WAC opened a new regional office in Belgium as part of a working visit of the Congress delegation to Western Europe these days.

The regional branch of the World Abaza Congress was created in the Kingdom of Belgium on December 13 in accordance with the order of the Chairman of the Supreme Council of the WAC Mussa Ekzekov as part of a working visit of the Congress delegation to the countries of the European Union. The delegation included the Executive Secretary of the WAC Inar Gitsba, the member of the Supreme Council Viacheslav Chirikba and the head of the Web Information portal Amina Lazba.

One of the main tasks of the current visit to European countries, where representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora live, is precisely to create regional branches of the WAC there, said Viacheslav Chirikba, the member of the Supreme Council of the WAC.

“The creation of a network of regional offices of the organization in Western Europe is one of the important directions of the activities of the WAC [now].  And although in Belgium there is not such a large Diaspora as, for example, in the Netherlands and, especially, in Germany, nevertheless, there are Abkhaz families in Brussels, Ghent, Antwerp and other places of the country.  The task ahead is to unite them and include them in the sphere of activity of the Congress,” Chirikba told about the current plans of the organization.

The member of the Supreme Council of the WAC noted the main areas of Congress activity in the region.

“This is, firstly, the unification of the Abkhaz and the Abaza of Belgium, the strengthening of ties within their community, so that its members have the opportunity to regularly communicate, hold joint meetings, evenings, and other events.  Secondly, it is strengthening ties with the homeland.  Finally, the WAC could contribute to the implementation of a number of cultural and educational projects initiated by community members aimed at supporting the native language and culture,” Chirikba concluded.

Daur Lomia, the son of a well-known Abkhaz poet and political figure, who has been the Secretary General of the IAAAP (now the WAC) Gennady Alamia, has become the head of the newly created regional branch of the Congress in Belgium.

Daur Lomia has been living in Western Europe for more than 10 years: in Austria, the Netherlands and Belgium.

“The opening of the regional branch of the WAC in Belgium is, of course, an extremely positive event for all Abkhaz and Abaza living in this region.  Belgium is located in the center of Europe, in fact, it is the capital of the European Union, which is important from a political point of view.  The largest structures of the European Union are located in Brussels - the European Parliament, the headquarters of the European Union, the secretariat of the Benelux countries,” said the newly elected Chairman of the Congress regional office.

He believes that the representation of the WAC in the Kingdom of Belgium will contribute to the development of contacts in various fields with those who want to learn more about Abkhazia, its people and culture.

“I think that establishing contacts with compatriots in Western Europe, in particular in Belgium, will contribute to the implementation of not only cultural projects, but also projects in such areas as education, tourism and commerce,” said Lomia.

 Commenting on the appointment of the head of the WAC regional office in Belgium, Viacheslav Chirikba drew attention to the fact that it was Daur Lomia’s father who was at the origins of the creation of the World Abaza Congress, and now his son continues this business.  Such continuity can only be welcomed, Chirikba is confident.

“I had heard a lot of positive things about Daur before. I must say that our meeting confirmed these words.  He is a well-educated young man, fluent in his native language, fluent in foreign languages, a professional manager, which will be very important for the successful work of Daur as the head of the regional branch of the WAC in Belgium.  I sincerely wish him success in this important area for our country,” said the member of the WAC delegation.

Ozkan Tarba, one of the participants of the I Congress of the Abkhaz-Abaza people in October 1992, came to meet with compatriots in Brussels.  A few days earlier, he also attended a similar meeting in Dutch Rotterdam.  Ozkan Tarba is a descendant of the natives of the region of historical Abkhazia, Akhchypsy (now Krasnaya Polyana - ed.).  Like other compatriots, he cares about the fate of the Abkhaz people, the preservation of the language and traditions of the ethnic group.

He expressed the opinion that national customs have largely survived to this day thanks to the most joyful and saddest events in the lives of families belonging to the people.

“It seems to me that our traditions have largely been preserved thanks to weddings and funerals - here in Europe, in Abkhazia.  In Turkey, [Abkhaz] wedding traditions are more authentic, in contrast to funeral rituals that adopted Muslim traditions, which did not happen in Abkhazia. Weddings and funerals are what have brought us together for many centuries, wherever we are.  It is such meetings that help us to preserve an integral part of our culture - our language,” said Tarba.

He said that he was born in Turkey, more than 40 years ago he moved to Western Europe, he first came to Abkhazia in adulthood and since then regularly visits his home.

 “I can’t take the credit for speaking the Abkhaz language and following the traditions of our people, it is all thanks to my parents, grandfathers and grandmothers.  In our moral code of Apsuara there is that very force that is transmitted from generation to generation. Therefore, what what we will be able to pass on to the young generation is what we will be able to save,” he said.

As a participant in the first congress of the Abkhaz-Abaza people, Ozkan Tarba gladly shared his memories of the day when the Congress was created.

 “I remember well the difficult military conditions in which the Congress was established.  I was on that day, October 8, 1992, in the village of Lykhny.  We had a completely different spirit, a different attitude, we became one in an effort to preserve ourselves, to preserve our people, we were all ready to die for freedom.  Our best representatives in an unequal struggle, in every sense of this word, laid their heads for this freedom, and now our main task is to preserve it,” said Tarba.

Another participant in the Belgian meeting, Alaaddin Kupalba, has been living in Amsterdam for over 40 years.  He also attended meetings of the Congress with representatives of the Abkhaz-Abaza Diaspora in both Rotterdam and Brussels.

“It is very nice to see our compatriots from Abkhazia here in Europe.  For us it is a great joy.  I'd like to hope that all plans of the Congress will be successfully implemented.  This is our great common cause, useful to us all, in Abkhazia and beyond.  Most importantly, the Congress will help strengthen ties among the younger generation - this is our future.  The more young representatives of our people around the world will communicate with each other, the more chances we have to save ourselves,” he said.

Meetings with compatriots in Western Europe and the opening of regional offices in these countries are held according to the plan of the WAC as part of its international activities for 2019. The newly created regional branch of the WAC in the Kingdom of Belgium became the third in Europe after the offices in the UK and the Netherlands.