By: Adel Bashqawi
7th Circassian Day at the European Parliament
18, June, 2012
The Olympic Games in Olympia had started as an ancient Greek festival with athletic, mythical, and musical competitions, held at Olympia in Greece periodically, traditionally from 776 B.C. until abolished by the Roman emperor Theodosius I in 393 A.D.
The ancient Olympics were based on a philosophy of balance between physical/athletic and spiritual/moral development that was a cornerstone of Greek democracy.
Originally there was only one race, a sprint, and the prize for the winner was an olive wreath. As time went on, other races were added, as were other sports, including boxing and wrestling. Among the more unusual events were the race in armor and the apene race, in which a chariot was pulled not by horses, but by mules. Prizes became more elaborate, and there were even suspicions and/or reports of cases of bribery, corruption and boycotts.
The International Olympic Committee (IOC) had been founded in 1894 by French aristocrat, Baron Pierre de Coubertin, had become since then the administrative mechanism of the Olympic Movement, in accordance with so-called Olympic Charter, which had generated during the 20th and 21st centuries, until it shaped the alternating summer and winter games at two- year intervals, beside other creative activities. World Wars led to the cancellation of the 1916, 1940, and 1944 Games.
Russian and international companies such as Volkswagen Group, and Coca-Cola sponsoring of Russian planned 2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games, irrespective of the importance of Sochi as the last bastions of resistance in the Circassian resistance to Tsarist Russian invasion, and the genocide suffered by the Circassian nation.
The IOC is morally obliged and for human dignity considerations to revise the decision of holding Olympic games on our ancestors’ bones and graves, otherwise, that will be well thought-out as a diversion from the principles, ethics and objectives of the Olympics and deliberate negligence and carelessness in collaboration with the so-called host-state, which is deviating from its own proclaimed constitutional rights towards an indigenous nation that suffered and still on the way to restore confiscated human rights, bearing in mind that The IOC ignored completely, the call of residents of 12 subjects of the Russian Federation which was addressed to the International Olympic Committee (IOC) requesting not to allow erection of Olympic objects in the Grushevy Ridge and within buffer zone of the Caucasian Reserve!
It is based on the fundamentals and principles mentioned in the Olympic Charter, Chapter 1, The Olympic Movement and its Actions: Mission and Role of the IOC):
• The goal of Olympics is to situate sport at the service of the harmonious development of humankind, with a view to promoting a peaceful society concerned with the preservation of human dignity.
• To encourage and support a responsible concern for environmental issues, to promote sustainable development in sport and require that the Olympic Games are held accordingly.
• To promote a positive legacy from the Olympic Games to the Host cities and the Host countries.
The IOC policy also finds its roots and scope in the Olympic Movement’s agenda 21 which is another major reference document in this field.
• To cooperate with the competent public or private organizations and authorities in the endeavor to place sport at the service of humanity and thereby to promote peace;
The Olympic Paralympic Values are: respect, excellence and friendship, which they are based on: courage, determination, inspiration and equality.
The Circassian Homeland
Circassia is located in the historical region of the Northwestern part of the Caucasus Mountains, on the Northeastern coastline of the Black Sea. After the end of 101 years of invasion and prolonged Russian-Circassian war (the Caucasus War in official Russian terminology) which was waged by Tsarist Russia, Circassia was totally occupied in 21, May, 1864. The Circassians were the genuine inhabitants of the Northwestern Caucasus for more than 6000 years, and their existence is confirmed in the area since the earliest Agriculture and the beginning of Metal Tool-making age, which consisted of 12 tribes that are represented on their green flag by twelve golden stars beside three crossed arrows that symbolize union and peace. They were commonly called Circassians or Cherkess which was designated by the Greeks, Turks or Russians; but their self-designation name and language is Adygha.
Since untimely historical records, the ancient native inhabitants of the Northwest Caucasus were known in most historical annals as the Circassians that existed in Circassia. The Circassian nation had suffered of war disastrous consequences that included and not limited to destruction, annihilation, displacement and deportation which are elements of Mass-genocide. During the war Circassia was subjected to devastation, sanctions, total and strict blockade and eventually total occupation, which consequently resulted in famine, spread of epidemics and exposure of the remaining alive inhabitants to severe and extreme conditions.
According to Unrepresented Nations and Peoples Organization (UNPO) in EARLY HISTORY of HISTORICAL BACKGROUND: “The formation of the Circassian people over the millennia had taken place in close contact with the tribes of Western Asia, Greeks, Cimmerians, Scythians, and Sumarians. The main Circassian settlements were located in the northwestern foothills and plains of the lower reaches of the Kuban and on the east coast of the Black Sea from the mouth of the Don to Abkhazia. Circassian society of that time can be described as early feudal, and farming was the leading economic sector. Cattle and horse-breeding, fishing, and crafts were well developed. The celebrated Silk Route passed through the territory of historical Cherkessia (Circassia), as shown by various archaeological finds. The Circassians first emerged as a coherent entity somewhere around the tenth century A.D., although references to them exist much earlier.”
The Circassians had managed through thousands of years of their active existence to stay independent of others. The main political units were clans and territorial communities similar to the ancient Greeks and Romans or the Iroquois confederation. Adygha societies in the sense of communities were elaborately subdivided into the ranks of princes and many other classifications.
“The stratified and militaristic society of the Circassians prevented them from being conquered for thousands of years. In the west, the lands of Circassians were washed by the extremely treacherous waters of the Black Sea, where sailing ships could navigate only for several months during the year. The coast had few good harbors and many malarial swamps”. Various Sharia laws started to be followed by some of the Circassians in the 19th century, while others followed the Khabza (their own laws).
Circassians had always considered defending their homeland as one of their top priority obligations, beside their commitment toward blood feud. All Circassian communities were at certain stage ruled by princes, but in the 17th through 19th centuries the Shapsugh and Natukhwai tribes along the Black Sea coastline had rebelled against their princes and expelled all aristocrats in a series of dramatic revolutions. These democratic Circassians were since then ruled by regular meetings of all citizens that usually took place in sacred groves. The meetings determined communal affairs and elected various magistrates. During wartime, Circassians elected temporary war leaders and formed highly disciplined detachments of young men. All free commoners used to purchase their own weaponry and master their utilization.
In the year 1763, the Tsarist Russian Empire had started its, the longest war in Russian history against Circassians, in order to expand its boundaries into the Black Sea coast-line and ports on the territory of what used to be called Circassia, accomplishing its long-time dream of reaching then controlling the warm waters, Russian Tsarist invading forces and hordes had reached their numbers at critical times to more than one million troops of army soldiers and mercenaries. Circassians had to face disastrous consequences and were subjected to genocide and ethnic cleansing that killed half of the Circassian people, in which facts and discreet studies have concluded that the outcome of what had happened to the Circassian nation was a typical genocide.
The Russian occupying authorities had started coordinating the change of the status and nature of the population that led to reflect a demographic reality of the region by deporting the Circassian inhabitants away from their original areas, either to regions beyond the Kuban River or to the Ottoman Empire through coordination between the governments of the Russian and Ottoman Empires. Cossack, Russian and other settlers from different origins were brought in to the area to resettle and replace the original oppressed people that had been either perished or deported.
2014 Sochi Winter Olympic Games
Selecting Sochi for the 2014 winter Olympic Games (the most expensive in history) got impact on circumstances with different dimensions, which can be described as the following:
*Circassian national and human concerns are directly connected with the indigenous peoples’ rights and dignity both on the state and world’s levels. That includes the importance of Sochi being the last capital city of Circassia when Circassia and the North Caucasus were totally occupied in 21, May, 1864, in addition to the mass-graves and graveyards of Circassians who resisted the invaders particularly in Krasnaya Polyana site, which is developed to be a tourists’ resort!
*The breach and violation by Russian authorities against world heritage and UNESCO protected sites and forests, which was reported in February of the current year that “Russia Allows Ski Resort in Caucasus World Heritage Site” and pinpoints: “The Russian government is preparing to allow construction of a cluster of ski resorts and roads in the Caucasus region that will alter one of Europe’s few untouched mountain wilderness areas. The development is expected to impact two biosphere nature reserves, two national parks, wildlife sanctuaries and a World Heritage Site.”
* The environmental and ecological damage produced by the industrial toxins and chemical waste originating from the construction works of the Olympic facilities, roads and associated services is beyond repair in such a unique and fascinating natural beauty of Sochi and its surroundings. Environmental activists and “Greenpeace Russia” indicated worries that there is a dangerous increase of concentration of high-risk of toxic elements such as arsenic, phenol and a number of oil derivatives. The environmentalists say “pollution levels have risen dramatically around Sochi since the city was selected to host the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.”
A Russian blog in the name of La Russophobe had posted an editorial in March, 2010 in the title of: The Sochi 2014 Madness Must End Now! It criticized the whole Sochi process and mentioned “Russia is recklessly destroying the regional ecology to build the Olympics venues. The United Nations has just issued a scathing report condemning Russian atrocities against the natural environment, and the IOC is now being forced to investigate.”, then added: “allowing Russia to build the Olympic venues in Sochi will do irreversible environmental harm to Sochi. The invaluable Paul Goble documents that harm in today’s issue, and Russian environmentalists on the front lines confirm that the Kremlin is butchering the natural world on the Black Sea coast in order to build venues of absolutely no value to ordinary Russians, at horrifying expense.”
A blog in the name of “Sochi Watch” had posted in May, 2011, a summary of the “current ecological situation in Sochi, from an AFP article I caught on vancouversun.com. Essentially, it covers the basics: that Russia is saying the gargantuan building project to prepare Sochi is “70%” finished and that this will be the “greenest” Olympics ever vs the Ecological Watch on North Caucasus saying that that ain’t exactly the case.” “In general, environmental damage in Sochi is much worse than what we expected in the early stages of construction planning,” said Suren Gazaryan of the Environmental Watch on North Caucasus.
No Sochi Committee had published its 14 Reasons for Opposing Sochi 2014 in five languages; explain many worries in regard to holding Winter Olympic Games in Sochi.
To end my presentation I would like to read scripts extracted from one of the recently translated documents obtained from the Russian achieves, which were sent to the European Parliament in the year 2006, requesting the recognition of the Circassian Genocide:
*From memoranda of Colonel Charak Feb,, 14th 1864:
I remember how our troops led by General Babic approaching like locusts in the first days of great summer from the beautiful Mountaineers land, and their dense crops – wheat, barley, millet and peaks – flatten under the feet of soldiers, horses and guns, and the villages scattered around us were burning, and the smoke makes the leaves of the surrounding woods formed recently turn to unmoral brown color”.
*Message from Q. Gyeman on February, 13, 1864: “… Abadzykh people naked and poor are turning towards Tuapse, and will constitute a significant burden to us, the fear of the spread of fever or other infectious diseases among them. We treat them in a barbarian way actually, but we have no other way people are amazingly stupid”.