Journalist and filmmaker Christina Paschyn presented her award winning documentary A Struggle For Home: The Crimean Tatars at the European Parliament in Brussels to a packed audience of politicians, academics, human rights activists, and many others, including representatives of the Ukrainian community in Belgium. The screening has hosted by Polish Member of Parliament, Anna Fotyga, of the European Conservatives & Reformists (ECR) political group.
The film tells the story of the rich history of the Crimean Tatars, a Muslim-Turkic people, from ancient times to the modern day.
Since the Russian invasion of 1783, the Tatars, who are considered to be the indigenous people of the Crimean Peninsula, have been engaged in a long and hard struggle to remain in possession of their homeland.
In May 1944, on orders from the Kremlin, the Tatars, 238,500 in total, were brutally deported, with a huge loss of life, and mostly forced into labour in Uzbekistan, as well as other parts of the USSR. It has been estimated that 30% of the Tatar population died within five years of the deportations.
The Soviets then began to systematically destroy all the symbols of Tatar culture. Monuments and buildings were destroyed, mosques turned over to other uses, and books burned.
They were not formally allowed to return to the Peninsula until the mid-1980s.
Ms. Paschyn began work on her film in 2012, with the intention of addressing the problem of the lack of available land for Tatars who had recently returned to their homeland after decades of exile.
Then in 2014 the situation changed dramatically. Vladimir Putin launched his troops into Crimea, and following a highly discredited ‘referendum’ illegally annexed the Peninsula.
The Crimean Tatars again find themselves being dispossessed by the Russians. Many have had to leave their homes. Political leaders have been persecuted, families are separated, and there are reports of killings. Like many Ukrainians, Tatars in the Peninsula are being forced to take Russian passports.
The Crimean Tatar-language ATR television station was forced to stop broadcasting in Crimea in April 2015.
“I think it is fitting and adequate that the (European) Parliament comes together in a joint resolution to highlight the human rights situation in the occupied Crimean territories,” Member of the European Parliament Reinhard Butikofer, of Germany’s Green Party, said on February 2016. “In particular, the Crimean Tatars have been persecuted from the very beginning of the Russian invasion.”
A Struggle For Home tells the story though interviews with Crimean Tatars. We hear from politicians, and from ordinary men and women of all ages. There are even touching and historically important eye-witness accounts of the1944 deportations.
Best International Film, D.C. Independent Film Festival, 2016
Silver Award Winner Spotlight Documentary Film Awards, 2015
Award of Merit Special Mention;
IslamicAward of Merit Special Mention: Documentary Short;
Award of Merit Special Mention: Women Filmmakers
Read Also: Crimean Tatars: Human Rights In Peril http://eutoday.net/news/crimean-tatars
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