“The important thing is that we live in our homeland!” - that is what a lot of young and not so young Crimean Tatars say when asked how they feel about what is going on in Crimea now and what other Crimean Tatars, who were quite literally expelled from their homeland, are doing,” writes Nariman Jelyal on his Facebook page.
My question to them would be: "Is that it?". Do you think this is your ultimate achievement? An achievement that gives you the right to turn a blind eye to things happening around you or pretend you do not notice them? Just keep quiet and accept what is happening?
That is the luxury the older generation - people who have returned to their homeland - can afford. ‘Living in our homeland’ is their achievement. Many young Crimean Tatars did not even get to savor the bitter-sweet taste of returning to one’s homeland, while many were born here.
According to Nariman-bei, the majority of his colleagues and like-minded persons are from the older generation who do not want to be content with simply ‘living in their homeland’.
"They are the ones who did not just dream of living in one’s homeland, but living and achieving prosperity in a free Crimea. That is a future they meant for us.
Living in a homeland is our duty. It is our tribute to those who did not live to see their dream come true, to those who did not return, and to those who fought hard and gave us a homeland.
Living outside one’s homeland is a tragedy and pain. Rather than reproach, simply sympathize with such people. Help them deal with the pain.
Nariman Jelyal writes about a ‘new tradition’ Crimean Tatars have ‘adopted’ since the annexation of Crimea, the one that brought them on the brink of genocide in their own homeland.
“Hey, yashlar! You keep talking about the importance of our national traditions. But why in between wedding rites and debates about new trends in Crimean Tatar music do you keep forgetting about the traditions of our national movement, traditions of our people's struggle for the right to live in one’s homeland and be free to determine our own goals and achieve them?
"We just do what we can ... Our job is to ensure the survival of our people - their history, culture and life.” Are you sure THIS is what you’re supposed to do? Are you sure THIS is what our fathers and grandfathers wanted you to do? Don’t you think if our ancestors simply ‘did what they could’ we would still be living in exile? Don’t you think somebody out there wants us to reconcile ourselves to the idea and go on living accordingly? Don’t you think it's time you relieved your elders, who gave us the opportunity to ‘live in our homeland’, of this burden and bear it on your young shoulders?
Over the years, our people have adopted a lot of wonderful traditions, both happy and sad, including celebrating the Hydyrlez and climbing Chatyrdag.
For the last two years, I have been witnessing a new tradition emerging. I have been running around with friends and colleagues, helping people whose houses get searched, meeting people who I feel like spitting in the face for what they did and said, and painfully awaiting my fellow Crimean Tatars being given prison sentences.
These are the traditions I’m forced to observe today. DO JOIN ME IN OBSERVING THEM!” Nariman-bei concludes.