On the Day of Commemoration of Genocide, Circassians Seek Restoring their Forgotten Rights
By: Adel Bashqawi
21 May, 2021
Neither reserving the national identity nor demanding the restoration of legitimate rights contained an invitation to violence or an aggression against others. Despite the crimes and repercussions of the Russian-Circassian War, which were revealed by various sources since the end of the war of extermination until now. The existence of 90% of the Circassian nation in this vast global diaspora did not dissuade it from adhering to the language of reason as a method that is decided to pursue and still, to demand the restoration the legitimate rights that have been exposed to forfeiture.
It is imperative to remove all the repercussions of this despicable nightmare that must eventually disappear, and this nation will be able to overcome the suffering that is still its dominant character, as a result of displacement, alienation, suffering, conspiracies, harassment, ethnic, linguistic, and cultural fusion and the policies of falsification of Circassian history altogether. In light of the developments that have occurred during the past years and the need to deal with them positively according to a rational positioning, and looking to the future with confidence, what is required when commemorating Memorial Day is the freedom to express opinion and to be firm on the truth and to use effective tools to be able to determine the choice of action and take the right decision based on the facts and the repercussions of war of extermination in order to form and follow appropriate strategies leading to the attainment of specific objectives. Winston Churchill said: “A nation that forgets its past has no future.” 
The eagerness of some parties to give the impression to observers that the actions of the President of the International Circassian Association, Haute Sokhrukov, regarding his unconditional support for the new recent Russian amendments to the constitution reflects the support of almost all Circassians around the world. This is very similar to the visit that was made by some Circassians of the homeland and diaspora to Sochi Olympic facilities at the end of 2013 as part of a public relations activity by the Russian authorities with the support of the International Circassian Association to give the impression that the Circassians are not opposed to holding the Sochi Winter Olympic Games.
Valery Khatazhukov, Head of the Regional Center for Human Rights in the Republic of Kabardino-Balkaria said: “The International Circassian Association, neither its ideology nor the nature of its activity now, has anything to do with the organization that existed in the 1990s, which was headed by prominent representatives of the Circassian people, such as Yuri Kalmykov, Abu Shkhalyakho, Zaur Naloev and many other personalities.” Likewise: “It defended the interests of the Circassians before the apparatus of power of the Russian Federation, and in the countries in which they are located in the size of several millions living in the diaspora, and in international organizations.” He added: “The true International Circassian Association was destroyed in the year 2000, when its leaders categorically rejected the attempts of the authorities of Kabardino-Balkaria to control it, by using methods of extortion, bribery and physical persecution.” He concluded: “The independent Circassian public figures, who share profound democratic conviction and strive to defend the interests of their people with civilized legal methods do not recognize the activities of this organization and believe that it is under the full control of the Russian authorities and the Special Services.” 
Madina Khakuasheva, The senior researcher at the Kabardino-Balkaria Institute for Research on the Humanities and a leading Circassian commentator on cultural and linguistic issues said: “The leaders of Kabardino-Balkaria now realize that losing non-Russian languages will mean that the republic will also disappear.” 
Despite all the tragedies that afflicted the Circassian nation, since their homeland was occupied and subjugated, Circassians have been subjected to harsh conditions in all aspects of life. Historians and specialist academics were not in the image of the pain, the tragic fate and suffering of the Circassians during the war and since the occupation in 1864. It was inevitable to rise from under the rubble of the memory, to keep the flame of freedom illuminated to lead the march, in spite of the obstacles, constraints and the continued attempts of ostracism, exclusion and wanton disregard, which has not succeeded in its ends over the years.
Mention could be made to an appeal that was submitted to the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe regarding the amendment of the Russian constitution, which canceled the fulfillment of the conditions that allowed Russia to join the Council of Europe in 1994, as it was the Venice Commission of the Council of Europe in 1993 that reviewed at the time the text of the Russian constitution when it reached that the constitution conforms to the “principle of the rule of law and democracy”. Thus, the Russian Federation was accepted into the Council of Europe. But the new amendments to the constitution were intended to “introduce ethnic segregation in Russia and to discriminate against the indigenous population and national minorities,” and that would raise the status of ethnic Russians and consider others second-class citizens. 
In a letter from the Organization of Patriots of Circassia to the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the United Nations Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights on the subject of amending the Russian Constitution, “the process of [amendment] shows that the position of the modern authorities in the Russian Federation is similar to that of the Russian emperors in the late eighteenth and early twentieth centuries.” The letter added, “We urge you to take all possible measures to create conditions for consideration of the issue of recognition of the genocide of Adyghe (Circassians) committed by the Russian Empire during and after the Russo-Caucasus War.” The letter concluded by saying: “We are convinced that the defamed Adyghe (Circassians), who are well-known, will rise again, and that their country — Circassia — will become civilized and prosperous again!” 
All this gives more attention to a cause that a search must continue to for ways to ensure re-emergence to follow up all matters related to what must be done and focus on, in order to claim legitimate rights of crimes with no statute of limitations.