On the day of the 155th anniversary of the forced eviction of the mountain peoples of the Caucasus, representatives of the WAC laid flowers at the monument to the victims of the Caucasian war in Sukhum and distributed commemorative “Ashamaka” ribbons in Abkhazia and Turkey.
A delegation of the World Abaza Congress honored the memory of the victims of the Caucasian War and the forced eviction of the mountain peoples of the Caucasus, laying flowers and wreaths at the monument on the Makhadzhir’s Embankment in Sukhum on Tuesday, May 21.
The Executive Secretary of the WAC Inar Gitsba noted that participation in commemorative events of the anniversary of the end of the Caucasian War once again “testifies to the desire to maintain and pass on to next generations the importance of preserving historical memory, as well as to create additional prerequisites for the consolidation of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora of the whole world.”
Mussa Ekzekov, Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC, sent his appeal to the representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza ethnic group on that day.
“I appeal to you on the occasion of the 155th anniversary of the tragedy of the Abkhaz-Abaza, Ubykh, Adyg and other fraternal Caucasian peoples who were forced to move to foreign lands, as a result of which the descendants of our ancestors are scattered in more than fifty countries around the world. We cherish the memory of those tragic events, and this memory should help us in building a brighter future for new generations,” he said.
Ekzekov noted that all members of the Congress “are united by concern for the fate of our people and the desire to be useful to their historical homeland.”
“The activities of the WAC are aimed, first of all, at strengthening the ethnocultural unity of the Abkhaz-Abaza and Ubykh peoples, promoting their socio-economic and cultural development, restoring and increasing kinship, expanding and strengthening the ties of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora with their historic homeland,” he highlighted.
In honor of the 155th anniversary of the Caucasian War, the Congress initiated and conducted on this day the “Ashamaka” action (the name of the commemoration ritual candle - ed.), which was held in the towns of Abkhazia and among the representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in Turkey. More than a thousand ribbons of memory depicting the Abkhaz ritual memorial candle “Ashamaka” were distributed to all who share the feeling of grief for the victims of the Caucasian War.
In Abkhazia, ribbons were distributed by members of the Congress during the traditional “bonfire of memory”, or “the Nart’s bonfire” - a memorial event on the Makhadzhir’s Embankment in the same place, at the memorial to the victims of the Caucasian War.
According to Inar Gitsba, the action will be annual. The WAC Executive Secretary expressed the hope that the commemorative ribbon “Ashamaka” will become “a symbol of the memory of those who fell in times of horror for the peoples of the Caucasus”.
Repatriates from the Republic of Turkey took part in the commemorative events. So, Sureya Chaha, a repatriate of Ubykh origin from Turkey, came that day to commemorate her ancestors who were victims of these tragic events of the 19th century. She believes that “participation in such events is of great importance for all representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza ethnic group.”
“It is important to remember those cruel years when Abkhaz were forcibly evicted from their native land. We should not allow ourselves or new generations to forget about these dates,” she noted.
In Turkey, representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora, headed by the Plenipotentiary Representative of Abkhazia in Turkey, Vadim Kharaziya, also honored the memory of the victims of the Caucasian War in the Abkhaz village of Turkey, Babala, which is considered to be the first refuge of IDPs from Abkhazia.
Representatives of the diaspora enthusiastically supported the action of “Ashamaka” and fixed the memory ribbon on the chest in solidarity with compatriots in Abkhazia and around the world.
The memory of the victims of the Caucasian War was also honored in the Kabardino-Balkarian Republic. Hundreds of representatives of the autonomous non-profit organization "Abaza", the non-profit organization "Alashara" and full members of the WAC went to the rally with flags. The public of the Karchay-Circassian Republic commemorated the victims of the Caucasian War with a rally at the monument to the victims of the Caucasian War in Cherkessk.
The memory of the victims of the Caucasian War is celebrated annually on May 21. On this day, in 1864, a military parade was held in honor of the end of the half-century Caucasian War, which deprived hundreds of thousands of people of their historic homeland forever in the Kbaad boundary (the present-day Krasnaya Polyana in Russia - ed.). Entire families, people moved to the Ottoman Empire, and from there life scattered them around the world.