The Circassian Language Conference: Why Now?
Colonialism represents one of the most serious violations of national sovereignty of states and nations, and breach of international law, in which almost all colonial territories serious crimes against humanity were committed by colonial powers. Therefore foreign occupation creates an environment in which the occupied people are exposed to a wide range of systemic and gross violations of human rights and freedoms, including dispossession, displacement and denial of their right to self determination and people of occupied territories are subjected to adapt to imperial policies and other forms of violence.
It is obvious that the language for every nation in the world is a very important issue, and it is considered an essential factor beside other factors such as common concerns, home-land, common habits and own territorial integrity.
The peculiar example that should be dealt with, is the Circassian nation, whom it is experiencing tough and hard-hitting aftermath through many phases of disastrous consequences that started and didn’t end with being victim a series of long bloody and criminal wars, foreign occupation, ethnic cleansing, genocide, and the forced exile of 90% of what had remained of the Circassian nation, after all the killings and brutality of war, while only 10% had to face the reality of occupation and all of its outrageous and brutal effects.
More than 144 years now had passed since 21, May, 1864, the day that was officially declared the cease of the Russian-Caucasian War which lasted for 101 years, and resulted in total Russian occupation to the Circassian soil and the North Caucasus, which caused the division, re-distribution, of the Circassian land in accordance with imperial and colonial strategy of greed which was implemented and still to change the original status and to create new environment, circumstances and conditions that would deal with new realities on the ground.
The monoculture and hegemonic practices of the Russian government, through the school system and through other state institutions has caused forced integration and absorption and deprived the Circassian people in Motherland of his human rights.
The great concern should be directed to the implementation of the authorities’ policies of population transfer of millions of non-Circassian settlers into the Circassian Land and the continuation of the exile dilemma for millions of Circassians who are living away from Motherland in tens of countries around the world of today, which contributes to intensify discrimination against the Circassian people. Nevertheless Circassians who are still living in Motherland are suffering under years of occupation of their homeland and continue to suffer all forms of racial discrimination under the Russian occupation, and denounce actions of the Russian authorities that continue to disregard respecting the Circassians, who are oppressively prevented from exercising their national legitimate rights of self determination. Condemning the policies of genocide and practices of ethnic cleansing against the Circassians should be declared, such as confiscation of their lands, deportation and displacement of population, destruction of their culture, denial of their civil rights as well as their cultural and political rights.
Circassians who had been forced to leave Motherland, and had to face all difficulties and hardships of life and survival in the new hosting-lands that had to immigrate to, beside bearing Black Sea calamity, misfortune including the open invitation to the fish, diseases and harsh weather conditions while travelling by old and age-related deteriorated ships that load always had to exceed overcapacity, until they eventually had to deal with different languages, peoples, masters, conflicts, and sometimes had to defend their very existence as human beings.
The Circassian nation was ill-fated when conditions were paved, prepared and executed to eliminate and exterminate its existence, the survived exhausted, but faithful individuals and groups had one aspiration in mind, which is the return home to Motherland, whenever circumstances permit which did not occur as yet in the way that international developments should be conducted in order to allow all peoples and nations to restore and reinstate their legitimate rights and privileges.
Without any coordination with other Circassians in Diaspora and Motherland, a few months delayed and postponed suspicious call for a conference on the Circassian (Adigha) Language was issued, and had been wrapped in a way to show that the gesture is made by the Russian Embassy in Amman, Jordan with the cooperation of the “Circassian Charity Association”, under the royal patronage of the King of Jordan, in order to attract the attention and at the same time to avoid the critics of the Circassian national stream that calls for balanced relationship with the Russian occupying authorities, and to be dealt with in accordance with mutuality and transparency, in a way to present the need of Circassians to tackle the issues that concern the whole Circassian Question, starting from the war results in the year 1864, and containing, but not stopping with the return of the exiled nation to Motherland.
A concentration by the Russian government on the Circassian Diaspora in Jordan to conduct a game of public relations through forgetting and deleting important issues such as the Circassian identity and human rights, while concentrating in less important issue such as the language in this case, while the Russian occupational authorities in the North Caucasus and specifically in Circassia will not permit to use the Circassian language in schools and universities! What is this kind of unsound and unsuitable public relations then, to show the opposite of what the real Russian policies were adopted in the past and still implemented at present time?
From what is indicated above, a logical conclusion would specify the reasonable precedence for solving the “Circassian Question”, by protecting the Circassian identity and the national integrity for all Circassians whether in Motherland or Diaspora, and to prioritize all concerns that would protect the Circassian nation. That could have been employed if the Russian leadership had listened to the voice of common sense that was mentioned in the official letterdated 22-FEB-2007 which was signed by Mr. Ishaq Moula, the Chairman of the Circassian Charity Association, and was presented to President Putin during his official visit to Jordan at the time, who is presently the Russian Prime Minister, which selected polite and sensible words to address the Circassian issues in an abbreviated manor. The letter stated that “the descendents of the Circassians that were subjected to a historical tragedy that lead to force them to emigrate from their Motherland in the (North Caucasus) approximately one and a half centuries ago”. The letter added that “feature of homesickness and nostalgia to the roots is attached to peoples anywhere and everywhere and that is the case with Circassians today, the reminiscence to “Osh’ha Mafa” (Mount Albros) that all legends narrate that goddesses dwelled at, and no wonder, that the Circassian keeps the Caucasus Mountains wherever he goes, and wherever he resides”. The letter presented also a demand for the “right of return and the citizenship in the Caucasus, the land of the forefathers, which is protected by the law # 637, dated 22-JUL-2006 that was signed by the Russian President himself, in order to be able to return to the Caucasus as citizens with full eligibility that got all rights as citizens”.
Where is the reply for the official letter, even though the presidents of some of the Russian made republics in the Caucasus had witnessed conveying and delivering the letter to the Russian leadership? Where is the implementation of what came in “Memorandum of Understanding” that was signed in 11-FEB-2007, and was signed by the President of the Republic of Adigea, the President of the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria, and the Chairman of the Circassian Charity Association of Jordan, that had 7 main points, and nothing was put into action?
All States and governments are requested to urge the Russian government to begin the process of compensating the Circassian people, for the destruction of their homeland in recent centuries. The typical racist system has continued refusal to allow the exiled Circassians to exercise their rights as guaranteed by international law to return to their homes of origin. Related to the right of return, the exiled Circassians also have a clear right under the international law to receive restitution of their properties and full compensation. Furthermore, international law provides that those Circassians choosing not to return are entitled to receive full compensation for all their losses. Russia’s refusal to grant exiled Circassians their right of return and other gross human rights and humanitarian law violations would destabilize the entire North Caucasus region and has impact on world peace and security.
Games of spreading and circulating such gestures with empty contents are nude and well exposed to anyone who is interested to know what the truth is. No one can feel comfortable and safe while having a poisonous snake dangling around the body, even if the snake body’s skin feels warm and smooth! That is considered too little, too late…
Circassians should know how to reach their goals by defining and distinguishing their priorities starting from addressing the genocideissue, and the objectives to choose the best methods that preserve and safeguard their national identity for their savior. There are issues that need to be undertaken which need to be crystallized, by paving the way of acquiring and choosing the appropriate and correct technique for restoring the stolen and confiscated rights, in reference to the International Law, Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and the Charter of the United Nationsin addition to the decisions of the United Nations General Assembly’s Special Political and Decolonization Committee to require the realization of the legitimate rights of self-determinationand the freedom to choose.
Justice For North Caucasus Group