National idea. Reboot.The national idea in the 20th century
What is a national idea? For the Crimean Tatars, a people who have been going through an almost incessant series of tests for several centuries, this question probably is more important than all the others. Where to move our people? What could be our guideline for further action? What decisions to take now so that our descendants live in a reality in which our ancestors did not have a chance to live? What in the end should we do?
If we take the post-export period of the 90s, the national idea and goal were clear and simple – to return to Crimea. In each family, love of country was almost the mainline of education. Yes, some “personalities” had thoughts that “the whole union is our own home,” but they can be attributed to statistical error (as well as those Crimean Tatars who have now become deputies in state bodies, for example).
The idea of returning to Crimea gave people strength and patience to work hard and keep their language, their culture, and their strength to realise it, day after day.
If we consider this idea from the outside, then everything in it was close to the ideal. First, it was supported by all the people. Secondly, it was fair and honest, which is important when it comes to the whole nation. Thirdly, it was simple and understandable to everyone: starting from a 5-year-old child born under the hot Asian sun who knew about gardens and valleys of a distant homeland only from stories, to a grey-haired older man storing memories of a paradise that he was stripped of. Fourthly, the future and the life of the people for many years to come depended on its successful implementation.
Such a national idea inspired people to struggle at difficult times, and when the opportunity arose to return to their homeland, the Crimean Tatars the deed of incredible complexity and courage – a whole nation withdrew from the place they had inhabited for more than 40 years and went into the unknown. To their homeland, where most of the people had never been and did not know.
When he returned, the Crimean Tatars found themselves in a position only slightly better than when all the people were deported. Lack of money, work, and land forced people to fight to live in their native land. A new national idea and a new movement have already formed here – to gain a foothold in the Crimea and re-restore everything that we have lost – houses, gardens, education, culture. But now in our homeland, in the Crimea.
This stimulus helped the people to reach the level of other Crimeans in a fairly short time, and in some aspects to step ahead. However, in the early 2000s, the question aroused what next? If everything was easy and clear with the return to the Crimea, now everything turned out to be much more complicated. The national autonomy of Ukraine, recorded in its earlier state, was incomprehensible and distant to many.
Search for national ideas and new challenges
The search for a national idea almost became the national idea. Also, as is often the case, there are many people with different suggestions. Someone was inclined to think that the main thing now is not to forget the language, others were talking about education, about the need to preserve traditions and not assimilate, etc. Nevertheless, none of these proposals, couldn’t take the place of a nationwide and motivated idea, despite being interesting and important.
We had a chance to find something that had eluded us for so long despite having found ourselves today in a situation when the pressure on our people was no longer limited to the oral form. Now, the Crimean Tatars, despite the pressure and persecution, have never been more collected and united, and now it is necessary to formulate what will become our national idea for the next years.
Yes, it is regrettable that we must be in a difficult situation to understand where to go, but this is the very condition without which national goal-setting is impossible. The cycle “difficult situation – a struggle – reaching a goal” has reached a new circle, and it is time for us to move from a state of confusion to a willingness to act and be strong.
What can become our national idea now, when the Mejlis, which has been working for more than 20 years, is methodically destroyed? How can we respond to the challenges that our people face? These questions require an answer and what I will write further, only the most obvious, but not necessarily the final decision.
National idea today
The formulation of the national idea today came naturally and repeated itself many times in conversations in tens of thousands of kitchens and bedrooms, in closed and not very circles, among scholars and ordinary people. We must save our people in this difficult time and become stronger in the Crimea. Someone may say that these are obvious things and the same was true 5, 10, or 20 years ago. However, then the confrontation of the system with us did not reach the extremes that we encountered today.
Several simple directions flow from this goal.
First, we must increase in quantity. There should be more, much more. As recent events show, in the world, it still matters who is stronger, and this is primarily determined by demography. In each family, parents should understand that the more children they grow up, the better their people will live in the future, the easier it will be for us to meet the next cataclysm. Yes, now it is difficult, yes, to raise a child you need a lot of money, but was it easier in the 40s in Central Asia or the 90s in a collapsing empire? Was there more money or opportunity then?
Secondly, we must live in the Crimea. Whatever it may cost us, no matter what the price is, we are not attracted to go where it is easier, richer or more beautiful. Crimea is our homeland, and every Crimean-Tatar who is outside of it makes our people weaker. Every time a young Crimean Tatar specialist leaves, we lose not only him, but we also lose his children, who, most likely, will not live in Crimea, we lose his brains, we lose his connections with other Crimean Tatars. No matter how hard it may seem now, no matter how sad the news may be, we must live here. This is our only opportunity not to dissolve and disappear.
Third, we must be richer. No matter how cynical and mercantile this may sound, money today determines a lot. We must be richer, we must be able to create large enterprises, and with them jobs for our people. We have to earn money to allow ourselves to open private Crimean Tatar schools and kindergartens, to print Crimean Tatar literature and help those Crimean Tatars who are in trouble. Yes, money is not the main thing, but with them, we will become much stronger. So in every family, along with the love for work, the desire to earn money should be instilled.
Fourth, we must support each other. To support those who are in need, those who are seriously ill, to support relatives and friends, friends, and acquaintances, to support every Crimean Tatar. Let it be manifested in something quite simple – to give a hand to a woman or buy potatoes in the market from a seller who responds to “selyam alaikum .” But we must understand that now we only have us, and if we do not support each other now, we will have no one to support in 5 years. We need to forget about the old grievances and think about what can cause us more grievances if we are not united.
These simple goals are to have more children, to live in the Crimea, to become richer, to support each other, understandable and accessible to everyone. We have remained virtually outside the political influence on what is happening around, but we have remained here, in our homeland. So we have no choice but to go forward, live, develop, and wait for better times, when, having become strong, we can have our say.