Glory To Ukraine!
Image©2023 ABS Crimean Tatar flag illustration from the article 'Today we raise the Crimean Tatar flag as one of the symbols of the struggle for the liberation of Crimea from russian occupation'
Crimean Tatar flag

The following short news item, from June 26, 2022, appeared on the President of Ukraine’s website, but only in Ukrainian. I have taken the time to translate it into English, because it illustrates very well why I have come to admire the Ukrainians. The points I have highlighted tell you quite a lot about Ukraine, although many of these concepts would be completely incomprehensible to mr. putin, who seeks to destroy what he cannot understand.

The words of the original article are in light blue, with a number of highlighted phrases, followed by my comments about those phrases.

[Today in Ukraine is the day of honoring the national flag of the Crimean Tatars, one of the indigenous peoples of Crimea.

Every nation has symbols that have forever absorbed all its victories and defeats, pain and joy, memories and plans. But, most importantly, they mean that the people who created them were able to withstand the difficult historical battles and carry them with them. For the indigenous Crimean Tatar people, one such symbol is its flag.

The Crimean Tatar flag combines the history, present and future of the people. Kok-bairak (blue canvas) and the coat of arms of Tarah-Tamga are the national symbols of the Crimean Tatars. Mavi Kok (blue color) in the Turkic peoples – a synonym for purity and freedom. It is associated with the sky and the sea. Tarah-tamga is a family symbol of the Gireys, the ruling dynasty of the Crimean Khanate.

These symbols, combined in a flag, the Crimean Tatar people carried through all the turbulent XX century. The Crimean Tatar flag was first approved by the Kurultay of Crimean Tatars in 1917, immediately after the February Revolution. However, after the Bolshevik occupation of Crimea, it was outlawed. For decades, the people were forced to live under the symbols approved in Moscow, to go through World War II and deportation, only to be able to raise their flag again in 1991 in independent Ukraine.

In 2014, the descendants of Soviet enslavers began a new phase of the war for the right to conquer other peoples.They occupied the Crimea, began to persecute dissenters, kidnap, torture, kill, convict on trumped-up charges. About 80% of political prisoners in Crimea are Crimean Tatars, including First Deputy Speaker of the Crimean Tatar Majlis Nariman Dzhelyalov.

So today we all, together with the Crimean Tatars, raise the Crimean Tatar flag not only as a symbol of the people, but also as one of the symbols of the struggle for the de-occupation of Crimea. We believe that truth and justice will win, and Ukrainian and Crimean Tatar flags will fly again in liberated Simferopol.]


First, there is that phrase “the day of honoring”. Ukraine has many such days. This tells me that Ukrainians have very long memories and they understand that history is a treasure to be cherished, carefully preserved, and learned from.

Next is the phrase “the Crimean Tatars, one of the indigenous peoples of Crimea”. That phrase tells me that Ukrainians celebrate and value the multitude of cultures and peoples making up Ukraine. That’s definitely something beyond mr. putin’s comprehension: a truly multicultural country.

Note that the Crimean Taters are said to be one of several indigenous peoples of just one region of Ukraine. Living in a country where European invaders tried very hard to kill off the indigenous peoples and wipe away any trace of their cultures, I’m envious of the cultural wealth of Ukraine.

The next phrase I have marked, “the descendants of Soviet enslavers”, might seem harsh and vindictive, but it is warranted. During the Soviet era, as many Crimean Tatars as the Soviets could locate were rounded up and deported to Russia. Few ever returned. How do I know this? The Ukrainians have a memory day for that event also.

Even during the years the Crimean Tatars were left in their homeland, the Soviets worked to destroy their culture through persecution and the suppression of their tribal symbols, and currently, in Occupied Crimea, the persecution of Crimean Tatars still goes on.

18 May is the Day of Remembrance of the Victims of the Genocide of the Crimean Tatar People. On that day, the entire country, not just the remaining Tatars, takes a moment to think about that sad time.

Because the Ukrainians have learned a principle that the U. S., for all its sophistication, has not yet been able to grasp. It’s a simple, yet profound principle: when someone harms or disrespects a segment of the population of your country, the wrong is suffered in part by you, not by a “them” or by “others”, because it’s being done to your fellow citizens.

The next phrase “the war for the right to conquer other peoples” particularly resonates with me. That is because when I went through school, it was assumed that conquering other peoples was perfectly okay, or even praiseworthy. We studied all the “explorers”, and I don’t believe that it came as a great surprise to me that one of the chief “products” of these voyages was trafficking in people: the slave trade.

I doubt if the age of “exploration” and the subsequent colonization is taught the same way in Ukrainian schools. Based on that phrase, “the war for the right to conquer other peoples”, Ukrainians seem to have grasped the fact that the war for legitimizing conquest is still going on, and that it is vitally important that ALL would-be conquerers lose.

Finally, there is the phrase “we all, together with the Crimean Tatars, raise the Crimean Tatar flag”. It’s become fashionable today to be very stingy with one’s culture. If someone raises the flag of another nation, it’s cultural appropriation. I happen to think that idea has been carried all too far.

In Ukraine, by contrast, they understand that to be Ukrainian is to embrace and honor all these strands in the fabric of Ukraine. The Ukrainians have proudly shared their flag all over the world, just as they share the symbols of the many cultures included in the concept of Ukraine.

It is exactly this rich tapestry of human culture that mr. putin wants to erase.

Image ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors lineArticle LinkImage ©2022 ABS Ukraine flag colors line

Original article (in Ukrainian) link: Original article. Article on the President of Ukraine’s website about the Crimean Tatar flag. This article only appears when the site is set for the Ukrainian language.

December 19th, 2023 at 7:09 am


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