Members of the Ukrainian Canadian Congress are demanding that the new Canadian Museum for Human Rights more fully recognize abuses suffered by Ukrainians in Canada and in the former Soviet Union.
When the museum opens next year in Winnipeg, it will downplay the wartime internment of Ukrainians in Canada and virtually ignore communist crimes committed during the Joseph Stalin era, said UCC executive director Taras Zalusky.
“When we saw how, first of all, the internment of Ukrainians (in Canada) during the First World War was not going to have an exhibit, it was only going to be represented by a photo, we were kind of upset,” said Zalusky, who toured the museum in February.
Zalusky also expressed dismay about the museum’s treatment of the Holodomor, a famine created by Stalin policies that led to millions of deaths in the Ukraine in 1932 and ’33. He called Stalin’s actions “intentional famine, genocide.”
“There’s no gallery, there’s only a single panel near the washrooms,” he said, adding the museum is guilty of “a horrendous oversight” by being “entirely silent” on the communist crimes.
Zalusky said the UCC wants a permanent and prominent representation of the Holodomor in its own gallery and a permanent exhibit on Canada’s first national internment camps.
Maureen Fitzhenry, media relations manager of the museum, calls the disagreement a misunderstanding of how the museum is to be organized. She said it is an “idea museum,” not an artifact and collection museum.
“We’re looking at human rights through themes,” she said. “We’re not saying, here’s the Ukrainian thing, here’s the Rwandan thing… it’s not like a collection of grievances.
It is totally a collection of grievances. And I'm not Ukrainian, but even I am offended by Maureen referring to the Holodomor as "the Ukrainian Canadian stuff."Instead we’re trying to raise the importance of human rights for everyone, and we’re using different examples, so the Ukrainian Canadian stuff is scattered throughout three different galleries.”...