Appeal of Eskender Bariiev to the Crimean Tatar people due to the the epidemic of coronavirus

March 25, 2020

Appeal of a member of Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, Head of the Board of the Crimean Tatar Resource Center Eskender Bariiev to the Crimean Tatar people due to the the epidemic of coronavirus

Dear compatriots!

Like a phoenix our nation has been rising from the ashes over and over again. We fought for the return to our homeland, for the happy future of our children, for the revival of our native language and religion, for the right to live in our native land.

The Crimean Tatar people became a persecuted minority in their homeland, as a result of a deliberate policy of genocide after the annexation of Crimea by Russia in 1783, and over the past 100 years the Crimean Tatar people suffered famine, dispossession, deportation, unfortunately these policies continue once again after the occupation of Crimea by Russia in 2014.

For 6 years we have been tested, our homeland is occupied, and repressions are being carried out against our people.

Unfortunately, our people, as well as the whole world, have a new challenge – the coronavirus, which can seriously change our understanding of everyday life, socialization and interaction with others – all this is being tested like never before.

Of course, in such a situation, each of us is concerned, we are wondering what will happen next. Today I am addressing you in such an unusual way.

Let me put it this way: everything is serious. And you, too, must take it seriously.

Speaking about the epidemic – intensive research is underway all over the world, but so far there is no therapy against coronavirus or any vaccine.

So far, only one thing can be done: to slow the spread of the virus, thus gaining time so that scientists can develop a medicine and a vaccine.

We do not have our own statehood and, respectively, our own healthcare system. Most of our people live in the homeland, but in the occupied Crimea, where the healthcare system is weak and the occupation authorities, like a miserable copy of the communist regime of the Soviet Union, not only hide the true situation, but spend holidays where thousands of people gather.

I want to remind you of the Chornobyl tragedy, when not only the true information about the explosions at the nuclear power plant was hidden from people, but they were brought to parades, which were a direct threat to their lives.

We have no one to rely on, except for ourselves. Most likely, Crimean hospitals will be completely overloaded if many patients with a severe form of coronavirus infection are delivered to them in a short time.

It can be someone's father or grandfather, mother or grandmother, partner or friend. We are a small nation, for which every life, every person is important.

We are faced with one task – to prevent the spread of the virus among our people.

In carrying out this task, we must – and this is vitally important – focus on the following: limit social life as much as possible.

Everything that can threaten people, everything that can harm a person or people, we must limit for now.

We must reduce the risk of every single person getting infected by another person.

I know how difficult it is for our people, who have always survived due to unification, preserving our traditions and customs, supporting each other at weddings, funerals, duas, hashars and rallies.

But now, for the preservation of our people, time constraints are important: no events, no concerts, no classes at schools and universities, the lives of children are important for us, and they will gain knowledge later, no games in kindergarten and playgrounds, temporarily close the cafes and restaurants, your life and the lives of your employees and loved ones are more important than the money you can earn, cancel weddings and postpone them to a later date, because our weddings are massive: hundreds of your relatives, friends and their relatives can get infected, make Friday prayers at home, limit the number of people on the Dua, at the Janazah (funeral), keep a distance to other people of at least one and a half meters.

I know how harsh these restrictions are. Such restrictions may not have applied to our people since the deportation period.

I know that among you there will be critics of my appeal, they will begin to discuss me, possibly ridicule me, but I consider it important to warn, protect and preserve our people.

Let me assure you: a person like me who has limited freedom of movement can only justify such restrictions if absolutely necessary.

The preservation of our people solely depends on our understanding, discipline and respect for each other and, all these restrictions can be introduced only on a very serious basis and only temporarily – but now they are necessary to save lives, save the people.

I am sure that in the near future there will be an appeal to the Crimean Tatar people by our leader Mustafa Dzhemilev and the  Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar People Refat Chubarov.

Let me remind you that we do not have our own statehood and we can take care of ourselves only through preserving our national identity and responsibility, as our fathers and grandfathers did when they fought for survival in a foreign land and were returning to their homeland.

The threat to the people will be great if we do not use the most effective means against the spread of the virus quick enough.

We must help each other. First of all, by taking the problem seriously. Not by succumbing panic, but also not by the overwhelming indifference.

The epidemic showed us how vulnerable and how dependent on the careful behavior of others we are. Only through joint actions can we protect and support each other.

It depends on everyone. We are not doomed and should not watch distantly how the virus spreads. We have means against it: we must protect each other and keep our distance. The advice of virologists is unequivocal: no more handshakes, thoroughly and often wash your hands, maintain a distance to at least one and a half meters to other people, and it is best to stop contacting elder people, because they are in the greatest danger.

I know how hard it is to comply with these requirements. It is in difficult times that we want to be closer to each other.

Care for us has always been manifested in close contact and touch. But, unfortunately, it is now more correct to adhere to the opposite. And we all must understand: now it is distance that is a manifestation of concern.

Going to someone with good intentions can lead to infection, and now it is advisable to abstain from such visits. Experts justifiably say: grandchildren should not meet with grandparents now.

Those who avoid unnecessary meetings help everyone. So we save lives. It will be difficult for many, and therefore now we should not leave anyone alone, we should take care of those who need empathy and support.

Use many creative ways to counter the virus and its social effects.

Let the grandchildren record videos for grandparents so that they do not feel lonely. Communicate via Skype, cellphone, Facebook, Viber, Telegram, WhatsApp and other social platforms.

Follow the rules for the near future.

We are a small but free nation. We do not live by coercion, but by common knowledge and solidarity. This is a historical task, and it can only be dealt with jointly.

I am sure that we will overcome this crisis, but how great will be the sacrifice? How many of our loved ones will we lose? It most depends on us.

We can act decisively and jointly.

We can accept limitations and support each other.

The situation is serious. It would be extremely erratic of us to underestimate it.

Take care of yourself and your loved ones.