On Sunday, 23 September, in a show of solidarity with the Circassians of Syria, Circassian communities around the world coordinated a series of events designed to demonstrate their support.
In some communities, events took the shape of public rallies. Other communities held small ceremonies to commemorate the historical and on-going plight of Circassians in Syria.
While all events were globally coordinated, each event was unique to the particular realities in which each local Circassian community lives. Efforts to mobilize were undertaken in Russia, Israel, Australia, the Republic of Abkhazia and the United States.
The Circassian community of the United States pursued a course of action unique to its own recent history. It is a little-known fact that the vast majority of Circassians in the United States found their way to that country following the Seven Day War of 1967. After the Soviet Union was unwilling to allow displaced Circassians into their ethnic homelands (presently part of the Russian Federation), the United States provided safe haven to Circassians of Syria.
Owing to this unique relationship, the Circassian community of the United States rallied support to deliver a petition to US elected officials requesting the following:
- Humanitarian aid assistance for those Circassians who remain in Syria
- International support for those Circassians in Syria wishing to repatriate to Russia
- Assistance helping Circassians in Syria relocate to Circassian communities outside of Russia
Over 300 Circassians signed this petition, and the Circassian community of the United States is waiting to see what next steps will follow.
(We should note that on March 18, the Circassians of the United States met with the office of US Senator Bob Menendez to open this line of communication. Immediately following this meeting, Senator Menendez, who sits on the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, worked to get the Obama administration to issue a directive allowing all citizens of Syria presently in the United States to remain in the country until hostilities in Syria are resolved. This directive affects several dozen displaced Circassians of Syrian citizenship presently in the United States.)