“Hostages of the Occupation”: Enver Bekirov, activist (photo)

September 10, 2020

The occupation of Crimea in 2014 dramatically changed the life of the Bekirov family. Their pro-Ukrainian position and insecurity of family members became the main reason for the departure of the spouses with their seven-month-old son from the occupied peninsula. On April 1, 2014, they arrived at Lviv railway station. A new chapter of life began. In our material within the framework of the “Hostages of the Occupation” project, you may read more about the further fate of the Bekirov family, about social activities in Crimea and Lviv, about the motivation and faith to return back home.

Prior to the occupation of Crimea, the man participated in the Revolution of Dignity, and later, when the invader came to the Crimean land, together with his compatriots recorded the movement of Russian military equipment on the peninsula, assisted the Ukrainian military and organized peaceful protests. Could such activity of a pro-Ukrainian activist be left without any “attention”? Of course not. At first there were threats. And then Enver was beaten by the representatives of the so-called Crimean self-defense. The man confesses that only casual passers-by saved him from the worse.

In Lviv, the family started a new life. Enver says they are fortunate to have been sheltered by a large family from Lviv, with whom they have lived the whole year. Subsequently, the man himself will become a host for hundreds of IDPs from Crimea and Donbas…

“During this time, we became one family and learned a lot about each other through simple life. We are very grateful to them. Perhaps it was due to their support from the first days of my stay in Lviv that I was able to take my part in the process of receiving and resettling IDPs from Crimea and Donbas. This is how the first operational headquarters for IDP assistance came into being”, – Mr Bekirov claims.

He later joined the delivery of humanitarian цsupplies for volunteers to the ATO area, the rotation of military personnel and the evacuation of civilians in the winter of 2014-2015.

Today, Mr Bekirov is still involved in community service. His wife became interested in Crimean Tatar applied arts in Lviv, and now draws national ornaments with henna.

The activist, together with his compatriots and other IDPs, tries to represent Crimean Tatar culture, customs, livelihood, organize memorial events and support the issue of Crimea on the agenda.

“Who if not me? My people – it’s me. My country – it’s me. At least I will not be ashamed of standing idly by”, – explains Mr Bekirov.

The man believes that soon he will be able to return home and dreams to spend his later years under cypress trees among his grandchildren in free Crimea.

​Project manager: Zarema Bariieva
Author of pictures: Elvir Sagirman
Text writer: Elvir Sagirman
Translation into English: Zarema Bariieva

We remind that on February 26 in Kyiv, the presentation of the album and the exhibition “Hostages of the Occupation” took place, which tell us about the fate of 20 Crimean Tatar families after the annexation of the peninsula. On March 10, the exhibition opened in Vinnytsia. The exhibition is expected to be presented in Lviv and Dnipro as well.

The project was prepared by the Crimean Tatar Resource Center with the support of the Democracy Grants Program of the US Embassy to Ukraine.