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Where there is no law, but every man does what is right in his own eyes, there is the least of real liberty
Henry M. Robert

75th anniversary of Mustafa Abdul-Jamil Dzhemilev

14 November, 2018 - 16:14

Today, all of Ukraine, together with the Crimean Tatar people, celebrates the 75th anniversary of the birth of Dzhemilev. On this anniversary day, President of Ukraine Petro Poroshenko presented Mustafa with one of the country's highest orders — the Order of Freedom — for his services in the struggle for the sovereignty of Ukraine, for developing democracy and defending human constitutional rights and freedoms. Since the restoration of Ukrainian independence, Dzhemilev has been repeatedly awarded both in Ukraine and in a number of other states. Indeed, the merits of Dzhemilev as one of the oldest political figures of Ukraine deserve the deep gratitude of the country: deputy of the Verkhovna Rada of Ukraine from 1994 to this day, Chairman of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people from the moment of its establishing until November 2013, government commissar for the Crimean Tatar people affairs, Ukraine’s representative on numerous international gatherings.

However, before the deputy’s chair, Mustafa’s life was completely different. At the age of six months, when he was still unable to speak or walk, he, along with all the Crimean Tatar people, was declared a dangerous state criminal and deported from his native Crimea to Uzbekistan to a “special settlement”. This austere euphemism in fact signified perpetual exile and deprivation of all civil rights. The communist "justice" did not leave Mustafa Dzhemilev without attention until the collapse of the communist system: prison terms (1966-1967, 1969-1972, 1974-1975, 1975-1976, and 1983-1986), an exile in Yakutia in 1979-1982, an expulsion from university and other extrajudicial prosecutions. However, the powerful totalitarian system could not brake the will of Mustafa, as well as will of the small, but proud and freedom-loving Crimean Tatar people.

The aforementioned more or less delineates the official biography of a public and political figure, but behind the meager words, there is a completely normal person — Safinar’s husband, father and grandfather. Often, the human side of public and political figures remains in the shadows, and yet in that personal life there are both joys and sorrows. Deported from the Crimea in 1944, Mustafa is again an exile today. The hypocritical occupational Russian authorities declared Dzhemilev persona non-grata, thereby closing up the possibility for him even to visit the Motherland. The ban on entry to Russia, which, violating all international norms annexed Crimea, also deprived the rights of the Dzhemilevs family to live together. I am sure that the Russian Empire is not eternal, that the hour is not far away when Russian invaders will have to liberate not only the Crimea, but also other enslaved territories, but today our hearts are bleeding and the tears of orphans and mothers of victims of anti-human invaders are as bitter as in the years of deportations.

For more than half a century my friendship with Mustafa binds us, and today I raise a glass for his health and wish both my friend and the entire Crimean Tatar people the speedy liberation of the Crimea and the restoration of autonomy in Ukraine.

In conclusion, I want to add that Mustafa undoubtedly deserves state honors and awards, but neve-the-less even without official awards Mustafa Abdul-Jamil Dzhemilev is a hero not only of the Crimean Tatar and Ukrainian people, but also of all of Humanity.

Andrew P. Grigorenko