posted to our Web site. We would like to extend our thanks to Mubeyyin Altan of New York for translating the literary pieces into English and introducing the Series. See: Arabat Tragedy Series: Introduction.
NASA Map, showing Crimea (#9) and Arabat Spit (#5)
Why save an endangered language?
In her brief essay, Barbara Wieser explains why it is important to save the Crimean Tatar, now considered an endangered language: "For Crimean Tatar people no longer to have access to a language their ancestors have spoken for hundreds of years would greatly diminish who they are as a people. Their songs would go unsung, their poetry only read by language scholars, and wealth of their literary heritage only known in translated form." To read further, see "Why save an endangered language?" Barbara Wieser is a Peace Corps Volunteer, based at the Gasprinskiy Library, Simferopol, Crimea, Ukraine.
Photographs relating to Crimean Tatars and Related Activities
Photographs relating to Crimean Tatars and related activities are now available at the FLICKR or PICASA Web sites:
- Nenkejan Women's Club participates in 2012 GFWC Convention
- International Conference in Crimea, 14-15 October 2011
- Ceremony at Victims of Communism Memorial, Washington, DC, 10 June 2010
- Memorial Meeting in Simferopol,Crimea, 18 May 2010
- Nowruz Celebration at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC
- Wreath-laying Ceremony in Washington, DC, 18 May 2009
- Memorial Meeting in Simferopol, 18 May 2009.
- World Congress of Crimean Tatars, Simferopol, 19-23 May 2009.
- Activities of International Day of the World's Indigenous People, Simferopol, 8 August 2009
- A Crimean Tatar Wedding
- Children of Crimea
- Crimean Tatar Embroidery
- And More ...
Last Update: June 9, 2013