A Message to the Annual Petrov Dien / Doukhobor Peace Day
by Koozma J. Tarasoff — June 29, 2006
Doukhobor Heritage Village, Verigin, Saskatchewan
Congratulations to all those gathered here for making your voice known about the importance of peace in the world today. As one of the first pacifists in the world, the 1895 heroic act of our ancestors in Tsarist Russia was a noble effort in speaking to the world about the need to get rid of wars and the institution of militarism once and for all.
It is indeed appropriate that you begin your celebration by commemorating Matvey Vasilevich Lebedev who on Easter Sunday in 1895 together with his ten friends refused military service and at gunpoint were arrested and severely persecuted. They were the brave ones who set an example for others in June to burn their guns.
Today the world military expenditure has reached an all-time high of $1.1 trillion (USD). That’s a huge amount that robs us the peoples of the world from enjoying the full fruits of life, good health, adequate housing, education, employment, a clean environment, and culture.
Let us rededicate our efforts to work for the creation of a non-killing society. That’s the civilized way. That’s the way of the future. The way to peace is peace!
From a fellow Spirit Wrestler,
Koozma J. Tarasoff
PS: Alexei M. Oslopov and I would like to thank the Kamsack, Canora, and Verigin Doukhobors for their warm hospitality during our recent visit to your area in May. You went out of your way to help us experience the pioneering locations that our ancestors settled in 1899. One of those areas was a visit to the Nadezhda Cemetery where Matvey Lebedev was buried. You also showed us that the tradition of hospitality is alive and well. Thank you very much. You may see some of these photos on my website: www.spirit-wrestlers.com.