Democracy, Human Rights, Refugees: Remarks at the Holodomor Memorial Event
November 22, 2008
Ambassador Shamshur, distinguished guests: Thank you for inviting me to take part in this solemn occasion marking the
75th anniversary of the Holodomor tragedy. The Holodomor is an extraordinarily sad chapter in human history, one that
never should have happened. Seventy-five years ago, the world witnessed a horrific episode of human suffering and
deprivation in Ukraine. It is important to honor the memory of those who lost their lives not because of natural
tragedy, but as a result of totalitarian oppression. I join with you in remembering the victims of this terrible
The United States has regularly joined Ukraine in its public reflection on this dark period – this year and in years
past. In fact, U.S. AID Administrator Henrietta Fore is in Kyiv today as President Bush’s representative to the
international Holodomor forum hosted by President Yushchenko. And, in September, I joined Ambassador Shamshur in opening
an exhibit on the Holodomor at the State Department’s Ralph J. Bunche Library to which our friends in the Ukrainian
Embassy made a strong contribution.
Together, our governments have supported resolutions in international organizations aimed at recognizing victims of the
Holodomor. We are also committed to permanently recognizing this tragedy in the United States. In October 2006,
President Bush signed legislation authorizing a Holomodor memorial in Washington, DC. In October 2008, the National
Capital Planning Commission designated land at the intersection of North Capitol Street and Massachusetts Avenue as the
location of the U.S. Holodomor memorial. We look forward to the groundbreaking of this monument next month. It will
stand as a permanent reminder of the consequences of man’s inhumanity to man.
This is both a time for remembrance, and for looking forward. Since those dark days in 1932 and 33, Ukraine has regained
its status as an independent nation and today is marked by political freedom and economic opportunity. As Ukrainians
reflect on this tragic event in their history, I encourage them also to celebrate their progress in strenghthening their
young democracy. Ukrainians should look to their future with hope and confidence, knowing that the United States will
continue to support them. Together, we can also work together to make sure that this kind of cruelty and suffering not
be allowed to ever happen again.