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International Committee for Crimea, Inc.
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News of Interest

Victims of Communism Memorial Anniversary

Once again, Crimean Tatars were represented at the wreath-laying ceremony at the Victims of Communism Memorial, Washington, DC, on June 11, 2014. The occasion marked the 7th anniversary of the unveiling of the Monument in 2007 and the 20th anniversary of the establishment of Victims of Communism Memorial Foundation.

Flowers in memory of Crimean Tatar victims
Flowers presented in memory of Crimean Tatars

During the ceremony, Myroslav Marynovych, a Ukrainian human rights advocate, received the Truman-Reagan Medal of Freedom. The other receipient, Mustafa Jemilev was unable to attend the ceremony. Ms. Lilia Muslimova, long-time secretary of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis, delivered Mr. Jemilev's message. Diplomats from foreign embassies, Members of United States Congress, representatives from nonprofit organizations and ethnic groups attended the event. Over forty wreaths, bouquets and floral arrangements adorned the Memorial at the end of the 2-hour ceremony. The ICC presented a basket of flowers in memory of Crimean Tatars, victimized by the Soviet authorities.

Dream Land appears in Ukrainian translation

Ukrainian edition of Dream Land

Dream Land, a novel by Lily Hyde, was recently issued in Ukrainian under the title Omriyanii krai (2014). It tells the story of a girl, who returns to Crimea with her family from exile in Uzbekistan. Her grandfather's stories provide background on the tragedies suffered by Crimean Tatars during deportation and exile. The problems of settling in their homeland Crimea are seen through the eyes of the 12-year old girl Safi. With this new edition, Lily Hyde's 2008 novel is now available three languages French, Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian. We are pleased to publish here Paul Goble's review, "Defining Novel about the Crimean Tatars Appears in Ukrainian."

Amnesty International Report

Amnesty International issued its Public Statement on the harassment and violence against Crimean Tatars on May 23, 2014. "Despite assurances made by the de facto Crimean authorities to protect the rights of Tatars, since the annexation of the peninsula by Russia in March this year, the Tatar community has faced increasing violence and discrimination," said John Dalhuisen, Amnesty International Director for Europe and Central Asia. The report is an excellent summary of human rights violations in Crimea, and it can be downloaded from the Amnesty's Web site.

"Son of Crimea" screened on May 18 and 22

In observance of the 70th anniversary of the Crimean Tatar deportation, the documentary "Son of Crimea: Struggle of a People" was screened at George Mason University, Arlington campus on May 18, 2014. The documentary tells the story of the Crimean Tatars' arduous journey during deportation, unsanitary conditions in cattle wagons used to transport them, and the misery awaiting the deportees in places of exile. Ukrainian Embassador Olexander Motsyk attended the event and addressed the audience. Inci Bowman of the ICC introduced the film and Paul Goble provided the commentary following the screening. The event was organized by Arlington Sister City Association, Ivano-Frankivsk (Ukraine) Committee; in cooperation with International Committee for Crimea, Inc., and the Embassy of Ukraine, Washington, DC. A report produced by the Voice of America: Ukrainian Service is available at VOA News Website (in Ukrainian).

Son of Crimea-poster

The May 22 screening of "Son of Crimea" was organized by the Assembly of Turkish American Associations in Washington DC, in cooperation with the ICC. Again, Inci Bowman introduced the film and handled the Q&A discussion.

A description of "Son of Crimea" is available at this Web site, and you may view the trailer for the documentary on YouTube: http://youtu.be/-8HfEWGkmTA

Statement on Invasion of Crimea

The Board of Directors of the International Committee for Crimea, Inc. is deeply concerned about the recent political developments in Crimea. Since the end of February, Crimea has been under the illegal occupation of pro-Russian forces. Crimean Tatars, who were deported by Soviet authorities seventy years ago and still remember and feel the pain of the loss of their family members and their homeland, are naturally very apprehensive and fearful of what the future may hold for them. We are doing what we can by raising awareness of the situation in the US and stand in solidarity with the peoples of Crimea who opt for a life in a democratic society.

Mustafa Jemilev's message

See also: "An Urgent Appeal to President Barack Obama" by Mubeyyin B. Altan, a member of the ICC Board of Directors.

ICC participates in "Fallen Heroes" Vigil

Inci Bowman spoke at the "Fallen Heroes" silent protest to honor the memory of Ukrainians who died in Kyiv as a result of government crack down. The gathering was held in front of White House on 23 February 2014. Her remarks are posted here.

UNESCO participates in celebration of Ismail Bey Gaspirali's Life

This year (2014) marks the 100th anniversary of the death of Ismail Bey Gaspirali (1851-1914), a Crimean Tatar publisher, educator and reformer. UNESCO has included Gaspirali's name on the list of eminent personalities whose anniversaries are celebrated by Member States of the United Nations. Nominated by Turkey, with the support of Ukraine, Ismail Gaspirali is already a well-known figure in the Turkic world. He "was not only an educational reformer, a strong promoter of literacy, and proponent of mother-tongue education, but also an avid supporter of women's education and emancipation." See: UNESCO's "Celebration of Anniversaries in 2014."

A portrait of Gaspirali
Portrait of Ismail Bey Gaspirali

We hope that with UNESCO's endorsement, Gaspirali will be better appreciated worldwide. The ICC Web site already includes an important section on Gaspirali, developed on the 150th anniversary of his birth in 1851. Various aspects of Gaspirali's work are detailed in scholarly articles, a long obituary by a contemporary, a timeline and a bibliography. See: "Celebrating the Life of Ismail Bey Gaspirali." Throughout 2014, we will be sharing this important resource and reporting on events relating to the Gaspirali anniversary.

A Peace Corps Volunteer in Crimea

We are pleased to publish an interview with Barbara Wieser, who served as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Simferopol, Crimea, from 2009 to 2013. She was based at the Gasprinskii Library, which houses a rich collection relating to Crimean Tatar literature and history. Her experiences in Crimea reveals what it means to be a volunteer working with people trying to revitalize their cultural heritage after decades of living in exile. Barbara Wieser is on the ICC Board of Directors and currently working on another Peace Corps related project in Kyiv. See: A Volunteer in Crimea: An Interview with Barbara Wieser.

OSCE's Report on Crimea

The OSCE High Commissioner on National Minorities issued an important report, The Integration of Formerly Deported People in Crimea, Ukraine (August 2013). It provides an up-to-date analysis of the current situation with respect to national minorities in Crimea and offers recommendations for easing inter-ethnic tensions. "While the Government of Ukraine and the Crimean authorities have made laudable attempts to facilitate repatriation and resolve some of the issues facing the formerly deported people (FDPs), many structural problems remain," notes Knut Vollebaek, High Commissioner on National Minorities. Among the experts who contributed to the report is Dr. Idil Izmirli,George Mason University, Arlington, VA. The report is in English and available at the OSCE Web site:
https://www.osce.org/hcnm/104309.

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:

Last Update: June 26, 2014

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A participant in Simferopol rally, 2013
Participant in 2013 Rally,
Simferopol. Photo: S. Tantana

Mustafa Jemilev
Mustafa Jemilev, 2011
Nobel Peace Prize Nominee

Women's Journal Nenkecan
Women's journal NenkeCan

Wreath-laying ceremony in Washington, DC
Wreath-laying Ceremony,
Washington, DC, June 2010

Dance of Arzy Kiz
Ethnic Dance,"Arzy Kiz"