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To mark the 75th Anniversary of Ukraine's Famine-Genocide, the Canadian Friends of Ukraine began a series of activities aimed at expanding international awareness of this tragedy, by working with Canadian legislators, Canadian government officials, and international institutions. We have also undertaken a series of joint Canada-Ukraine public education projects.


On November 27, 2006, the Canadian Friends of Ukraine, in cooperation with the Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada, hosted a special evening entitled "Gareth Jones: The Man Who Knew Too Much". CFU President, Professor Jurij Darewych, provided opening remarks and Ukraine's newly-appointed Ambassador to Canada, Ihor Ostash, delivered official greetings. The guest speaker was introduced by the CFU's Executive Director, Lisa Shymko.

A large Toronto audience welcomed the special guest, Nigel Colley -- an author and independent researcher from the United Kingdom. Mr. Colley is the great-nephew of the acclaimed Welsh newspaper journalist, Gareth Jones.

Utilizing original photographs and documents in his visual presentation, Mr. Colley delivered a moving address about the historic contributions made by his great-uncle, Gareth Jones. In 1933, Jones, a brilliant and idealistic 28 year-old journalist from Wales, published the first signed expose in the United States and Britain on Stalin's deliberately imposed famine in Ukraine. His articles appeared in The Western Mail, The Times, The London Evening Standard, The Manchester Guarding, the Berliner Tageblatt, The New York Evening Post, and other US newspapers through the International News Service.

Fluent in several languages, including Russian, Jones, a foreign affairs advisor to the former British Prime Minister, Lloyd George, took a secret train trip to Ukraine. Jones' off-limits Ukrainian trek in the snowy early days of March 1933 took him to villages where he spoke to peasants and witnessed, first hand, their hunger and despair.

Two years later, in January 1935, American press baron, Randolph Hearst gave Gareth Jones a carte blanche opportunity to re-visit Ukraine. The resulting articles represent some of the most vitriolic attacks on the Stalinist regime of the time. It is believed that Jones was in fact the first journalist to use the phrase "man-made famine" when describing Stalin's atrocities in Ukraine.

Apologist journalists like the New York Times' Walter Duranty tried to discredit Jones, Moscow branded Jones a liar and banned him from re-entering the USSR, and fellow journalists like Malcolm Muggeridge tried to airbrush him out of existence.

In 1934, Jones wrote an ominous letter to a friend. In it, he wrote that he had recently learned that he had become a marked man on the black list of the OGPU and was barred from entering the Soviet Union. Soviet Foreign Affairs Commissar, Litvinov, sent a special cable from Moscow to the Soviet Embassy in London filing an official complaint against Gareth Jones to former British PM Lloyd George.

In 1935, on the eve of his thirtieth birthday, Gareth Jones was mysteriously kidnapped and murdered in the Far East. For decades, he was believed to have been killed by reckless Chinese bandits. But documents recently uncovered at the British Public Records Office in London indicate that Moscow likely had a direct hand in his murder by way of two Soviet secret agents operating in China.

Recent evidence has uncovered that the vehicle in which Gareth Jones was travelling when kidnapped in Mongolia was registered to a trading front of the Soviet NKVD, whose local manager, Adam Purpiss, was associated with the Cheka (Soviet Secret Police). Furthermore, whereas Gareth Jones was kidnapped and killed, the German journalist who accompanied him, Herbert Mueller, was released unharmed. According to British Intelligence, Mueller was a known Communist who travelled under assumed aliases, stayed at the Soviet Consulate in China, and was the Comintern's representative in China.

Authoritarian regimes have long feared the threat posed by outspoken journalists and writers. Sadly, to the list of inconvenient truth-tellers, such as Georgiy Gongadze, Anna Politkovskaya, and Alexander Litvinenko, we must now add the name of Gareth Jones.

The Canadian Friends of Ukraine are working to ensure that the historic contributions made by individuals such as Gareth Jones, in exposing the truth about the Famine-Genocide, reach a wide audience. For example, the Canadian Friends of Ukraine facilitated several in-depth interviews on the topic, which aired on CBC Radio's "As It Happens" hosted by Carol Off and CFRB Radio's Morning Show with Ted Woloshyn.

This past year, representatives of the Canadian Friends of Ukraine met with deputies in Kyiv from all of Ukraine's parliamentary factions to discuss various human rights issues, including the urgency to recognize the Famine as a national Genocide.

On November 28, 2006 the Parliament of Ukraine passed a law recognizing the Ukrainian Famine of 1932-1933 as a Genocide. Those voting in favour (233 deputies) were primarily members of the former Orange coalition, namely, Our Ukraine, the Tymoshenko Bloc and the Socialist Party. The Party of Regions and the Communists either refused to vote, abstained, or were absent. In fact, of the 186 members of the Party of Regions, only 2 deputies, Hanna Herman and Taras Chornovil, supported the vote.

The fact that so many politicians in Ukraine, particularly those from the eastern and southern regions, have little knowledge about the Famine should not be surprising. Many Soviet-era crimes have been visibly absent from the history curricula offered by Ukraine's educational system. That is why the programs undertaken by the Canadian Friends of Ukraine, such as the Canada-Ukraine Library Centres, Teachers' Awards Program, and Crimea Project, are essential to raising public awareness of these issues.

In 2007, to coincide with the 75th anniversary of Ukraine's tragic Genocide, the Canadian Friends of Ukraine plan to expand their activities and programs in Canada and Ukraine to ensure that the international community accord the Famine-Genocide the historic recognition that has been long overdue. With your financial and moral support, we can ensure that world opinion never deny this tragedy again.

To read recently published articles on the issue of Ukraine's Famine-Genocide, please click here.

Canadian Friends of Ukraine
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Toronto, Ontario M5S 2H4

CFU November 2006 Famine Genocide Commemorative Event: Daria Darewych (President, Shevchenko Scientific Society of Canada), Jurij Darewych (President, Canadian Friends of Ukraine), Margareta Shpir (CFU Vice-President), His Excellency Ihor Ostash (Ukraine's Ambassador to Canada), Nigel Colley (author and guest speaker), Lisa Shymko (CFU Executive Director).

Copyright  2014 Canadian Friends of Ukraine