Remarks of Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States Valeriy Chaly at the Holodomor Commemoration Ceremony in Grand Park, Los Angeles
The reverend clergy,
Dear Holodomor survivors,
Dear Chairman Borysiw,
Members of the diplomatic corps,
Representatives of the Ukrainian community, dear American friends,
Thank you all for your prayers and for your powerful words in tribute to the millions of victims of the Holodomor-Genocide of 1932-1933 in Ukraine. In the aftermath of the terrible act of terror that happened in Paris on Friday, our shared pain makes us honor and remember every single innocent life taken away deliberately and maliciously.
Right after the attacks in Paris, together with my Embassy colleagues, we went to lay flowers and light candles outside of the French Embassy. When asked by the journalists why we were there, I said that today Ukrainians feel the pain of France, perhaps more than anyone else. For it is Ukraine that fights daily against the terrorists who came with arms to our land to take away our freedom and to make us give up on our choice.
I would like to quote Congressmen Sander Levin, a great friend of Ukraine and a co-sponsor of the Authorization Act for Holodomor Memorial in DC. At the dedication ceremony last week, he said: “Remembering is the people’s life, and forgetting is giving up on humanity”. These were great words, and so we have gathered here today to show that we will always remember and that we will live to prevent a tragedy of that scale from ever happening anywhere again.
This is my first visit to LA and my first time in the State of California as Ambassador of Ukraine to the United States, and I consider it as a very responsible and important mission. Today, we have not only gathered to commemorate the millions of Ukrainians deliberately starved to death by Stalin, but we have also come here to mark the victory of an effort to preserve the Holodomor Memorial here in the heart of Los Angeles, which is the first Holodomor Memorial built in the United States.
Due to persistent actions of the Ukrainian community, namely the California Committee to Commemorate the Holodomor Genocide in Ukraine, the Memorial will remain standing here in perpetuity as a reminder of the atrocity committed by Kremlin.
I would like to thank the LA County Board, and especially LA Mayor Mr. Michael Antonovych, for this historically important decision.
Being for the first time so close to Mexico, I recalled a great Mexican proverb: «They tried to bury us. They didn’t know we were seeds».
The Ukrainian nation has survived a series of massive tragedies, and today death continues to come from the East. But through surviving, as the seeds have grown, we developed more strength, through resisting - we reinforced our Ukrainian identity and throughout fighting - we consolidated our unity across the world.
As a demonstration of this unity, just a week ago we unveiled the Memorial to the victims of Holodomor in the heart of the U.S. capital. The cause that has taken a decade and the great efforts of the US Congress, Ukrainian diaspora and Ukrainian diplomats have resulted in a magnificent symbol of sorrow for the millions perished in the Genocide of 1932-1933.
With your dedication and strength, we preserved the monument in Los Angeles. With that kind of solidarity with Ukraine, we will spare no effort to defend what its dear to all of us across the continents: our freedom, our unity and our choice to live without fear.
Today the seeds of what was once sorrow have grown into a bond of fearless nations sharing same values and standing together for the world of peace.
Thank you once again for your unwavering and continuous support.