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Fri Aug 23, 2019, 06:51 AM

Today is the European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism / Black Ribbon Day

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_Day_of_Remembrance_for_Victims_of_Stalinism_and_Nazism

European Day of Remembrance for Victims of Stalinism and Nazism, also known as Black Ribbon Day in some countries, is an international day of remembrance for victims of totalitarian regimes, specifically Stalinism, communism, Nazism and fascism. It is observed on 23 August and symbolizes the rejection of "extremism, intolerance and oppression".

It was designated by the European Parliament in 2008/2009 as "a Europe-wide Day of Remembrance for the victims of all totalitarian and authoritarian regimes, to be commemorated with dignity and impartiality", and has been observed annually by the bodies of the European Union since 2009. The European Parliament's 2009 resolution on European conscience and totalitarianism, co-sponsored by the European People's Party, the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, The Greens–European Free Alliance, and the Union for Europe of the Nations, called for its implementation in all of Europe. The establishment of 23 August as an international remembrance day for victims of totalitarianism was also supported by the 2009 Vilnius Declaration of the OSCE Parliamentary Assembly.

23 August was chosen to coincide with the date of the signing of the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact, a 1939 non-aggression pact between the USSR and Nazi Germany which contained a protocol dividing Romania, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia, and Finland into designated German and Soviet spheres of influence. The treaty was described by the European Parliament's president Jerzy Buzek in 2010 as "the collusion of the two worst forms of totalitarianism in the history of humanity." The remembrance day originated in protests held in western cities against Soviet crimes and occupation in the 1980s, initiated by Canadian refugees from countries occupied by the Soviet Union. The protests culminated in The Baltic Way, a major demonstration during the Revolutions of 1989 that contributed to the liberation of the Baltic states.

The purpose of the Day of Remembrance is to preserve the memory of the victims of mass deportations and exterminations, while promoting democratic values with the aim to reinforce peace and stability in Europe.

23 August is also officially recognized by Canada and the United States, where it is known as Black Ribbon Day.

Historical background
Both the date of 23 August as a remembrance day and the name "Black Ribbon Day" originated in demonstrations held in western countries in the 1980s, organised mostly by refugees from countries occupied by the Soviet Union,[citation needed] to bring attention to Soviet war crimes and human rights violations, and to protest against the Molotov–Ribbentrop Pact. On 23 August 1986, Black Ribbon Day demonstrations were held in 21 western cities including New York City, Ottawa, London, Stockholm, Seattle, Los Angeles, Perth, Australia and Washington DC. The demonstrations were initiated by Canada's Central and Eastern European communities.

In 1987, Black Ribbon Day protests spread to the Baltic countries, culminating in the Baltic Way in 1989, a historic event during the revolutions of 1989, in which two million people joined their hands to form a human chain, to protest against the continued Soviet occupation.

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