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Russia's Sochi Olympics awakens Circassian anger
Little-known indigenous group bands together in months ahead of Games
On the surface, the Russian resort town of Sochi provides an ideal setting for the world to convene for the 2014 Olympics.
Its subtropical coastline on the Black Sea offers beautiful palm-lined seashores for the tourists — February temperatures should be in the 10 C range — while the nearby snow-covered mountains present an ideal staging ground for outdoor winter sports.
"But historically and politically, it's a loaded area," warns John Colarusso, a professor of humanities at McMaster University and a freqent writer on the language and culture of the Caucasus, the mountainous region between the Black and Caspian seas.
Indeed, as Russian authorities scramble to prepare Sochi for the Winter Games in 18 months time, a little-known indigenous group from the region is raising its voice in protest.
It turns out that the year 2014 is not just of Olympian importance. It is also a symbolic lightning rod for the Circassian diaspora.
The year marks the 150th anniversary of the mostly Muslim Circassians defeat and expulsion by the Russian empire from their homeland — the Sochi area — and the diaspora is intent on having its message heard.
"We don't want the Sochi Olympics to happen on our ancestors graves," argues Zack Barsik, a Circassian-American member of the Circassian Cultural Institute. "It's an injustice."
The New Jersey-based institute is spearheading a No Sochi 2014 campaign calling for a boycott of the Sochi Games. Circassians began protesting as soon as Putin presented the Sochi bid in 2007.
"Russians have handed the Circassians a silver tray upon which to air their grievances to the world," said Colarusso, a linguist who studies the North Caucusus and also served as backchannel adviser on the area for the U.S. during the Clinton administration.
"It's a genuine blunder on the part of Putin, I’m afraid. He’s otherwise fairly astute as rulers go."
Commonly called Circassians, they refer to themselves as Adyghes.
Circassians were indigenous to the northwestern region of the Caucasus mountains, now part of southern Russia and Georgia.
Ninety per cent of the estimated five to eight million population live in exile outside of Russia. Roughly four million Circassians live in Turkey. Hundreds of thousands live in Syria, Jordan, Egypt and Germany. Up to 400 reside in Canada, primarily in Toronto.
The Circassians were killed and expelled from their homeland by the Russian empire in 1864 after a decades-long war.
Source: Circassian Cultural Institute, McMaster University professor John Colarusso
domestic animals have no place running wild anywhere on earth. if they are without owners they should be captured and killed.
if they are with owners, they should be captured, and owners fined.
P.S. as a country we can't complain.. did you see what we did to stray dogs in Iraq and Afghanistan?
Yeah, it wasn't humane.
reply to post by violet
I would say it's already done. We are pretty close so watch "all dogs go to heaven" and shed your tear.
Also, if it's done humanely.. meh, what's the difference between them going to a pound and being euthanized and this?