Holodomor denial by U of A lecturer leads to condemnation
Holodomor denial sparks protest, and this could lead to Dougal McDonald losing his post as lecturer at University of Alberta. When McDonald shared a post titled ‘The Myth of the Holodomor’, which resulted in many calling for his firing. The post claimed that the Holodomor was a Nazi fabrication.
Today 16 United Nations countries, Canada included, recognize the Holodomor as a genocide. Furthermore, Alberta commermorates Holodomor Memorial Day on Nov. 23.
Bohdan Klid, direct of the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium strongly condemned Dougal McDonald. Furthermore, he said: “These are the sorts of arguments that one could expect to read in Soviet propaganda”.
The general consensus today is that the Holodomor was a state-induced famine directly aimed at the Ukrainian population, for which the Soviet government under Stalin’s direction was responsible.
Ultimately, “no one would deny that a famine had taken place”, concludes Bohdan Klid.
Students and institutions call for firing of lecturer
Students from University of Alberta have stirred up in protest against the lecturer. For example, student Lianna Makuch commented that for anybody, especially a lecturer, to deny the experience of the Holodomor is extremely painful.
Makuch’s grandmother was a Holodomor survivor, and would recount terrible experiences, for example that of seeing her younger brother succumb to the famine and her father risking execution to provide food.
The Jewish Federation of Edmonton has stated through their Facebook page that it is “irresponsible and deeply dishonest” to deny the existence of the Holodomor. Moreover, condemnation has come from Premier Jason Kenney who through Twitter said: “it was deeply disturbing to see a university professor and former Communist candidate to engage in genocide denial”.
Deputy Provost Wendy Rodgers has commented that McDonald’s views do not represent those of the university, and moreover that as a private citizen McDonald has the right to express his opinion.
Rodgers has added that the university is carefully monitoring the situation.
Meanwhile, McDonald’s has responded invoking his right to freedom of speech. “I have investigated a historical issue for a number of years and have presented by position on it”, he said.
The impact of the holodomor
The Holodomor killed as many as eight people in Ukraine in the 1930s, and its effects were generational. As a result, Ukraine population diminished considerably since many sought to emigrate to escape the genocide.
The student body representatives have called for McDonald to be fired.
Megan Brownlee for example, president of the U of A Ukrainian Students Society, said that his position as a lecturer gives him a platform to share his opinions.
“It’s the fact that he does have the ability to if he wants to”, she said. As a result, “We are concerned for the students in his class”, she concluded.
The Holodomor Memorial Day is set to pass on November 23, and there will be countless memorial services held all across the country to remember the terrible event.