George Orwell’s Animal Farm and the Canadian Museum for Human Rights

In the Jan. 31, 2011 edition of The Hill Times, an ad ran timed to coincide with similarly designed postcards in a second targeted UCCLA campaign to convince the Department of Canadian Heritage, its minister, the Hon. James Moore, the Canadian Museum for Human Rights and the government that its proposed allocation of space in the new museum is unequal and unCanadian.

The image in the ad, duplicated on the postcard, is from the cover of the 1947 Ukrainian-language edition of George Orwell's   Animal Farm. Most copies were confiscated by the American Occupation authorities in Germany and turned over to the Soviets, along with hundreds of thousands of "Soviet Citizens" forcibly repatriated under the terms of the now-notorious Yalta Agreement. Many were survivors and witnesses to the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine, a tragedy now known as the Holodomor. 

Text on front of postcard:
KOLHOSP TVARYN ('Animal Farm' in Ukrainian)
"All animal are equal but some animals are more equal than others"

Text on back of postcard:
The Canadian Museum for Human Rights is a taxpyer-funded national museum. Its 12 galleries should all be inclusive, comparative and thematic in their treatment of the many crimes against humanity that have befouled human history — before, during and since the Second World War.

Instead, two communities are being given privileged, permanent and prominent exhibit spaces, elevating the horrors suffered by a few above all the others.

That's unfair. That's unacceptable. Partiality shouldn't be funded from the public purse.

When will those in charge understand that a federally funded NATIONAL museum in Winnipeg, to be paid for by TAXPAYERS in PERPETUITY, must be equal to all Canadians, and cannot provide privileged space to one or two groups in Canada at the expense of all others?

Minister of Canadian Heritage The Hon. James Moore
Please write to Minister James Moore (pictured above) at:  Moore.J@parl.gc.ca, or fill out an e-form at http://www2.pch.gc.ca/pc-ch/minstr/moore/cntct/index-eng.cfm

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Statement by UCCLA on International Holocaust Remembrance Day

UCCLA Media Release (Ottawa – 27 January 2011)

Statement by UCCLA on International Holocaust Remembrance Day 

The Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (UCCLA)  issued the following statement to mark the United Nations’ annual International Day of Commemoration to honour the victims of the Holocaust:

“As we commemorate the solemn anniversary of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp, we remember  the millions of Jews, Roma, Poles, Ukrainians, Russians, Christians, homosexuals, disabled persons and others enslaved or murdered by the Nazis,” said the UCCLA’s chairman, R. W. Zakaluzny.

“Let us not forget that the Holocaust was not only a crime against specific communities but was also a crime against all of humanity. The UCCLA reaffirms our commitment to ensuring that all genocides, including the Shoah, are commemorated equally in the taxpayer-funded Canadian Museum for Human Rights, in Winnipeg.”

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Human Rights Museum should be equal for all

The following is from the Monday Jan. 24, 2011, edition of The Hill Times, by the UCCLA’s Dr. Lubomyr Luciuk.

Genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine should be highlighted in Human Rights Museum

by Lubomyr Luciuk

Prime Minister Stephen Harper’s Conservatives have boasted of being the party that reached out to Canada’s minorities – particularly in the person of Jason Kenney, the Minster of Citizenship and Immigration  –strategically undercutting what many saw as a “traditional” source of political support for the Liberals. There’s truth in their claim. They certainly secured broad-based gratitude in Ukrainian-Canadian circles for settling issues arising out of Canada’s first national internment operations, a file the Liberals, for all their pretensions to being the party of social justice, nevertheless ignored, for decades. That said, the Conservatives are about to be reminded that it’s not just about a first date going well. You’ve got to nurture nice feelings if you don’t want them to blow away.
 
If the Canadian Museum for Human Rights were truly committed to telling human rights stories, particularly Canadian ones or those less well known, there could be no principled objection to it. Sadly, it’s not. For example, the final report of its Content Advisory Committee recommended the allocation of a disproportionate share of permanent exhibit space to Jewish suffering in the Second World War. That partiality was demonstrated by the 48 references to the Holocaust this document includes, compared to only 1 about the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine, the Holodomor. Likewise ignored were the results of the public survey Mr Arni Thorsteinson submitted on 31 March 2008 to the Honourable Josée Verner, MP, then Minister of Canadian Heritage. Reportedly, Canadians rank-ordered themes they wanted addressed at the CMHR as follows – Aboriginal (First Nations), 16.1% ; Genocides, 14.8% ; Women 14.7% ; Internments,12.5% ; War and Conflicts, 8.7% ; Holocaust, 7% ; Children, 5.9% ; Sexual Orientation, 4.9% ;  Ethnic Minorities, 3.8% ; Slavery, 2.9% ; Immigration, 2.6% ; Charter of Rights, 2.3% ; Disabilities, 2% and Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1.8%.  (p.63 of PDF, p.35 of document).
 
Echoing those findings we recommended that all 12 of this museum’s galleries (or zones) be thematic, comparative and inclusive. One zone, for example, could deal with Canada’s internment operations. Those afflicted not only eastern Europeans in 1914-1920 but Japanese, Italian, and German Canadians in 1939-1945 and some Quebecois in 1970. Explaining the baneful consequences of The War Measures Act upon several different Canadian communities during the course of the 20th century highlights the need for vigilance in defence of civil liberties in times of domestic and international crisis. Another gallery could compare the many genocides that have befouled human history. Placing the Shoah in context, as Professor Timothy Snyder does in his much-applauded volume, Bloodlands, would remind us that while the word “genocide” was invented during the Second World War the act itself is neither modern nor, sadly, unlikely to reoccur. Doing that has considerable pedagogical value.
 
How to explain that the Crimes of Communism – which the Tories have claimed they have a special interest in commemorating – weren’t even referenced by the Content Advisory group? Everyone knows that Stalin and his satraps murdered millions more than Hitler, a point underscored in Professor Norman Naimark’s outstanding new book, Stalin’s Genocides. Yet that Soviet dictator is not named, not once. Nor are Mao Tse Tung’s atrocities acknowledged even though the Chinese Communists slaughtered about the same number as Hitler and Stalin did, combined. And what about Imperial Japanese barbarities, like the infamous “Rape of Nanjing”? It’s left out, as it is in most Japanese textbooks, even as the Holodomor is currently being cut out of Ukraine’s. Should a Canadian museum, even indirectly, succour deniers?
 
Being inclusive and equitable takes nothing away from hallowing victims of the Shoah. As over two dozen well-supported museums and educational programs dedicated exclusively to this Jewish tragedy already exist in Canada (and hundreds more internationally) this tale is already told, often and well, in no danger of being forgotten. But the catastrophe that befell many millions of non-Jews enslaved or murdered by the Nazis – including the Roma, Catholics, the disabled, Poles, Ukrainians, Soviet POWs, homosexuals and others – will be obfuscated if only the one community’s suffering, great as it was, is elevated above all others.
 
Responding to mounting criticism, the museum’s boosters have insisted that the Committee’s submission, while important, is only one of many sources being considered as the museum’s final contents are developed. Alas, they speak with forked tongues. For while it may well be true that the contents of the museum are “not set” two of its twelve galleries are permanently and prominently giving privileged space to the recounting of aboriginal tales of injustice and to the Shoah. All other crimes against humanity are lumped together in a “Mass Atrocities” gallery, so consigned to inferiority. Funding this kind of partiality is not acceptable in a taxpayer-funded national institution that the Conservatives first attached to the public teat and from which it has, ever since, been sucking generously, not likely to ever be weaned.
 
Until the controversy over this museum’s contents are resolved, and the composition of its appointed board members made more truly representative of Canadian society, Mr Harper’s government should reject calls for increased funding for this boondoggle and begin a truly inclusive consultation process with the many communities who want to ensure that the Canadian Museum for Human Rights meets its stated goal of “contributing to the collective memory and sense of identity of all Canadians.”  All Canadians, not some.
 
 
Dr Lubomyr Luciuk is director of research for the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.uccla.ca) and a recipient of a 2010 Shevchenko Medal.
 

UCCLA calls for review of Museum for Human Rights’ funding, management

UCCLA Media Release (Ottawa – 17 January 2011)

Call for a review of Museum for Human Rights’ funding and management

Recent comments by officials from the Canadian Museum for Human Rights have made it clear that the proposed contents of this taxpayer-funded national museum will neither be fair nor equitable.

To clarify matters, and speaking to points made by CMHR representatives, Roman Zakaluzny, UCCLA’s chair, said:

"The museum’s CEO, Stuart Murray, has now admitted that the suffering of Jews during the Shoah and of indigenous peoples in Canada will have permanent and prominent gallery spaces (zones) assigned to them, a point underscored in Ottawa recently by Patrick O’Reilly, the Museum’s Chief Operating Officer. All other genocides and crimes against humanity- ‘a hundred’ or so according to museum researchers – will be lumped into a ‘Mass Atrocities’ zone. In our view this is unjust, ahistorical, and certainly unacceptable given that this is a taxpayer-funded national museum.

"In addition, museum officials are also largely ignoring what their own surveys have told them the public expected to see in this museum.  (page 63 of PDF, page 35 of document)

"Every one of the twelve zones (galleries) in this museum should be thematic, comparative and inclusive. For example, there should be a gallery dealing with Canadian internment operations and the War Measures Act, which had a negative impact on Ukrainians and other Europeans during the First World War, and on Japanese, German and Italian Canadians during the Second World War, and on French Canadians in 1970. Similarly, a Genocide Gallery would include the Shoah alongside the Armenian Genocide, the Holodomor, the Rwandan Genocide, the Maoist Terror and others. That’s fair and equitable. What logical or moral argument can there be for calling what happened to the Armenians or the Chinese or the Cambodians or the Ukrainians as a ‘mass atrocity’ while insisting that only the Holocaust was an act of genocide or somehow worthy of a privileged space?

"No Ukrainian Canadian organization has ever said that the aboriginal experience in Canada or that the Shoah in Europe should not be included in this museum. Both must be. That said, those stories must not be given privileged space in a museum that all Canadians are being called upon to pay for, in perpetuity.

"Since it is now apparent that those in charge of this project are intent on pursuing their own vision of what should be included, irrespective of legitimate concerns and of their own surveys (page 63 of PDF, page 35 of document) of the public, and that they are still attempting to confuse the public about their prearrangements and plans, we call upon the Minister of Canadian Heritage, the Honourable James Moore, to order an immediate stop to any further federal financial support for this museum and to initiate a complete overhaul of its board of trustees and management. A national museum should serve some important national interest. As currently envisioned, this museum will only be a continuing source of divisiveness and controversy."

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Response to Misconceptions about Canadian Museum of Human Rights

UCCLA Media Release (Ottawa – 7 January 2011)

Response to Misconceptions about Canadian Museum of Human Rights

Commenting on yesterday’s (6 January) media advisory from the Canadian Museum of Human Rights, the chair of the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association, Mr. Roman Zakaluzny, said:

"We are not aware of any misconceptions about the Canadian Museum for Human Rights. It is a publicly funded, national museum whose operating budget will be supported, in perpetuity, by all Canadian taxpayers. At present the Museum’s plans call for 12 galleries, known as zones. Ten of these will apparently be thematic, but two are already fixed in terms of their focus – on Jewish suffering during the Second World War (the Shoah) and Canadian aboriginal issues. By being afforded permanent and prominent spaces in this museum, the horrors endured by these groups are being elevated above those of all other peoples.

"Furthermore, while the contents of most galleries may not yet be settled, the Museum’s spokesperson, Ms. Angela Cassie, admits that privileged gallery spaces have been prearranged for two communities. We, and the Canadian public in general, oppose this preferential treatment.

"The Ukrainian Canadian community has raised publicly its concerns with respect to the management, governance and proposed contents of this publicly funded Canadian Museum for Human Rights. Those legitimate concerns were not answered by the Museum’s Jan. 6 communique. Until such a time as they are, we again call upon the Government of Canada to –

1. suspend any further financial support for this project
2. establish an independent group to review the proposed contents of this national museum
3. appoint new members to its board of directors who are more representative of Canadian society

"Welcome as the prospect of a Canadian Museum for Human Rights in Winnipeg is, we cannot accept the public purse being used to fund partiality or prejudice."

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Civil Liberties Award Winners Announced

January 3, 2011Valued at $500, the High School Civil Liberties Award is given to the high school student who submitted the highest-quality research essay based on a Holodomor theme, an initiative undertaken in recognition of Ukraine’s Famine-Genocide of 1932-33.This year’s winner is Grade 12 IB student, Lesia Kinach of Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, whose essay was among numerous submissions which were adjudicated by the award selection committee, which included Ludmilla Voitkovska, Associate Professor at the Department of English, University of Saskatchewan. Lesia’s paper is deemed to have been well researched, convincingly argued and powerfully written, and Lesia demonstrated good analytical skills.

The UCCLF would like to congratulate Lesia and all the students who submitted an essay.  Each participant in this writing competition will be awarded a copy of Into Auschwitz, For Ukraine by Stefan Petelycky for their efforts.

For the first time since its introduction, the Civil Liberties Opinion-Editorial Award is given to two students — Larissa Volinets Schieven of Toronto and Roman Storoshchuk of Calgary.  This award is given to the high school or post-secondary student who had their opinion-editorial published in a major Canadian newspaper.  Larissa is in her third year of pursuing a Bachelor of Journalism degree at Carleton University in Ottawa. Roman is also a third year student, pursuing a Bachelor of Arts, majoring in Philosophy, at the University of Calgary.

Larissa’s op-ed, entitled “Revoke writer’s undeserved Pulitzer”, appeared in the Nov. 25, 2010 edition of Saskatoon’s The StarPhoenix, while Roman’s op-ed, entitled “Ukrainian famine is a genocide largely unrecognized”, appeared in the Nov. 27, 2010 edition of the Calgary Herald.

The UCCLF would also like to congratulate both Larissa and Roman for their participation in this writing competition.  Each winner will receive a $1,000 prize for their efforts.

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This email sent on behalf of the UCCLF by the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Association (www.UCCLA.ca).

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