Circassia and the Circassians – Realties and the Future
By: Iyad Youghar
Promoting International Dialogue and Protecting Cultural Heritage in the Caucasus
Russia and the Caucasus Regional Research (RUCARR), Malmo University
December 5, 2018
Circassia the farthest European eastern land was 2.2 million people spreading over approximately 55K Sq.Km. It existed immemorially predating many nations and civilizations. A true paradise attracted many invaders. All had been defeated and Circassia’s freedom walls were always defended by the free souls of its people. The history of Adygas extending through centuries in defending their motherland evolved the culture into a militaristic one. Life in Circassia was built around one concept: Fearless life in defense of Circassia.
For such small nation to be able to withstand the onslaught of the mightiest invaders in history, it transformed its culture to perfecting everything .Every aspect of life and culture had been developed throughout centuries of warfare to protect Circassia and its freedom.
Russia the last perpetrator, greedy savage and ruthless, executed its relentless longest war in history aiming to destroy Circassia and its people.
“ Circassia without Circassians” was and still is Russia’s slogan and policy towards this small brave nation and its freedom loving noble people. Russia’s war against Circassia resulted in slaughtering and starvation of more than sixty percent of the population .And Russia ethnic cleansing and forced deportation of more than ninety percent of the surviving population, resulted in the death of hundreds of thousands of helpless men, woman and children dying at the beaches of our motherland, drowning in the black sea and vanishing on the ugly roads of exile.
Russian generals and officers watched with joy the tragic daily scene of the death of our exiled Circassian families. Many would praise their own actions and receive hero’s medals for destroying our nation. Russian generals marveled at the black sea shores watching and assuring each other that in few years Circassians would disappear completely in the darkness of the unknown destiny they were sent to.
This was Genocide! A crime against humanity intended to erase a nation from existing in its motherland .The civilized world through the United Nations declared that a Genocide is the action and conspiracy to create conditions and circumstances to remove from existence in whole or in part a group of people .Based on this definition the Genocide against Circassia and Circassians is continuing till today! Russia is continuing to create conditions and circumstance to further erase Circassian identity inside and outside Circassia.
A population of nearly two million and a half in the 19th century, Circassia would’ve been possibly the largest nation in the Caucasus. Turkey today as part of the Ottoman Empire in the 19th Century had the estimated population of nearly 6 million, Syria less than 1.5 million and Iraq about 2 million. If Circassia was left to live, it would’ve been a nation of no less than 20 million compared to the present populations of these neighboring countries .Where did 15 million Circassians go?
Toady only a small fraction of Circassia survived in a small separated lands with less than a million in total population living under the harsh Russian rules and occupation that is chipping away everyday more and more parts of our identity, culture and our future as a nation as we have been trying to recover from the tragedy. Russia’s actions today are done methodically and purposely.
Circassian Diaspora is estimated to be nearly 4 to 5 millions .But, there is not a known reliable population study or accurate census today for our nation and that is scattered throughout the world. We have a total absence of any rights as a nation, lacking any type of official personal identification in any part of the world ! NONE-WHATSOEVER! There is not a single official document any Circassian here or anywhere can be presented to prove he or she is Circassian!
Almost all our Diaspora communities suffer from a very rapid loss of population to due to assimilation and other factors and the gradual deterioration of our culture, language and identity. Our Circassian organizations in all countries hosting Circassian communities, with the exception of a few, have social clubs status. They have primitive programs to teach dancing, ineffective language programs and other simple folklore and religious traditions.
Only few people in the world today know us, not by our history, not by our contributions to mankind, not by our record as the finest European defenders of freedom and liberty, not by our Genocide, but strangely by our folk dancing! We have become a dancing nation! It takes 15 minutes for any of any of us to explain to someone who does not know us who we are!
Almost all our big Circassian organizations are monitored directly and indirectly and controlled partially by Russian intelligent services and their Circassian self-serving associates and friends. This is including the umbrella organization of all our associations the International Circassian Association (Donay Pso Adiga Xasa). It is on the top of the list.
When Russia planned to hold The Winter Olympic in Sochi, The last capital of Circassia and the place where part of our nation was murdered, the world did not know that Sochi was place of a gruesome crime committed against humanity. Genocide had been carried out and hidden by Russia.
Had it not been for the official Georgian recognition of the Circassian Genocide around that time and all the protesting and demonstrations of some active Circassians and the support of our friends in several countries to help publicize our cause, the world would not have known the tragedy of our nation!
Russia and its helpers were so relentless in trying to get most leadership of our organizations globally to divert and stop any Circassian activism against the Sochi Olympics. The intensity of their work was so high that some of the Circassian organizations in Turkey were forced to issue a declaration demanding that the Georgian Parliament withdraw its recognition of our Circassian Genocide. Some of these well recognized Circassian leaders were placed under much pressure and deception so they went foolishly to stand celebrating with the Russians in the Sochi Olympics on the place where our nation was massacred!
Some of those leaderships were involved in secrete and lucrative constructions contracts with Russia to build hotels in Sochi. The same group headed by powerful and prominent Circassians shamelessly opposed our Circassian activism in defense of our human rights as being a western and American plan to destabilize Russia in the Caucasus.
It was during the times leading to the Sochi Olympics many of us became aware how important it was for Russia to have hidden control of our organizations and most of their activities.
It is not a coincident that most of these organizations today are paralyzed in most of their programs. And they will not raise activism or awareness in Circassian human rights and indigenous peoples rights issues that are impacting drastically on our future.
Russia’s intention is to keep our organizations functioning in such ineffective way to further speed the decline of our identity which will certainly add more factors to the assimilation process of our communities. Russia’s plans that Circassian Diaspora in few years will not be of any potential threat to its control of the North Caucasus.
But despite all this, there still a big hope in our Circassian future. We must recognize that our traditional Circassian organizations and their primitive programs in Language, dancing, singing and folklore, will not be able to make the change alone.
As important as all these social and folklore elements are we must rise to the level of education and activism in human rights concerning Circassians future .This must take priority and a first place of importance. Groups of Circassians and committees must be formed in all countries, including Circassia, to study, foster and advocate the Circassian nation’s rights ethnically, legally and politically .All to be conducted in peaceful and civilized methods away from any extremism and fanaticism.
We must create programs, studies, strategies and organizations to bring the two parts of our nation back together in every aspect possible. The one inside Circassia and the one outside it. This should be done always with a clear focus on our future, that in the next few years, we will have reconstructed the Circassian national identity in a modern, stronger and civilized existence to focus on our future in our motherland Circassia.
Please remember, if we have Circassia we possibly do not have to worry about all the things we are gathered here today to worry about.
We all determinedly believe and agree that if we don’t have Circassia in our future, we will have nothing. The truth, humanity, the international law, our nation’s rights and many dear friends who recognize our tragedy will be on our side.
THERE WILL BE CIRCASSIA.