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David Shawgen (Radio Adıga): Circassians Should Work As One Nation To Find The Solution. (Interview, Part 2)

posted by eagle on October, 2011 as CIRCASSIA ADIGA

David Shawgen (Radio Adıga): Circassians Should work as one nation To Find The Solution. (Interview, Part 2)

23 09 2011

In the picture – David Shawgen.

Jinal: There are some Circassian organisations, like KAF-FED, the Circassian head organisation of Europe – FDTKV and others, like Kafkasya Forumu,who are against this conclusion or try to ignore it. Can you imagine why and what do you think about their attitude?

David: Every Circassian individual that was raised according to the Adiga-Xabze, should support Any recognition of Any genocide, whether it has been made in Germany, Ruanda, Bosnia or Darfur. And of course it gets much importance as the genocide in question is genocide that took place against his people. As I said before, the Circassian genocide is an integral part of the Circassian history, and any organization that opposes it cannot claim it represents the Circassian.

"Adigaghe” in the Circassian language is the equivalent to the word – Humanism, and a person cannot say he is a Circassian if he does not object to crimes against humanity. It is probable that some of the organizations that you mentioned ignored the Georgian recognition as a result of pragmatism or as a result of the geopolitical situation in the North Caucasus and the Georgian-Abkhazian history. I personally think this is a great mistake, but if so, I call on all those organization to devote all their efforts to achieve recognition from Turkey and all the other European countries where they operate. However, being against the recognition is not acceptable at all, no matter what excuse people will give it.

. ***

Jinal: Some of our elders told us in the last years, that the reason for our suffering and the dramatic history was the result of our own mistakes and that the Circassian nation is guilty of its fortune. And that the other imperialistic nations in the 18th and 19th century, like Great Britain, France, and the Ottoman Empire are as likely guilty, as the tsaristic Russia is. What do you think about this? Who is most responsible for our tragedy?

David: This argument is actually quite common, and no matter how many times it will be answered, there will be still people that would put it forward again and again. I have great respect for the elders in our communities, and there is no doubt that without their sacrifices we would not arrive until today. But the question I want to refer them is: "Who conquers and controls our land today and right now?” Are those the Ottomans? The French? The British? By the way, I also heard this argument from several of our youth, a similar argument would be – "Why couldn’t we become Christians like that Georgians or decide not to fight the Russians … that way we could have saved our homeland.” But such arguments, as much as sensible they may sound, are being said due to the lack of awareness and understanding the history of the war and the Russian strategy – that is being continued till this day by the way – namely, "We want Circassia without the Circassians”.

A nation that wants independence for its people cannot be blamed for the genocide and banishment from the land. It’s like putting the blame on the woman who got raped because of her attractive clothes. The crime is still a crime. And the Russians, since 1864 and even before, keep on telling us that we were "bad” and we got "punished”. And sadly as you can see, it still works.

No doubt there where mistakes on the part of the Circassians and I promise everyone that we will continue to make mistakes as we are all human. But from that to the suggestion that the Circassians have the blame to the crime there is a long way. I will say it clearly, the only way that Circassians will be guilty of something is when they will decide to give up as a nation on being independent in their historic homeland.


Jinal: In this relation I want to mention, that since the 1990th, our own parliaments in Kabarino-Balkaria and Adygea accepted the crimes, conducted by Russia, as genocide and send a petition to the Russian duma. From my viewpoint, there is a very schizophrenic situation: Some of our elders, who lead our organizations in the last decades, mentioned, that we should not be too politically, by making the crimes public to the world. That it could make Russia angry and our brothers and sisters in the homeland would suffer from it. But on the other hand, the patriotics in homeland are even much braver, by sending such petitions to the duma and accepting the crimes as genocide. How can this happen from your viewpoint? Isn’t it paradox, that some of our elders are even talking against our own parliaments, while they saying, they are supporting the homeland in doing so?

David: This is one of the most serious problems facing the Circassian National Movement, and the Russian government knows this and uses it for its advantage. Our Diaspora communities first think of themselves and only just recently a small group of them started to form and think as a nation, outside of the boundaries of their local community.

I really don’t understand the meaning of – "not being too much in politics”. Every social behavior is connected to politics, and not being involved is itself a politic act. How can a nation be so disconnected from its history and from the desire to demand the basic rights that comes to it as one of the other nations? The community leaders of the Diaspora should understand that the strategy adopted by them till now maybe kept our heads above the water and kept us from drowning, but it is surly not working anymore and we must start swimming to the shore if we want to stay alive. I can teach an Israeli to dance Qafa and make Haluzh’ and I can also teach him about Circassia and our genocide. What do you think will be better for our survival and what will be more helpful for us as a nation?

I have one thing to say about "Suffer”. Circassian people suffer as long as they don’t have independence in their historical motherland. They suffer in the Middle-East, Caucasus, Europe and the United States. Their suffering doesn’t have to be physical or economic – though we have a lot from that; what I am talking about is cultural and existential suffering. A Circassian person can be well-established economically in Istanbul or in Berlin and he can be assimilated quite easily to become like all the other citizens in the country. The bitter result of this process will be that the Circassian nation suffered another lose from its people. This is the suffer that all the Circassians should worry about.

So I would really like to hear from these elders, how they think they can solve the Circassian Problem by ignoring it.


Jinal: What do you think, should be our next steps, to go on, establishing our own national politics, like all other nations are doing?

David: Our next step should focus on continuing to raise the international awareness about the Circassian issues in any country and at any stage on the world, and to get support for our just causes. Some of them are the recognition of the Circassian genocide, the opposition to the Sochi Olympics, and the right for independence from the Russian rule. The Circassian nation is like any other nation in the world, and we should keep on demanding from the international community to recognize all the rights that we have, so long that we are still alive.


Jinal: What do you think, are the roles of the different diaspora-parts in Turkey, Israel, Syria, Jordan, Europe and USA and the parts, living in homeland for our National Agenda? Do you see different potentials and something like a mutual supportive work towards each others?

David: The last couple of years have shown us that the Circassian Diaspora has more power than it looks. So the first thing that the communities all over the world should understand is that anyone has a part in the Circassian National Movement, and it is not only the responsibility of a small group of people. Everyone should help according to his ability.

Every community in the Diaspora has its own advantages. Some have the numbers, some have the money and the status, some have the freedom to express everything they want, and some can be used as the glue that will unite us all. Instead of thinking about ourselves as Turks or as Jordanians, we should think about ourselves as Circassians who live in Turkey and Circassians who live in Jordan and so on. No one will come to our help if we will not understand that our nation is in a serious problem and we should work as one nation to find the solution.


Jinal: What is your attitude toward the International Circassian Association? How successful is it from your viewpoint? Did it accomplish its goals? Which goals do you see, it is following?

David: The International Circassian Association died with the death of Professor Kilmiq Yura. He was a rare Circassian leader and sadly we don’t see the likes of him anymore. The international Circassians association has become a group of opportunistic people who seek to strengthen their personal ties and status, and even if there is one member with pure intention in that organisation, he absolutely can’t do anything to benefit his nation.

To analyze the situation of the International Circassian Association, and in a way the other failing organizations in the Diaspora, we can use the term "The Iron Law of Oligarchy” from the field of Sociology of Organizations. Basically, the law says that no matter how autocratic or democratic the organization is in the beginning, it will eventually end up developing into oligarchy. At that stage, the organizations will do everything to preserve their current situation and they will not be open to change and reform. So even if the main goal of an organization was to support the Circassian nation, it ends up supporting only its several members in the management.

Today, the International Circassian Association is doing a great job in promoting the goals of the Russian government, and in suppressing any opposition which can be considered harmful to the Russian interests in the Caucasus and beyond. This association is merely serving as a fig leaf for the anti democratic campaign that Russia is running against our People.


Jinal: What can be the future of this organisation? Shall it go on, like it did in the last years? Should something become changed or is it better to establish a new national-organisation?

David: That International Circassian Association has no legitimacy to operate as a representative of the Circassians, plain and simple. If it has any pretensions of representing Circassians, first it should be moved to a democratic country, preferably in Europe, and it should be opened to transparency and to a democratic conduct. In any way, the Circassians must have an international organisation that represents them, and if we cannot revive that organisation, we will have to establish a new one.


Jinal: How do you see the diaspora in Israel in the worldwide Circassian political movement? What can you contribute to the whole?

David: The Diaspora in Israel is another tool in the toolbox of the International Circassian Movement. Although we are talking about a small community comparing to the other Circassian communities in the world, the Circassians in Israel have the opportunity to say and do things that many people in the others communities can’t do. We are also quite educated in the history of the Jewish National Movement and the rebirth of the Jewish nation, so we could be useful in implementing some of the positive things in their history to our future as a nation (without getting into the question of its legitimacy or non-legitimacy toward the Palestinian issue). Obviously there are more ways we can contribute and it is not my intention to mention all of them at once, but I am sure you got the idea of what I am talking about.


Jinal: Thank you very much, for sharing your viewpoints with us.

David: Thank you for giving me the opportunity to do so. And I pray that we will live to see all our wishes come true. For a free Circassia in our future, God bless us all.

See Part 1: David Shawgen (Radio Adıga): "Circassians should promote their own interests”.

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