Adel Bashqawi: if Circassians do not seek the restoration of their confiscated rights, then who would?
J.T.: Hello Adel,
Thank you for giving me an interview. First I would
like to give our readers some information about you, your profession and your
activities for the Circassian topics. Can you tell us something about your background?
Adel: Thank you Jinal for allowing me to speak through
"CHERKSSIA.NET” which would make me glad to appear on your Website to talk
about what wanders in my mind through answering your questions. I was born in
Amman, Jordan in a Circassian family of Shapsough father’s side and Hatuqwai
mother’s side. I am married and I have the privilege to be a father and a
grandfather. I worked for few years in the Jordanian Armed Forces, and then
continued in Aviation profession. I started since I was young to search and
examine through referring to books and asking the elderly about the whereabouts
of the Circassians, what happened to the nation and what caused that
dispersion. I started writing, translating, researching, investigating and
posting on the Circassian issues and other topics of the North Caucasus as
there is similarity between Circassians’ fate and other peoples of the North
Caucasus. There was also an interest to follow activities on the international
level which made me attend conferences at Harvard and William Paterson Universities in April, 2008, when I had moderated part of the one day event, and in another part I had
given a speech in Arabic Language in the title of "Circassia The Homeland,
Where To”, and the Circassian Day in the European Parliament in October, 2008.
I also participated in March, 2010 in the first international conference held
in Tbilisi, Georgia, in the title of "Hidden Nations, Enduring Crimes: The
North Caucasus Between Past and Future”, and I gave a speech in the title of "Circassia Our Motherland”. I had the opportunity to attend in 20, May, 2011,
the Georgian Parliament’s session when the Circassian Genocide was officially
recognized by Georgia. In between I attended some activities in Jordan among
them was a speech at the main Khasa in Amman in the year 2008 about the
activities took place at Harvard University in April, 2008 in regard to the Circassian
Question, and another one a speech in 20, May, 2009, in the title of "The Circassian Mobility Between the North Caucasus and
Diaspora”, which was
given in Arabic language but was translated to English language as well.
J.T.: You are active in Jordan. What are the topics, you are working on?
Adel: When time permits I attend certain activities
held at the Khasa, and that is why I have limited activity in that level; but I
try as much as possible to follow what is going on, and I would always advise
Circassians to give the necessary importance in the direction of self preservation
which is the first law of nature.
J.T.: What can you tell us about the situation of the Circassian Diaspora in
Jordan? How are you living there? What are the main targets and outcomes of the
Adel: Circassians in Jordan are well respected as a
distinguished community due to their positive and keen roll in the social and
daily life of the country, as they participated in the foundation of modern
Jordan since the Jordanian Monarch arrived to Jordan from Hejaz, who was
welcomed and supported by Circassians and other Jordanians as well. Circassians
are open towards others and they are not introverted, they are active in all
walks of life and they keep their characteristic and particularity as a recognized minority. Circassians are well known among
Jordanians of their honesty, loyalty, devotion and truthfulness; also there is
mutual respect and trust with all factions of the Jordanian society. Being
living in Jordan for more than 140 years, Circassians are interactive with the
environment that they found themselves in after they had to leave homeland,
which the majority of them are engaged to get access to decent living and to
educate their children, while asserting the fact that they are proud Circassians,
and at the same time to get linked to Motherland, but with difference of depth,
methods and priorities.
J.T.: Is there any support from the government towards Circassians?
Adel: According to the Jordanian constitution all
citizens are equal under the law, and accordingly Circassians are getting their
rights the way others should and they getting the benefits of the Jordanian
citizens which is evidenced by allowing Circassians to work in the government
and the army, and Circassians had reached the highest official positions such
as the positions of Prime Minister, Ministers, Senators, Members of Parliament,
Judges, High Ranking Officers in the Armed Forces, Security Department and the
J.T.: On the 20th of May, this year, the Georgian parliament
confirmed, that Tsarist Russia conducted crimes against humanity against the
Circassian nation – genocide and extreme ethnic cleansing. What do you think
about this conclusion? What does it mean for our nation’s future?
Adel: Circassians had never given up hope, because
hope springs eternal. I had the honour to attend and watch that important event
at the Georgian Parliament. I observed the representatives of the Georgian
people commenting on the Draft Resolution then the Members of Parliament voting
by absolute majority of the attending members for the recognition of the
"Circassian Genocide and Ethnic Cleansing” that had been committed against the
Circassian nation by the Russian Tsarist Empire in the Nineteenth Century. The
conclusion is unprecedented and it is the most important recognition and/or
positive gain that the Circassian nation has ever gotten since the end of the
Russian-Circassian (Caucasian) War that had ended in 21, May, 1864, which will
open closed doors in order to retrieve Circassians’ rights. Truth will prevail.
J.T.: You had been there in Tbilisi. What happened there? What is the
attitude, Georgia has for the Circassians and our genocide? Do you think, they
just want to make their politics with us and use us for their own?
Adel: True, fortunately I was there to observe an
important event that would affect solving out the Circassian Question later on.
The Georgian nation as one of the nations of the Caucasus and a member of the
United Nations, has shown a sensible attitude and a degree of moral
responsibility by uncovering the overwhelming documented proof presented by
specialized committees, scientists, historians, academic institutions,
university professors and experts from many countries even from Russia itself and
had in earlier stages testified to the dedicated Parliament Committees about
the scientific findings, which made the committees reach a resolution in order
to be submitted to the Parliament for voting, which had occurred and the world
was informed that Circassians were oppressed and had been subjected to Genocide
and Ethnic Cleansing with all its consequences, based on irrefutable evidence.
All that showed Georgian willingness to recognize the injustice suffered by
Circassians, "Example is better than precept”. Circassians are not naive to
look at facts in a different angle than they actually are. There are mutual
interests between peoples and nations, each working to ensure their basic
rights to freedom and human dignity. When Circassians know what they want and
consequently they can distinguish between good and evil, they will be able to
see and select their path and choose a way that makes them take what is
appropriate for them and leave what is wrong and mischievous. The principle of
reciprocity should be the dominant. I would comment on suspicions in that
regard by saying: None are so blind and so deaf than those who neither want to
see nor hear.
There is no way that the perpetrators would get away
from the penalty of crimes committed against the Circassian nation and
humanity. That is the law and that is a moral obligation towards civilization,
that no crime goes unpunished and/or without accountability.
J.T.: There are many Circassian organisations, like KAF-FED, Kafkasya Forumu,
the Circassian head organisation of Europe – FDTKV and others, who are against
this conclusion or at least try to ignore it. What do you think about this?
Adel: Being exiled away from homeland is no sin, but forgetting homeland
is evil. With respect to all associations and organization that called either
Circassians or Caucasians, the rule or the most important issue should be how
serious and effective these particular parties are in serving the very
essential concerns of "Adiga Circassians” and to adopt and implement fateful commitments;
but the query arises about what are the principles that those organizations and
associations were created for! Are their objectives sports, culture, social,
business, professional, interethnic or national? People tend to talk in subjects of their
interest or speciality. The answer would determine the speciality, therefore it
is possible to judge, and they should practice what they preach. Real "Adiga
Circassians” will be the ones who are suppose to give their opinion, because
they are the real victims of hostilities that ended in deportation and exile
away from Motherland. I believe the
answer of who is with and who is against the conclusion of Genocide recognition
cannot be answered without real scientific method of research, but it is absent
from some minds that "still waters run
deep”! "Adiga Circassians” who are not under the influence of "Self Ego” or
other Non-Circassian sides should have an organized conference or collateral
activities to cover all topics that pertain to Circassians, and accordingly
they will come up with the real Circassian decision. At the end what is useful for Circassians
will remain and what is bad will end. Georgia as a good gesture towards the
Circassian nation has announced adopting a project for
respecting Immortal Memory of Victims of
Genocide, Carried out by Russian Empire, on the basis of which the Georgian
Government would frame a plan in memory of the victims of Circassians’
genocide and the framework will compose
a victims’ memorial.
Anyone is welcome to recognize the Circassian Genocide even Russia
J.T.: Here in Germany we often heard phrases like:
"If you want to make politics, than go to homeland and
make it there, but not here, where you are sitting in your warm and save place!”
"If we start making politics here, our sisters and
brothers in the homeland will suffer from it, so be quiet!”
"We should do nothing, to make Russia angry; otherwise
they will stop the ability of contact to homeland!”
"Our xases cannot do politics, because we were
established, just to keep our culture; and it is against the laws of Germany,
to do political work with such organizations!” (What is not true)!
Or they are manipulating xase-votings, in order to
hamper open political discussions. (What is against the democratic law of
From my point of view, the deeper meaning of these
sayings and actions are just, to keep us silent and inactive and to hold our
new generations stupid in relation to politics. What is your opinion about it?
Do you have similar experiences in your Xases there?
Adel: Being away from Motherland for more than 147
years didn’t make Circassians forget their precious homeland. If we look at
extinct civilizations and nations and we compare them with our nation, we find
out that our nation’s history is rooted in the human history for more than 6000
years, and the Circassian nation being subjected to the disastrous and grave
circumstances of oppression, genocide, expulsion & deportation, oppression
and disguise in addition to destroying its cultural heritage did not extinct
and still exist but on the contrary, the Circassians still more determined to
preserve their distinctive identity and to adhere to its unique culture,
values, customs, traditions and ethics, which have distinguished them from
others, gives hope because Almighty God helps those who help themselves.
Sometimes "Speech is silver, but silence is gold”.
Your question has reminded me with an important statement that Mr. Paul Goble
had said in an event on Circassians that had taken place in Harvard University
in April, 2008, when he said that based on facts remembered from the Soviet era
that relate to Polish and citizens of the Baltic Republics at the time, the strength of Circassians lies in the
number of Circassians living in exile (90% live outside homeland) which gives
them freedom of movement in terms of the dimension of pressure placed on those
who live at homeland.
Those who issue rumours and who try to drop morale
should know that ill-gotten gains never prosper and bullying policy they are
adopting will not succeed. Good citizen will serve own country wherever he/she
lives, as long as Motherland is not forgotten, and preserving the national
identity is the real compass for exploring and choosing the way that leads to
No matter what is done in Diaspora, how that would
make our brothers and sisters suffer in homeland, while the occupation had
already committed the Genocide, deported 90% of Circassians in difficult and
tragic circumstances, resettled settlers from different origins instead of the
Circassians who were uprooted from their Motherland, Circassia was totally
deleted from the map, and the remaining 10% of Circassians in the North
Caucasus were scattered in different autonomous republics and enclaves.
Russia looks at its own interests and if Circassians
do not seek the restoration of their confiscated rights, then who would? Russia
wants to keep Circassians wherever they are through vague promises and
assurances that are with empty contents. How could we whip ourselves and ignore
our rights for a mirage of "presumed good faith” of the descendents of those
who committed hostilities against the Circassian nation by offending the nation
with tight sanctions that affected its existence, present and future.
You don’t have to be involved in politics to claim your
right of your very existence! Khasas are not asked to proclaim a state, a
political existence or to declare war against anyone. They must have a little
respect to their ancestors who had perished with the weapons of treachery.
Being Circassians does not mean that we are members of an international dance,
sport or social club. It is much deeper than that. Culture is part of
integrated elements that would form a nation or a people.
Manipulating voting will one day end when kidnapped
institutions regain their status and opportunists stop their dirty games of
falsification, and a good example about this is what is called now the "Arab
Spring” when we see that peoples and nations were ignored for decades,
elections fraud had been the common factor, abuse of power was in force, and
peoples’ rights were not respected; but when the peoples woke up, in matter of
no time circumstances have changed completely.
People do not hear from a silent individual, and at
the same time "beggars cannot be choosers”. When Circassians demand to restore
their legitimate rights they must do it properly and to be addressed to the
right side which can be done in a non-violent and peaceful way that reflects
the level of civilization that Circassians had reached even during the defensive
wars that they had to face for defending their existence as they were pioneers
in the enrichment of others’ cultures. The people should be united because
"union is strength”.
J.T.: What is your
attitude toward the International Circassian Association? There are some
organizations that have no hope about the ICA and are not a part of it? What
should they do, in order to promote their politics?
Adel: Unfortunately Circassians have bad experience
with ICA in the form that the association was transferred and kept in Nalchik
after it was considered sanctuary and people held high expectations which had
meant hope for all Circassians around the world. The organizations that have no
hope built on the ICA which are not part of it
as you mentioned in your question, are mostly in obvious conflict with
its current policies and objectives. They must individually and collectively
meet and revise the Circassian disastrous consequences that had followed the
genocide and the exodus of the majority of the nation and to contact the
Circassian public to spread and circulate information to explain the task and
the way needed to decide on, to be able to build an agenda and a Circassian
national plan in order to address the world, starting from the Republics of the
Caucasus, to the European Union and even the Russian Federation in a civilized
way to request the recognition of the Circassian Genocide and to end up all
hostilities against the Circassian nation. In addition to recognition of the
Circassian Genocide, Russia is obligated to present apology, compensation,
rehabilitation, and to assure legitimate rights in self-determination on own
J.T.: How do you see the Diaspora in Jordan in the worldwide Circassian
political movement? What can you contribute to the whole?
Adel: From my point of view, there is a contact
between the Diaspora in Jordan and worldwide Circassian political movement on
individual bases, apart from the organic link between Jordan’s main Khasa and
the ICA, which are in direct contact in accordance with the rules that pertain
to their going on contact due to the fact of well-known membership. It is worth
to mention that Circassians of Jordan had demonstrated for the first time ever
in front of the Russian Embassy in Amman, Jordan on the 21st of May,
2011, and they held signs that were similar to signs held in Turkey, Europe and
USA, such as "NO FOR SOCHI 2014, SOCHI LAND OF THE CIRCASSIAN GENOCIDE”.
J.T.: And what about those, living in Europe?
Adel: It is obvious that Circassians living in Europe
are experiencing high ceiling of freedom and free movement; but there is no
tangible and positive result to their activities in regard to the Circassian
issues, most probably due to the multiplicity of the number of associations and
organizations, beside their contacts and loyalty to well established ones in
other countries of origin especially Turkey. Unity between associations would
contribute in strengthening the Circassian communities and would enhance the
awareness of contacting all branches of the European Union especially the
European Court of Human Rights, the European Parliament and the European High
Court, in addition to Non Government Organizations. That would lead to opening
new horizons to explain the Circassian Question and all its issues to a
majority that had not heard of before. Circassians in Europe and their friends
should mobilize their efforts to oppose the 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games
which are meant to erase the memory of what Sochi had meant when it was the
last capital city of Circassia.
The darkest hour is that before dawn.
J.T.: Thank you very much, for sharing your viewpoints with us.
Adel: You’re quite welcome.
This Interview was performed by Jinal Tamszuqo for
Cherkessia.net and has been sent by Adel Bashqawi to be published in
By: Radio Adiga