Publication by The Star Online - "Execution by Hunger: An Exhibition"
PETALING JAYA: If only one man dies of hunger, that is a tragedy. If millions die, that’s only statistics.” That appalling quote is attributed to Communist dictator Joseph Stalin.
Prof Dr Ataullah Bogdan Kopanski cited it at the launch of the exhibition titled “Execution by Hunger” that will run at Universiti Malaya's Art Gallery (located on level 5 of the chancery) until Dec 28.
This year marks the 85th anniversary of Stalin's appalling genocide of 1932-33 known as the Holodomor.
The mass collectivisation of Ukraine's vast grain reserves resulted in the deaths of approximately a quarter of its citizens at the time. That's more than 7 million people.
"The cheapest weapon of mass destruction is famine," said Dr Ataullah on Tuesday (Nov 28).
"This pattern has been seen in Srebrenica in Bosnia, with the Nazis, Syria, Khmer Rouge, American Indians, Rwanda. Winston Churchill did it in Bengal, India" "You control a population, relocate them or besiege them, block them off from water, food and medicine. Julius Caesar did it in Gaul. Siege and starvation results in mass deaths," said Dr Ataullah.
The exhibition is full of photographs and newspaper articles of the time, documenting the mad Stalin's horri×c hold on the people.
The genocide was all about political control of the means of production, and Ukraine, long the bread basket of the region was punished for its prosperity. Private farms which resisted Soviet rule were forcibly collectivised.
People were sentenced to 10 years in prison in Siberia for hiding sacks of grain or dried fruit. Five ears of corn law. Headlines scream it out, Pictures of the pathetic starving citizens tell the tale of a population could
Stalinist henchman like Lazar Kaganovich and Viacheslav Molotov (whose names are now synonymous with cheap weapon) paved the way but there were also Ukrainian communists who collaborated in the horri×c deaths of their own people.
Ambassador of Ukraine H.E. Olexander Nechytaylo said, “the purpose of this exhibition is to tell the story. It is very little known in Ukraine itself, but the magnitude of this tragedy can help us to be more aware and be vigilant so it does not happen again." "The same exhibition is shown in Thailand and Singapore. Here, we are doing it for a month during the holiday period as we want students to have a chance to experience this. Our target audience is young people. People are busy with current things, it’s good to learn about the past and appreciate what we have."
Dr Ataullah concluded:"I propagate the horror of genocide as tourism. Force people to think, recognise the horror of what happened. This is nothing to celebrate. But this is something you must remember."
For more details on “Execution by Hunger”, contact the Universiti Malaya Art Gallery at 03-79673780.