Every public mention of the outstanding scholars, one of the first researchers of Holodomor of 1932-33, talented journalist James Ernest Mace activates national memory and conscience of Ukrainian people and also urges the post-genocidal society (according to Mace’s definition) for a discussion on the need for deep reconsideration and analysis of tragic episodes of Ukrainian history of the 20th century.
A good example of this was the event dedicated to outstanding Ukrainian and American scholar, journalist, and public figure James Mace organized by the National Museum “Memorial to the Victims of Holodomors in Ukraine” on February 12. According to museum employees, they chose the date and the place for the meeting not by chance: a formal pretext was the tenth anniversary of Mace’s speech in the Parliament of Ukraine during the hearing on the issue of recognition of the Holodomor in Ukraine as genocide, which took place on February 12, 2003. Then seriously ill Mace came to the podium and gave a very passionate speech. He proposed to continue the efforts for recognition the Holodomor as genocide of the Ukrainian people by the international community and suggested to lit candles in the windows each year in honor of victims of this tragedy.
Film lecture planned by the museum workers included, first of all, the public screening of the documentary film James Mace – Heart Dedicated to Ukraine made by the Television and Radio Company “Kultura” in 2012. However, the magnitude of Mace did not make it possible to have a simple film screening. The invited guests, including Professor Stanislav KULCHYTSKY, who knew Mace personally, researcher’s widow Natalia Dziubenko-MACE, and also winners of James Mace Prize Oleksandr PALII and Ihor SIUNDIUKOV together with museum workers introduced the heritage of the American scholar, who devoted his life to Ukraine, to the students of Mykhailo Drahomanov National Pedagogical University and National University Kyiv Mohyla Academy. Students intrigued by the figure of Mace did not just come to the event but were listening attentively to the speakers. But, unfortunately, they were not ready for a debate.
“I remember the great respect with which the People’s Deputies of Ukraine were listening to the report by James Mace during parliamentary hearings 10 years ago. They understood perfectly who was standing before them and listened carefully to what he had to say, being aware of his role in uncovering this issue,” said Stanislav KULCHYTSKY during his speech. “The topic of Holodomor has burnt into our national genes, becoming a part of the national memory. Mace did not just open our eyes to the scale of the tragedy, but, in fact, showed with his conception how we should live on. Frankly speaking, he had very little chance to show the world the scale of the famine in Ukraine that was hushed for so long. But with meticulous analysis of scientific creations of Ukrainian scholars, who were forced to talk about it without calling a spade a spade, with folklore mentions and foreign publications of historians made it possible. Of course, he also relied on the accounts of the eyewitnesses. He analyzed a few hundreds of such accounts and published his books based on them. We still don’t know a lot of what Mace wrote. His manuscripts require detailed analysis and publication. And we will work on it.”
Speech of scholar’s wife Natalia DZIUBENKO-MACE was especially emotional and expressive. She said that Mace liked students a lot and always tried to write his articles in simple and clear language so that it would be clear primarily for young people.
“I would like to give all young people who try to understand the complex topic of Holodomors a piece of advice – read Mace’s works. He was able to write about this topic with genuine sincerity, wit, ease, and even irony. Most of his articles are addressed to young people. Mace put his greatest hopes in the young and educated people. Last year we celebrated Mace’s 60th birth anniversary. I was very worried that nobody would remember about it, except for the newspaper Den’ that always remembers him. There were many publications in press where James was named ‘Holodomor dreamer.’ Intellectual looters are destroying not only his name but also the national memory of Ukrainian people. Today’s event is proof of that the memory of him and his academic and journalistic legacy present a great value for the society.”
After watching a documentary about Mace, the participants stayed a bit longer. In a relaxed and sincere atmosphere they recalled bright scenes from Mace’s life, his speeches, publication. They also spoke about the fact that Mace showed us how we can make the Holodomor (the tragic episode of Ukraine’s history) a huge mobilizing factor that unties the nation.
However, most of the students, for whom the event was organized in the first place, did not hear this already. Right after the film ended the young people went home.
“It was interesting to learn about such outstanding person as James Mace. I understood his tremendous contribution to the study of the Holodomor, but I cannot stay for the discussion because I have to go,” said one of the students leaving the museum.