Irma Kreiten
The Russian final subjugation of Northwestern Caucasus: Colonial Atrocities and European Responsibilities, Circassian Day in European Parliament: “A Day With Circassians. Federation of European Circassians & Cem Özdemir“, Brussels, 6 October 2008

Why should someone who is not a Circassian himself be interested in Circassian history? Isn’t the study of Circassian history and culture something quite exotic? Should – or could- such a field of knowledge not be left to specialists? I want to seize the opportunity of the Circassian Day in European Parliament in order to argue that, whether we are Circassians or not, Circassian history, and especially 19th century colonization, is something that should concern us all. As our historical pasts are intertwined, this means that, by learning about each other, we also learn something about ourselves.

In the case of the 19th-century atrocities committed against the Circassians, this learning may be rather disconcerting and painful. But, as I see it, this pain is both necessary and beneficial. It may help people in Europe to understand better the pain Circassians and other victims of colonization have felt and feel. We finally have to come to terms with the dark sides of our past.

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