01 April 2010 – 22:45 - NatPress
Sorry, but the Circassians are not Stupid - By: Ali Kasht
The famous Circassian Website (Circassian World) published an article on 25/3/2010 entitled "Crimes of Some Nations are Hidden more than Others", the article was addressing the conference, which was held in the Georgian Capital City of Tbilisi, under the title, "Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes: The Circassians and the People of the North Caucasus Between Past and Future (Tbilisi, March 19-21, 2010)”, the article viewed that the conference which was organized in cooperation between the Jamestown Foundation in the United States and the International School for Caucasus Studies in Tbilisi, had put forward the Georgian/ U.S. vision, which is biased to the Georgian side in its conflict with the Abkhaz side, and that the conference had served the interests of Georgia, which didn’t refer to the "Georgian genocide against Abkhazians". The author of the article presented a historical background immemorial mentioning that Georgia in the eighteenth century voluntarily associated with Russia and did not participate in what he called "the Great Caucasian War”, and Georgia allowed Russia to put a foothold in the Caucasus to lay siege to its northern region; the writer spoke of the Circassian tragedy, and the process of deportation, which committed against the Circassians, and the author, held a comparison between the Tsarist Russian policies against the Circassian and the modern Georgian policies at the present-day against Abkhazians in order to show the similarity between the Russian and Georgian practices, in which the author of the article raised many questions and assumptions in an attempt to cast doubt on the credibility of the Conference, such as: Why was the conference aiming to show a historical right of the Circassian people which is the genocide perpetrated against them by Russia, but did not talk about Georgian practices towards Abkhazians at the present time?! Especially that all these peoples are similar to each other?! The writer assumed that the conference was in fact designed to deepen the feelings of hatred towards Russia and split in the Circassian communities, especially in Diaspora, according to him, since Circassians support the Abkhaz Cause.
In fact the article worthwhile not because of being overwhelmed by the criticism over the formality of the conference being discussed, but because the article had revealed the tide of new intellectual trend in the Circassian arena, this stream adopts the bright and rhetoric slogans, for example this stream supports the return of the Circassians to their homeland and works to achieve this objective and focuses on raising the level of interaction and interdependence between the Circassian communities in Diaspora and homeland, and views that the priority must be given to the so-called "policies of reality and logic", and "the Circassian and Abkhazian Diaspora in its entirety is convinced that history and geography have imposed its reality and the question of the relationship with Russia, despite all its complexities had become an integral part of the future of these two nations”, therefore a formula must be found for coexistence and cope with the Russian policies and not to deal with Russia as if it is an adversary or an enemy, but as a State that Circassians live in, just like they live in other states in Diaspora, so Russia deserves respect, loyalty and affiliation in order to maintain a certain pattern of friendly relations which guarantee the achievement what is possible of the Circassian people’s interests without resorting to the method of vain confrontation and clash in front of a state in Russia’s greatness and ability, and keeping in mind that this trend has a huge number of "semi-philosophers", I mean philosophers, the stream loves history, because they believe that history is drafted by its author, this stream of thought carries with it many of the signs of mistrust and fear of its character and that what makes it very dangerous.
Referring to the mentioned article, the following can be seen:
-It is noticed that the writer has moved away from the credibility and objectivity, and took what he wanted of the historical facts, and left what he does not want, but by doing that, he contradicted himself, as he stated that in 1882, following the Russian occupation of the Abkhazian and Circassian territories, Georgia’s acquisition of some of the territories, by Russians allowing the Georgian settlers to settle in them, one of the Georgian newspapers called (Shorma) described that event as "the most glory moments in the history of the Georgian nation”, but as the writer stated in his article that Georgia had been subjugated to and joined Russia in the eighteenth century, that is before the date of publication of the story by tens of years, therefore it is usual that a newspaper under the Russian occupation will write such news, at the same time, it shows clearly with the writer’s recognition the fact that Russia who had expelled the Circassians and Abkhazians, and brought Georgians, but he did not oppose Russia, despite what Russia did, but he criticized a Georgian newspaper to publish such news, which he believes that Georgia's offense is worse than the Russian offense ? !!.
-The article was a publication of false concepts and terminology, aims for publication among the Circassian people to be used against them as a weapon and argument later on, in the future, it was observed the use of words or terminology used always by the Russian writers for the distortion of the Circassian history such like "the Great Caucasian war or wars", which is a wrong concept that shows, there was a war between the Caucasian peoples themselves, which is promoted by the Russians in the falsification of history by showing the Caucasus region, especially the Circassian part of it, as a region filled with conflicts and strife between its peoples, so Russians by occupying of this region, were forced in the first place to maintain guarding their borders and to prevent the chaos from shifting to their country, secondly to transfer of development and modernity to ignorant and savage Caucasians, the more correct for any Caucasian or Circassian intellectual or author, to use the term "Russian – Caucasian War", or "Russian – Circassian War” to denote the Russian invasion and occupation of the land of the Caucasus, also the article insisted to mention "Tsarist Russia" in particular as it is the one who deported and committed genocide against the Circassians, in a way that it would be understood that current Federal Russia is innocent from what Tsarist Russia had committed, where the author didn’t refer to the refusal of Democratic Russia to recognize at least what Tsarist Russia had committed until this day, despite calls by Circassians for Russia to do that; these two concepts or ideas are promoted by the new intellectual stream, and if it succeeds, it will lead to a state of contradiction and chaos in the history of Circassians, that would make it difficult to make the world understand the truth behind the Circassian Question.
-The article was aimed to equalize between the practices of Czarist Russia in the nineteenth century and Georgian practices in the current century, where the author directs a question at the end of his article saying: "Why is it that the call to apply the rule of law relating to genocide, that it is not statute of limitations on the Circassian - Russia conflict, but does not apply to Georgian-Abkhazian conflict”?! Here the writer thinks with his genius and intelligence has embarrassed and ashamed whom participated in the conference, but he forgets to address the real question here, "who was behind the Georgian- Abkhazian conflict and what is the reason behind the Georgian-Abkhazian conflict”?! Who gave the Abkhazian territories to Georgia after it was occupied in the nineteenth century (before Stalin assumed power), who committed first genocide against Abkhazians and deported them from their homeland?! Who allowed the Georgians to settle in Abkhazia in the nineteenth century and consequently had started conflict between them?!
-The article stressed the comparison between the practices of Tsarist Russia in the nineteenth century against the Circassians and Georgia’s practices in the present century against the Abkhazians, but did not refer to Russia's current practices against Abkhazians, which he did not mention the practices of the Russian State during the Georgian - Abkhazian War in the nineties of last century, when Russia barred Circassian and Caucasian fighters and aid to reach Abkhazia, to ease facilitate and support the Georgian side to finish off the Abkhazians, and this detail is ascertained in the Book of Professor Mosa shenba (The victory of the unity in the North Caucasus), who was arrested by the Russians at that time because of his support and sustenance to the Abkhazian Issue, even he participated himself in that war when he led the Confederation of Peoples of the North Caucasus, also the article’s author didn’t refer to the Russian blockade of Abkhazia for many past years.
-The author continues to point out of the view, which is adopted by Russia, as he is mentioning in many parts of his article the Circassian Migration subject, but in suspicious-lined way, which raises many question marks, so he says that the Circassians after the end of the war in 1864, were request to leave their mountainous areas and to go down to the plains of the Kuban, but when they refused that, they were deported because they preferred to immigrate than to go to the plain areas as per the Russian instructions at the time, the writer means or somehow wants to say that the stubbornness and stupidity of Circassians is the reason of their deportation, not Russian, and this theory confirms with the current Russian point of views, which holds that the concept of genocide is intended to be ethnic cleansing against certain people or a group of people for the purpose to take them out of existence, and the Russians had killed Circassians during the war only, but after the war ended, the Circassians left their land because they refused to go down to the plain areas, that means the Russians did not seek the annihilation of the Circassian people, but the Circassians were given the choice and chose voluntarily to leave their land, therefore there is no genocide committed against the Circassians or the Russians were not intended to do so.
-The article tried to discredit and to delegitimize the conference and to frame it as lacking the credibility and objectivity, that aims to disperse the Circassians and maximize the feelings of hatred towards Russia, but as for the participation of some participants in the conference, their presence gives the necessary legitimacy to the conference by hosting some symbols who are of considered symbols of Circassian nationalism, that nobody can compromise them, like Ms. Fatima Tlisova, who left the Caucasus as a result a reason for Russian prosecution and harassment, which reached the degree of murder and torture, also participated in the conference on television, Mr. Murat Berzig, Chairman of the Circassian Congress in Maykop, the organization that played a major role in maintaining the Republic of Adygeya from Russia's plans aimed to dismantle it, also it was the first organization that called for the recognition of the genocide, committed against the Circassian People; the Conference had been support also by Mr. Ruslan Keshiev Head of the Kabardino "Circassian Congress” and Mr. Ibrahim Yagan, President of the Circassian Khasa (Association) in the Republic of Kabardino / Balkaria, who is up to them all the credit to stop the distribution of land law of last year, which gave a total of 37 % of the territory of the Republic to the Balkarian minority, in a way that means, each Balkarian (minority) have ten times than the Circassian (majority) of the territory of the Republic, which was not easy to stop that law, but pressed Mr. Ruslan and Ibrahim to pay the price and had been beaten, and subjected to assassination attempt to silence their voices.
Certainly, no one can describe Mr. Murat Berzig, Ruslan Keshiev or Fatima Tlisova as agents or who hold of suspicious agenda, because if they were that, then what we call those who adopt the Russian position and looks at Russia as an ally and a friend and not an enemy in spite of all its current practices against the Circassians; isn’t it Russia, who is falsifying history of the city of Sochi?! Isn’t it Russia who humiliates the Circassian people in its own land and prevents the consolidation (unity) of the Circassian areas?! Isn’t it Russia that wants to take apart the Republic of Adygeya?! Isn’t it Russia who let its soldiers provoking Circassian women as happened with one of the Circassian ladies in Shapsough Region?! Isn’t it Russia, who eliminates the constitutions’ articles of the sovereign Circassian republics and converts them to "reserves"?! Isn’t it Russia, who prevents the Circassians from entering Krasnaya Polyana (Kabada in Circassian Language) area until this present day?! Isn’t it Russia, who refuses to find a solution for the Circassian Question yet?! Isn’t it Russia, who is doing rigging and falsification of the entire Circassian history?! It is enough for every single skeptical to visit the site of "Russia Today”, TV Channel, which is an official Russian source and to see what is written on the history of the cities of Sochi, Maykop and Nalchik to see in his own eyes how the Russians treated the Circassians, and no need to see television dramatic provocation programs, that the latest one was broadcasted in 5, May, 2010, and claimed that the Russian – Circassian War had lasted just 3 or four years only, and other finding counterfeit.
The article was truthful one when writer equalized between Russia and Georgia in their many attempts to control the peoples of North Caucasus, but must not hide the fact that Russia is the main cause and Georgia is only a secondary player in the Russian policies, until this day the Circassian need to have a "sole and legitimate representative” of the people who enjoys a political nationalist thinking, is the reason that Circassians cannot understand the politics of, there is no lasting enemy, a friend or ally, there is continuous "change", and that the only thing constant in the politics is the "change" itself, therefore the existence of a state that recognizes the genocide committed against the Circassians, would be a quantum leap in the Circassian strive and struggle in order to restore the rights and will pave the way for a great international attention in the Circassian Question, which certainly will make Russia considering at least to start respecting the Circassians and not to humiliate them, and to find a certain formula to rearrange the relationship between them, which could be prelude to a lasting solution to the Circassian Question that would satisfy both parties and to achieve historical justice, even Georgia itself will not recognize the genocide committed against the Circassian except under certain conditions, but this will not prevent the use of this successful paper in all sense of the word in the face of Moscow between now and then, but here the Circassians must have to deal with this situation for their benefits and not to align with Georgian or Russian side, and march according to their interests only; the conference will not split the Circassians in Diaspora ,because who participated are Circassian national figures that could not be compromised as previously mentioned, but there will be some people who will try to confuse and create a state of anarchy between what took place in the conference and the Abkhazian issue, but in a way that would only serve the interests of Russia and nothing else.
The Abkhaz issue is important and supported by the Circassians, as there is a common destiny, but the supporters of the Abkhaz issue should accept the view of the needed Abkhazian action to support the Circassian Question, so Sukhumi must accelerate, anticipate events and to recognize the genocide committed against the Circassian people. This step will be even more wonderful because it would force Russia to audit its accounts, or at least will make it look at the Abkhazian and Circassian case interconnected way, so they can achieve win-two, and cut the way in front of Georgia in trying to win the Circassians on its side and to differentiate between them and the Abkhazians as the article suggests, in which Abkhazia should adopt the Circassian nationalism and to use its good relationship with Moscow to serve the Circassian issue, it is unacceptable that Abkhaz supporters request Circassian to do everything and not make even simple gesture to the Circassian Cause, otherwise it shows that there is a kind of selfishness and exploitation in that regard.
In the end, it is not meant to defend Georgia here, in fact Georgia is a partner in the committed crime, but what counts here is to refer to the danger of this new stream of thoughts on the Circassian arena, which ridicules and attacks any nationalist movement in Diaspora, for example, the last Vancouver demonstrations of anti-Olympic Games in Sochi, the followers of this trend to minimize the importance of the Circassian demonstrations over there, and tried to restrict them with the Circassian Diaspora in the United States only, despite the fact that many organizations, associations and bodies representing of the Circassian people of Diaspora to declare their support for these demonstrations for more information and acknowledgement, however, followers of this new stream of thoughts have ridiculed (No Sochi, that is possible to visit the Website) of those demonstrations by reducing the importance of this act, which did not return the Caucasus, and did not affect Russia at all as per their saying, but those people forget that after these demonstrations, some other Circassian institutions have woke up that used to be attached to the Russian orbit, and requested a roll for Circassians in the Russian Sochi Olympics such as the International Circassian Association, and such movements that deter Moscow’s arrogance and egotism, and best example of this, the issue of annexing the Republic of Adygeya, and to continue to demand right of return and other examples, but those want to raise a new concept of Circassian nationality, but according to the Russian perspective, for example, there should not be mentioning about Right of Return subject, because in their view Russia had contributed (provided) everything for that!! The Circassian whose ancestors were forced to emigrate, got in order to return, to meet same conditions that apply to the Somali, who wants to obtain Russian citizenship?!
According to Russian conditions and standards, if this issue was raised the cell of wasps that are pro-Moscow attack, which you will be accused of negligence in the right of your homeland and caused for its loss, and you should return in spite of everything!! The policy of realism in which those people follow does not belong to the logic or reality or rationality in any way, but it is the policy of begging and pleading to a state that does not know except the language of powers and its current policies, and what had happened in Cherkessk and Nalchik in the end of the year 2009 to stop the law of land distribution would be the best example of this.