In December 2021, the House of Representatives of Belgium recognized the Holodomor, a man-made famine that occurred in Soviet Ukraine between 1932 and 1933 as an act of genocide. This decision makes a significant milestone in acknowledging the horrific events that took place during this period and it is a crucial step towards ensuring that such atrocities never happen again.
The Holodomor which means “death by starvation” in Ukrainian was a catastrophic event that resulted in the deaths of millions of Ukrainians. The famine was intentionally created by the soviet government through a combination of forced collectivization of agriculture, confiscation of grain and other related policies that led to a shortage of food. The Soviet authorities were motivated by their desire to control the Ukrainian population and eliminate any perceived threat to their power.
During the time of Holodomor people were forced to resort to eating anything they could find, including grass, bark and even their own pets. As a result of which millions of people died of starvation and many more suffered from malnutrition and diseases.
The exact number of victims to date is unknown but estimates range from 3.5 to 5 million people. For many years the act was not widely recognized as an act of genocide and its perpetrators were never held accountable for their crimes.
The soviet government denied that the famine was intentional and instead attributed it to natural causes. It was only after the fall of the Soviet Union that the true scale of the Holodomor became widely known and efforts to acknowledge the same as a genocide began. Belgium is now one of the several countries that have recognized the Holodomor as an act of genocide.
Other countries that have done so are Canada, Australia as well as the United States. This recognition is an important step towards justice for the victims of the Holodomor and their families as well as a reminder of the importance of acknowledging and remembering the atrocities of the past.
Moreover, the decision by the Belgian House of Representatives to recognize this act as genocide was the result of a long and hard-fought campaign by the Ukrainian community in Belgium. This campaign included lobbying politicians and engaging with the media to raise awareness of the Holodomor and its significance.
The efforts of the Ukrainian community were supported by human rights organizations and other groups that recognized the importance of acknowledging the Holodomor as a genocide. Furthermore, the recognition is also believed as a significant victory for the Ukrainian community in Belgium and for all those who have worked tirelessly to bring attention to this tragedy.
It is also an important reminder of the need to recognize and remember other genocides that have occurred throughout history. By acknowledging the Holodomor as genocide one can help prevent similar atrocities from happening in the future.
Moreover, the recognition of such events also highlights the importance of confronting and acknowledging difficult truths about the past. It also serves as a reminder of the dangers of authoritarian regimes and the importance of protecting human rights and democratic values.