I am Crimean Tatar, Crimea is Ukraine!


Crimea, Op-ed

On 26 April 2016, the self-proclaimed authorities of Crimea banned the representative organ of the Crimean Tatars, the Mejlis, effectively declaring war on the indigenous population of the peninsula Russia occupied. Here is a Crimean Tatar’s heartfelt response to this unprecedented act of ethnic repression.  

Activities of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People are banned by the so-called Supreme Court of Crimea, causing outrage among Crimean Tatars and people who support the Ukrainian cause.

The Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People faces the Russian oppression once again. Kırımoğlu, the legendary leader of Crimean Tatar resistance against Soviet atrocities once had said “I was going to fight the Soviets till death but I outlived them.” We will outlive these minions of Putin too.

In my first article on Euromaidan Press, I said “I do not want to write a ‘stony’ analysis, but an emotional and personal message.” This is another personal message, as I am outraged by this infamous act and witnessing that reactions are not sufficient; the Ukrainian cause, Ukrainians and Crimean Tatars are left alone.

We will remain in Crimea through the aeons. Whatever comes from this regime; exile, imprisonment, murders; we are not daunted as we remember the oath in our national anthem. We will resist like our kinsmen in Azerbaijan gathered and fought after the war cry: The flag once raised will never fall! We still remember how Noman Çelebicihan, author of our national anthem was murdered by Russians and thrown into the grim waters of Black Sea. We are used to death, torture, any evil, dastardly means that these invaders use to enlarge their empire of fear, we will not step back.

“The Mejlis is not just 33 people elected by Qurultai (National Congress) through a secret vote, but the whole structure of the national self-government,” says Kırımoğlu, honorary leader of all Crimean Tatars. As I ponder over what happened to Ukraine, I feel like lamenting. Crimean Tatars used to be an integral part of Ukraine, peacefully co-existed with Ukrainians, a rare and precious case in the whole globe. Their Mejlis was respected and acknowledged, they were trying to recover from the devastating effects of Sürgün (exile), which diminished their population, forced them to rebuild all they once had had by paying a dearly price.

Read also: Russia’s suspension of Mejlis “Hitlerism” – World Congress of Crimean Tatars

All people that suffered from the hands of Russians are showing, and must show, their solidarity with Crimean Tatars. We are proud that the most spotless struggle for freedom in the century is ours. Neither stained with the blood of the innocent, nor tainted with any infamous deed in the pursuit of gains. We solely trust the nation, find solace in our righteousness and are facing the tanks like mountains made entirely of devout patriotism and determination.

Therefore I want to proclaim: I am Crimean Tatar. I am the Ukrainian lady, Nadiya Savchenko, starving herself to death to grab the attention of the rest of the world to her righteous cause. I am the Chechen boy whose dreams are defiled by Putin’s “war hound” Kadyrov. I am a victim of Russian oppression and I summon all those stand by the right and good, regardless of ethnicity, religion, gender or any other identity, to show solidarity with Crimean Tatar people. We have suffered enough, all we want is to have our humble life back, the sparkling hope of a better future in the eyes of our children, which are now turned into a pair of hollow, frightened sparrows, piercing our hearts whenever we stare into their eyes.


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