To: The Right Honourable Grand Chief
Sir Michael Somare
Prime Minister of Papua New Guinea
Pot Mosbi, Tok Pisin
Dear Mr. Prime Minister,
Kindly disregard the racist reference to the Papuan people made on April 15 by the current Minister of Education and Science of Ukraine, Mr. Dmitri Tabachnik.*
His supremacist views are not shared by the Ukrainian people. In fact, Mr. Tabachnik, whose name stems from the Russian word for tobacco, is more Homo Sovieticus than anything. His derogatory views of aboriginals are based on a Soviet imperialist mindset, one that he propagates in Ukraine today.
Unfortunately, Mr. Tabachnik promotes discriminatory policies against indigenous peoples. In Ukraine he actively denigrates the native population by portraying the native language, culture and history as second rate while introducing apartheid-like policies that favour the language, culture and historical narrative of the former imperial power and nomenklatura class whose bloody rule took the lives of millions of our fellow countrymen last century.
For example, Mr. Tabachnik is undertaking the rewriting of history textbooks to replace the term “Second World War” with the Soviet-only phrase “Great Patriotic War.” In this way, he seeks not only to downplay the contribution countries like Canada made in the defeat of Nazi Germany, but the sacrifices the brave warriors of New Guinea and Papua made to defeat Japanese fascism. (Hold on a second, were the Japanese “fascists” too?). An “anti-tobacco” campaign has been launched in Ukraine to prevent this revisionism to the detriment of our and your people, but its success can only be ensured through our coordinated and consolidated efforts.
Declaring Mr. Tabachnik persona non grata in New Guinea will not do much as his travel is limited mostly to Moscow. Should he decide to come, please don’t be fooled by his claim of having a Ph. D. as purchasing one in Ukraine is easy as 1-2-3 without actually having to know your a-b-cs. You should also ensure extra protection for all your archives because Mr. Tabachnik has been known to have sticky fingers when he covets rare historical documents.
Mr. Prime Minister! Mr. Tabachnik and his ilk will not be in power forever in Ukraine. But if he decides to flee to your country please take note of his antipapuanism and xenophobia. They have no place in free and democratic countries!
Please be assured that the freedom-loving Ukrainian people support the freedom-loving Papuan people in all your efforts! We hope you will support the Anti-Tobacco movement in Ukraine!
Glory to Papua New Guinea! Glory to Your Heroes!
Cc: US State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor
* In an interview with the UNIAN news agency on April 15, Tabachnik said that Ukraine is a “Papuan country” because 28 “central organs” of executive government have higher educational institutions in Ukraine. See http://unian.net/ukr/news/news-372497.html A quick survey of Internet information on the education system of Papua New Guinea showed that there is nothing terribly wrong with that country's system.