Minister Kenney’s Speech Commemorating the 1932-33 Ukranian Famine (the Holodomor) November 22, 2011

November 29, 2011

Your Grace, Your Eminence, Reverend Fathers, Parliamentary colleagues. distinguished guests, Dyakuyu, Dobriy vecher.

Today, on behalf of the Government of Canada and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, I am once again honoured to be among you.

On 24 July, 1933 Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytskiy, who would later become a martyr for his Faith under Soviet tyranny, wrote in a pastoral letter about one of the greatest crimes of human history – which was going on at that very moment: the Stalin-ordered terror-famine 1932 and 1933, in which perhaps 7 million men, women and children perished. As Metropolitan Sheptytskiy wrote: “To all people of good will: Ukraine is in agony.”

The Soviet Union always denied that this famine was the result of government policies that deliberately targeted ethnic Ukrainians. In the very “granary of Europe,” one of the most fertile regions in the world became the scene of a mass-murder by starvation.

Socialist fellow travellers in the West, including journalists who were too “sophisticated” and “balanced” to raise questions about the Communist system, aided in the cover up. They denied there was a famine in Ukraine. Rather, they, said, it was the growing pains of a revolution that was liberating mankind from the oppression of capitalism.

Only a few voices, like that of Malcolm Muggeridge, insisted that the facts were plain: there was a man-made famine, and millions of men, women, and children were being deliberately starved. A few even reported the evidence of cannibalism and other horrible depths to which desperate human beings were driven.

Timothy Snyer’s book, Bloodlands, includes hair-raising details, such as the OGPU report that stated: “Families kill their weakest members, usually children, and use the meat for eating.”

That the ravenous hunger and madness of the Holodomor should have driven people to such unthinkable acts was perhaps the greatest crime of the Holodomor, a genocide which overwhelms us with what Pope John Paul II called the “Mysterium iniquitatis”, the mystery of evil.

Today more people are aware of the events than ever before, thanks to the efforts of people like you here today. Even left-wing reporters, for so many years part of the cover-up for the crimes of Communism, are now admitting (after reading Synder in some cases) that the book “forces us to face the facts about the famine” and to accept that it is “one of the 20th century’s deliberate mass murders.” Even so, the left’s failure to take Communism seriously continues.

There is even a trendy bar for the bien pensants of New York City called “KGB”, as if the Soviet secret police were some sort of funny sophisticated in-joke for Western liberals. But, as one writer recently admitted “There is something [Snyder’s] accounts that forces one to realize there are depths of evil one has not been able to imagine before.”

As the Prime Minister put it last year in Lviv, the day after visiting the Holodomor Memorial: “To contemplate an act of malevolence on that scale truly focuses one’s mind on the nature of this evil. So much for communism’s supposed ideals.”

Au cours de son voyage en Ukraine l’an passé, le premier ministre Stephen Harper a qualifié l’Holodomor de « l’un des pires crimes de l’Histoire »

Let us never forget that the history of Communism is one, above all, of mass murder. Think of the Povolzhye famine of 1921, when Lenin ordered that food be seized from the people to punish them for opposing his atheist Bolshevik murderers, and 5 to 10 million died.

Think also of the Great Chinese Famine under Mao Zedong, when between 15 and 45 million perished largely due to collectivist land management policies, that some in Canada praised for its benefits to mankind, as in the 1961 book Two Innocents in Red China. The authors – Pierre Trudeau and Jacques Hébert, praised the discipline of the Chinese people in 1960 – at the height of the famine that killed tens of millions – their “pride” and “enthusiasm” in building the new China! They praised the Chinese government’s policy for integrating linguistic minorities – which was “while respecting them – to seek to make them understand the blessings of Marxism.”

Some geniuses! Some blessings!

In more recent times, and in a more serious and reflective capacity, in 2008, Canada became the first nation to recognize the Ukrainian famine of 1932-33 as an act of genocide.

Le Canada peut être fier d’avoir été le premier grand pays occidental à reconnaître le caractère particulièrement malveillant de l’Holodomor, ce génocide par la famine qui a eu lieu dans les années 1932 et 1933.

Let us never forget the suffering of the people of Ukraine in the Holodomor, the facts of which no one can deny for all history to come. And let us rededicate ourselves to help the victims of famine today, like the people of Somalia who are denied food aid by another force of political extremism: Al Shabaab.

To quote the final words of Metropolitan Andrew Sheptytskiy :

“Pray that our Lord and his blessed Mother protect our unfortunate Ukrainian nation, which has endured so much the difficult times. May you be strong and courageous in your faith, and persevere in dedicated service to God our Lord! My voice will now be silent – until the Last Judgment!”

I close with a prayer from the Byzantine Liturgy for the dead, which we just chanted:

“In a blessed falling asleep, grant, O Lord, eternal rest unto thy departed servants, and make their memory to be eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal! Memory eternal!”


© 2011