Ukrainian News | 25Apr2013 | Marco Levytsky (editorial)

Holodomor cannot remain minimized

Russian TV host Ivan Urgant has issued a rather tepid apology for some incredibly racist and hate-mongering “jokes” he made regarding Ukrainians at one of his cooking shows.

During the April 20, 2013 broadcast of his show “Smak,” in which he interviews celebrities while cooking with them, he uttered the following remark during the preparation of a soup with screenwriter Aleksandr Adabashyan: “I chopped these greens like a red commissar did the residents of a Ukrainian village.”

As Adabashyan wiped the knife clean, Urgant then quipped: “You have cleaned my blade.”

“I am just shaking off the villagers’ remnants,” the screenwriter responded, much to the audience’s amusement.

To this the Foreign Ministry of Ukraine reacted with the rather innocuous statement: “In the modern, civilized world, such jokes are considered bad taste and disrespectful toward the millions of victims of a totalitarian regime.”

Urgant then apologized, saying he had meant no harm and regretted his “unfortunate” jest and “inappropriate comment.”

He then compounded his gross hate-mongering statements with the incredibly asinine pledge to cook only Ukrainian national dishes on his show and call all his future children -- regardless whether boys or girls -- Bohdan, a traditional Ukrainian name.

Now let’s make a little comparison here.

Suppose a popular TV host on a German cookshow made a joke about “baking” Jews, and then followed it up by apologizing for his “unfortunate” jest and “inappropriate comment”, pledging to cook only kosher food in the future, and call all his future children Abraham. What would happen to him?

He would be charged with a criminal offence, locked up in jail, and the key thrown away. That’s what would happen and rightfully so.

But then Germany is a country which has come to grips with its Nazi past and has become a modern civilized state. Russia is a country that never came to grips with its totalitarian Soviet past and remains a stagnant cesspool mired in the primitive prejudices and slavish attitudes of bygone years.

But another very significant factor in the relatively mild tempest in a teapot these outrageous statements aroused is that 80 years after the genocidal Holodomor its remains minimized in world consciousness as do all the communist crimes against humanity in general.

While this is something that is not surprising in a backwater like Russia, it is incredible that it should also be the case in such a highly respected country like Canada, which is supposed to be “Ukraine’s best friend”. And in a taxpayer-funded museum in Winnipeg, in the Ukrainian Canadian heartland of Manitoba, the province with the highest proportion of Canadians of Ukrainian origin in the country.

When Ukrainian Canadian Congress National President Paul Grod visited the taxpayer-funded Canadian Museum of Human Rights he was shocked to learn that the Holodomor has been relegated to a back panel of a back gallery right next to the washrooms. The official explanation he was given for this denigration was that it is a very good location because there will be a lot of traffic going through that area dues to the washrooms.

As well the World War I Internment of Ukrainians has been relegated to a non-descript picture on the second floor and communist crimes against humanity ignored altogether.

This cannot be permitted to happen and as the principal benefactor of the CMHR the Government must step in to ensure that the Holodomor, the Internment and communist crimes against humanity are not minimized in the CMHR.

Because if the Holodomor is minimized in the Russian puppet state that Yanukovych’s Ukraine has become and it is minimized in a taxpayer-funded national museum in Canada where Ukrainians constitute a regional founding nation, then it will remain minimized in the rest of the world.