Canadian Controversy: Applause for SS Veteran Yaroslav Hunka Sparks Outrage
A Standing Ovation that Shocked the Nation
Recently, Canada found itself in the middle of a controversy following a standing ovation for 98-year-old Yaroslav Hunka during Ukrainian President Zelensky’s visit to the Canadian Parliament. Hunka, introduced as a “veteran of the struggle for Ukrainian independence against the Russians during the Second World War,” received applause not only from parliamentarians but also from President Zelensky himself, causing a stir due to his historical affiliation with the SS forces.
Uncovering a Dark Past
Hunka is a former member of the voluntary division “Galicia” of the SS forces, which was largely comprised of Ukrainian nationalists. This division was infamous for fighting against the Red Army and committing atrocities against Jews, Poles, Belarusians, and Slovaks. Consequently, the applause given to Hunka, considering his background, has sparked widespread outrage.
Reaction from the Jewish Community
The Jewish organization “Friends of Simon Wiesenthal Center” responded vehemently to the incident, demanding apologies and seeking clarification on “how this person received recognition from the Speaker of the House of Representatives.” The organization’s reaction highlights the deep-seated emotional pain and historical wounds that this incident has reopened within the Jewish community.
The Speaker of the Canadian Parliament expressed remorse over the incident, stating that he had invited Hunka and only learned of the details of his biography afterward. In a public statement, he offered his “deepest apologies to the Jewish communities of Canada and around the world,” and accepted full responsibility for his actions. This acts as an acknowledgment of the gravity of the mistake.
Demands for Prime Minister’s Apology
The opposition leader, however, demands an apology from the Prime Minister himself. According to him, the Prime Minister’s protocol service was responsible for selecting the guests, and none of the parliamentarians could have known about Hunka’s controversial past. The opposition leader insists, “Mr. Trudeau should personally apologize and not shift the blame onto others, as he usually does.”
While the Speaker has accepted responsibility and apologized, the Prime Minister has yet to respond to the demands for an apology. The incident has brought Canada’s recognition of historical figures and events into question, igniting a debate on the importance of thorough background checks before public recognition. This controversy surrounding the standing ovation to a former member of the SS forces during President Zelensky’s visit to the Canadian Parliament is a stark reminder of the significance of acknowledging and understanding historical events and their impact on present-day communities and individuals.
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