U.S. Researcher Sarah Slye’s Speech during Tbilisi’s Presentation of the Circassian Miracle Book
28 January, 2020
About fifteen years ago in America, I created my own magazine, samizdat, and I wrote something in it, which I have believed ever since:
This civilization is at the peak of power. It seems invincible. Even so, foundation fissures appear and fault lines show. We are the seeds that fall in the cracks, blossom into flowers, trees and vines. Our roots will crumble this vile megalith.
So I was surprised/pleased to see in the preface to Mr. Bashqawi’s new book, The Circassian Miracle, the metaphor which Paul Goble used to describe the current Circassian renaissance – “a living blade of grass,” that “will break through all the concrete piled on it.”
A blade of grass or a baby vine seems small and weak, but it is precisely these tiny plants—this combination of efforts from a thousand different roots—which over time can crumble stone or concrete walls. Plants, like the desire for freedom and self-expression, are a natural, creative and expansive force whereas the concrete wall is artificial and constraining. So I have no doubt that the Circassian nation can, like a sea of grass, follow its natural course of renaissance and restore its independence through peaceful means.
But plants flourish most beautifully in a garden where people are taking care of them, pruning the trees, watering the flowers, training the vines.
Mr. Bashqawi’s books are a major contribution to the cultivation of the Circassians’ national consciousness in a healthy, positive direction.
The title of his first book, Circassia: Born to Be Free is significant because just like it is the natural right and duty of each individual to assert his or her freedom in his or her own life, each nation has the same rights to free expression and self-determination. However, to be effective in the self-actualization process, individuals and nations have to understand and analyze their past—both successes and mistakes—and evaluate clearly the opportunities and limitations in their current circumstances. Born to Be Free is a great contribution to this process of national self-reflection because it organizes a vast amount of information about the Circassians’ past and present in a clear and accessible way. It also helps others obtain a vivid picture of the Circassian perspective, which has been so long suppressed and dismissed.
After the self-reflection process comes the action plan. And part of the creation of an action plan is evaluating your strengths. And Mr. Bashqawi’s new book, The Circassian Miracle: The Nation Neither Tsars, Nor Commissars, Nor Russia Could Stop emphasizes the Circassians’ impressive resilience. The Circassians have endured:
Chapter 1) subversive propaganda meant to ruin their self-confidence and preventing others from caring or listening to them,
Chapter 2) hypocritical bullying from a neighbor that refused a cooperative approach, demanding only total submission,
Chapter 3) a genocide that most of the world denies or minimized,
Chapter 4) disregard and ignoring of their legal rights internationally and as a minority,
Chapter 5) cynical destruction of their environmental heritage,
Chapter 6) being forced to watch while the whole world came to Sochi to celebrate on the place where their ancestors were buried,
Chapter 7) artificial division within Russia to weaken their national consciousness, discrimination, harassment and corruption, assimilation processes, attempts to erase their native language, and academic disinformation.
Mr. Bashqawi has done a great service for his nation with his books by organizing a great deal of information according to chronology and topic and highlighting the Circassians’ resilience. I believe it is this very resilience that can serve as the basis for the development of a strategy and action plan to move forward to the peaceful restoration of the Circassians’ independence and flourishing on their own land.