On May 18, the Joint Baltic American National Committee, Inc. (JBANC) and Americans of Estonian, Latvian, and Lithuanian heritage, stand alongside the Crimean Tatar people in remembering their deportations to Central Asia in 1944.
These events are particularly important to recall in the midst of new persecutions of the native Crimean Tatar population by the Russian Federation. Once again, a belligerent Moscow is violating the rights of the Crimean Tatars – including that of their culture and heritage, while occupying their land as part of Ukraine. Since the invasion of Crimea, the Russian Federation has banned commemorative activities, taken aim at dismantling the Mejlis (the representative body) of the Crimean Tatars, and arrested young Tatars by the score.
JBANC condemns these ongoing Russian hostilities directed at the Crimean Tatars.
We can only take great joy in celebrating this week’s win at the Eurovision Song Contest, held in Stockholm, of the Crimean Tatar singer Jamala. Her song “1944” passionately reflects the terrible ordeal endured by her people in that year of deportation. Her victory is a celebration of the values that we cherish, as we also remember the deportations of Estonians, Latvians, and Lithuanians during the days of Soviet oppression. We congratulate Jamala and the Crimean Tatar people on this victory, and hope that her success will increase awareness and support for the Crimean Tatars in their time of need.
We dedicate ourselves to seeing that the United States never recognizes Russia’s annexation of Crimea, that Crimea is returned to Ukraine, and that the Crimean Tatars can again live in their own land in peace and harmony.