Event commemorates ‘brave’ Welsh journalist

By Alexandra Bánfi   |   Reporter   |
Tuesday 10th May 2022 5:30 am
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A WELSH journalist and Aberystwyth alumnus, who reported on the Holodomor in Ukraine, the mid 1930s tensions in Europe, and the rise of the Nazi Party, is being commemorated in a special event in the Senedd.

On 12 May, the National Library of Wales is holding a special event in the Senedd to mark the contribution of the Welsh journalist Gareth Jones.

Gareth Jones graduated from Aberystwyth University in 1926 and went on to expose the Ukraine famine of 1932-33, known as the Holodomor, as an act of genocide which killed seven to 10 million people.

His exposé on the famine in Ukraine, which was made deadlier by a series of political decrees and decisions, was based on his own eyewitness testimony after travelling in the region and revealed the scale and horror of the Holodomor to an international audience.

This event is being held to honour the contribution made by Gareth Jones to journalism and international affairs and to celebrate the conclusion of the digitisation of much of his archive held at the National Library of Wales.

Key to completing this digitisation project has been the generous financial support provided by the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America, Temerty Foundation, the Ukrainian Canadian Civil Liberties Foundation, the Holodomor Research and Education Consortium (HREC) and Russ and Karen Chelak.

Pedr ap Llwyd, chief executive and librarian at the library, said they were grateful for the “financial support” received to “digitise Gareth’s archive”, and owed a “great debt to Gareth’s family for depositing the papers” in the library.

Lubomyr Luciuk, Professor of Political Geography at the Royal Military College of Canada, added: “Gareth Jones paid with his life for being a truth-teller, one of the first journalists to break the story about the genocidal Great Famine of 1932-1933 in Soviet Ukraine, the Holodomor.

“This brave Welshman’s commitment to reporting on the horrors of what was happening, even as the Soviets, their fellow travellers, and even Western governments covered up the truth, needs to be remembered and hallowed, particularly at a time when Ukraine is again a victim of war, invasion and the genocidal agenda of Vladimir Putin and his KGB confederates.”

Oksana Lodziuk Krywulych, officer-at-large of the Ukrainian National Women’s League of America (UNWLA), said: “The Ukrainian nation owes a debt of gratitude to Gareth Jones, a great man, who was not afraid to accurately report on the horrors of the Holodomor. He deserves to be honored and remembered for documenting the truth when it was denied by many in the West. His reporting is especially telling today as Ukraine is once again suffering a genocide at the hands of the same perpetrator, while the world watches in real time.”

Sponsored by Mick Antoniw MS, the event will include presentations by Professor Lubomyr Luciuk and journalist Martin Shipton, together with readings of extracts from Gareth Jones’ diaries and letters by Julian Lewis Jones.

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