There’s a very interesting post here on the ‘politics of memory’, or, how the way a country chooses to view its past will dictate its present – in this case, looking at how Ukraine views (or ignores) the deportation of the Crimean Tatars in 1944.
I have come across the politics of memory repeatedly these last few weeks in Crimea, not just in regard to the Crimean Tatars but also to the other nationalities that have called Crimea home: Greeks, Byzantines, Goths, Khazars, Russians, Krymchaks, Karaims…
To my dreamy novelist’s eye, some of these nationalities sound half-mythical, drowned in the mists of ancient history. But there is no such thing as ancient history. The stories we tell ourselves about what happened in the past shape who we are in the present.
Paul Goble in his post is kind enough to cite the Crimean Tatar translation of Dream Land as a small but positive sign that the 1944 deportation is beginning to enter Ukrainian popular culture, thus initiating a change in Ukraine’s politics of memory. He’s quite right to point out that a Ukrainian translation would be more significant.
Another important sign is the 2013 release of a new film about the Crimean Tatar deportation, which I’ll write about in my next post.