Sochi Olympics and the Circassian Neo-Conservatism, by Sinar Sami Dishack‏

Circassian Center -- After decades of misfortunes and absence from the world’s cultural and political arena, once again, the old Circassian conservative politics threatens to undermine the contemporary viable opportunities in advancing Circassian national objectives in addition to the economic opportunities in the North Caucasus. The Sochi Olympics in 2014, when it was announced, thought to be embraced and celebrated among Circassians as a step stone towards achieving greater national objectives. Yet, quite astonishingly, the event was met with a fierce opposition by a vocal numbers of Circassians whether in the motherland or the Diaspora. The majority of those opponents perceive Sochi Olympics as a Russian conspiracy to diminish the Circassian identity of the land, where as others refuse any kind of rapprochement or cooperation with Russia without the full restoration of Circassian sovereignty over their historic lands.

The latest Protest against Sochi Olympics in Vancouver can be viewed in a various perspectives in accordance to the various strategies developed by different Circassians factions that is thought to better serve achieving our national objectives. Whether we do support the Sochi Olympics or not, is not the main issue here rather than the misleading propaganda and tactics that some Circassian organizations are deploying to draw the support of Circassians and the rest of the world. From a political perspective, It is legitimate to argue that someone has to utilize all given opportunities to advocate his claims especially when there is no real or vocal competitive in the arena, but doing so to the extent of presenting misleading facts and false claims of representing the majority of Circassians including the bulk of the Diaspora in Turkey is an alarming precedent in our Circassian national movement.  The Circassian participant and organizers of the protest in Vancouver did not exceed a handful figure, where the rest of the protestors where drawn on give and take backroom deal from members of other organizations protesting the Vancouver Olympics. No one can argue or dispute the tragedy and the misfortunes Circassians faced, however there is quite disagreement and controversy on the actual causes and the extent of involvement of each internal and foreign parties in this tragedy including Circassians themselves. Indeed there are quite vocal Circassians who appose the Sochi Olympics, but to claim that most Circassian in the Diaspora including the bulk of the Diaspora in Turkey are actually opposing the Sochi Olympics is quite misleading information. In fact the leading Circassian organizations in Turkey are not opposing the event, not mentioning that a large majority of Circassians in North Jersey are either neutral or perceive the Olympics as an opportunity to advance our Circassian national objective if it is to be utilized properly.  Moreover, exploiting the passionate youth without the intention of educating them but only to exploit their enthusiasm to advance certain agendas is considered a threshold towards radicalizing our youth. Like said before, it is quite legitimate to have different views or perspectives on how to better achieve our national objective and even being quite vocal in advocating it, but it is quite unfortunate to present half facts and misleading information to advance our agendas.

The rising concern among neoconservative Western trend’s over Russia’s exceeding power and its sphere of influence over energy transits is met with a relentless old cold war strategy to contain Russia. This strategy is evident in most US conservative politicians’ rhetoric’s and in the conservative media around all issues concerning and surrounding the region. The Sochi Olympics itself was protested by US conservative politicians during the last US presidential election campaign. Back then the opposition was on the ground of “Russia’s military aggression” against Georgia in the latest Georgian-Abkhaz conflict and the “breakaway” of Abkhazia’s from Georgia. Ironically, the same organizations that were and still associated and involved in delegitimizing Abkhazia’s separation from Georgia are the same ones who are provoking Circassians in restoring their national historic rights by planning and aiding in events directed against Russia such as the protest against Sochi Olympics in Vancouver. “A just demand aiming for wickedness” as stated by Imam Ali describing the Khawareg’s (Separatist) raised slogan “there is no rule but God’s rule” in opposing his attempt to negotiate with his rivals over the ruling legitimacy of the Islamic Empire, which he considered a justified demand but aiming towards wickedness by creating disorder and controversy.

If we consider such an event like Sochi Olympics accruing under different hypothetical circumstances of the region such as under “sovereign Circassia”, and let us then imagine the enormous welcoming of such an event among Circassian. Such an event will indeed bring great economic opportunities by luring foreign investments and capitals in addition to advancing and promoting local industries. It will also advance the infrastructure needed to support such an event. It will generally promote “Circassia” which will have a great impact on all various aspects of life whether it is cultural, political, economic, tourism, scientific, education, etc. Hence, we might all agree that the event it self has a great positive impact but the current political circumstances of the region makes such an event perceived negatively by Circassians.

Developing a strategy that considers reality on the ground along with a dynamic mechanism aiming towards maintaining and preserving our national objectives is the only viable strategy for Circassian to optimize their gains and limit the “negative repercussions” of events surrounding the region “including” events such as Sochi Olympics. On the other hand let us discuss our issues honestly instead of blaming the others to clear our conscious from lacking the will to carry out our duties and responsibilities toward our nation. One example I can think of is repatriation. How many Circassian organizations in the Diaspora “except for Turkey” are practically engaged in rational and practical effort to bring back Circassians to the mother land? We hear a lot of vocal Circassian pessimists accusing Russia from their ivory podiums in foreign countries and quite number of them are not even aware of the real situation on the ground or even have a conclusive idea of the actual impediments of repatriation whether within the Diaspora or in the mother land . I even doubt if the majority of those five star hotel’s opposition even bothered or feel it is necessary to visit the Caucasus and gather information on the ground. Does Circassians in the Diaspora have the intention to return to the mother land? Do they have the will to sacrifice their comfort and established life and return and build the Caucasus? Do they at least have a viable strategy to establish a foot ground in the Caucasus for their future generation to be able to make that decision? Do we at least have a conducted survey that indicates the actual impediment for repatriation within the Diaspora itself? It is easy to blame the Russians for every misfortune of our nation but the only one to blame is ourselves for the lack of commitment and beliefs in our cause. Our attachment to the Caucuses should deal with the current issues and the realities of the region and not limited to a sentimental attachment engulfed in the tales and pages of history.

Source: Circassian Center