The speech of Martin Kochesoko in the Circassian conference in Poland


Conference in Warsaw:  "Khabze as the basis of the national identity of the Circassians". Martin Kochesoko 8.11.22

Dear participants of the conference!

 My name is Martin Kochesoko, I am the president of the Circassian public organization named «Khabze».

First, I want to thank the organizers of this event, the importance of which could hardly be overestimated. Thank you for the invitation and the opportunity to speak.

 We wanted to be present at the event itself, but since visa-related issues have not been resolved, we must speak online.

 The topic of my speech is "Khabze as the basis of the national identity of the Circassians."

We believe that the future of the Circassian nation can develop according to one of two scenarios.

The first is the continuation of the path that the Circassian national movement and the Circassian people are now following. This is the use of existing opportunities to work on the preservation of language, culture, and identity. This path will certainly lead us to assimilation and disappearance as a people.

The second is the application of all our efforts to reunite in our historical homeland - Circassia, with subsequent self-determination as an independent, free state. In this case, we will be able to revive and develop as a self-sufficient nation. The basis of this vision is the understanding of natural and human laws, which make it possible to realize that any organism that does not strive for its development and independence has no future and is doomed to extinction.

If we follow this logic, nature itself calls us to strive for our independence, to develop our originality, thereby making our contribution to the development of the entire human society. After all, it is known that the Circassians have such an experience when we developed, bringing to the world a lot of originality in its essence - in the field of culture, art, poetry, animal husbandry and crop production, in the field of moral and cultural self-organization. In particular, the ethical code of Khabze, developed by the Circassians over the centuries, is an integral worldview system that includes morality, ethics, law, and the order of relations with the outside world.

If you follow the works of Professor Bgazhnokov B., the principles, and attitudes of Adygag'e are humanity, respect, wisdom, courage, honor, etc. Basic values that are also closely related to them, such as readiness to act in the interests of another - khatyr, empathy - guscheggu, beneficence - psape, the ability (or art) of understanding - zeheshchyk, the art of being among people - tsihu hetyke, a sense of proportion - marde, the ethical immunity of the individual - tsykhum i namys, etc. All these principles are consistent with modern universal democratic values with all related attributes, such as protection human rights, freedom of the individual, freedom of the nation to self-determination, protection of a society with a widely developed local self-government and other things, were inherent in the Circassian society for a long time, while our people had the opportunity to defend their independence.

Given the current situation of the Circassians, who have undergone the most severe genocide by the Russian Empire, because of which 90% of our people are still in exile in different countries around the world, without the right to return to their historical homeland, a logical question arises: “What can significantly be contributed to the revival of our people?

For us, the answer is obvious. It is the factor by which our people were formed with all the accompanying attributes. It is freedom!

Freedom in Circassian society came from every individual. Every Circassian was a bearer of the value of freedom. It provided a widespread and very significant principle in the philosophy of Adygage - the principle of "shu zakue", which is translated literally from the Circassian language - a lonely horseman. This speaks of the meaning and status of the concept of "freedom", which was indulged by the Circassians to every person who positioned himself as a Circassian.

The principle of "shu zakue", as the apogee of personality development in the spiritual and moral system of Khabze, means that everyone is an independent and self-sufficient bearer of Circassian sovereignty. The legal system elevated the freedom of the individual to an absolute, and this was denoted by the formula "khuityr huitsch, aue ekure emykure" (literal translation "consolidated - free, but there are limits designated as "decency" and "indecency"). This implies that a free person is free in everything, but he must have an internal qualification that allows him to understand what is correct and fair, and what is not appropriate based on the context of what is happening.

There were no prisons in Circassia because freedom could not be taken away from a person. Free individuals, who themselves are the bearers of sovereignty and freedom, raised to the absolute, elevated the state freedom of Circassia to the absolute. History does not know such a long and irreconcilable confrontation for the freedom of one's country. And this is another proof that this is the highest value of the Circassians.

It was an all-encompassing desire for the freedom of the whole society. The Circassians lived for centuries, adhering to, and defending this highest value in every possible way, because of which we were able to form and live for centuries as a single organism in our historical homeland.

Accompanying all this, representative bodies of power built from the bottom up - the Khase (parliament) system, which was regulated by the principles of "Khabze", were widely developed in Circassia. The concept of "Khabze" included not only etiquette, moral values, but also all the norms of customary law that regulated the life of the Circassian throughout its entire duration. Khase's decisions were carried out by all Circassians unquestioningly, and their violation was considered unthinkable.

"Khabze" in Circassia was the qualification of the entire society from the commoner to its upper strata. That is, in Circassia, the rule of law stood above power. There were various types of class representative meetings "Khase", from certain like-minded people, residents of individual villages or districts to national congresses.

"Khase" was not competent to decide without the full collection and unanimity of all representatives. The unanimous decisions taken at such congresses supplemented or corrected the foundations of Khabze. From there, the phrase "Khabzer hasem shaubzyhu" (khabze is determined by khasa).

In addition to the Khase system, which had legislative power, Circassia was represented by clearly separated other, executive, and judicial branches of government. The composition of the judiciary, which was called "heyasche" (from the Circassian language - justifying, or bringing justice to life) was periodically elected, which ensured the independence and trust of society. As for the executive power, even during the period of feudal Circassia, the supreme princes were elected.

Also in Circassia, "freedom of speech" was thoroughly supported, which was the most important attribute of any democratic society. An illustrative example is the Dzheguakue Institute - folk professional specialists in the field of various kinds of arts, which manifested themselves mainly in labor, military, ritual, and festive spheres of folk life. It accompanied a person throughout his life, from birth to burial.

Dzheguako were strict guardians of public morality and the Khabze code. In songs, poems, witty remarks, they glorified valor and ridiculed vices. Their praise was sought, their censure was feared by everyone - from princes to serfs. You can probably say that in those days it was a kind of journalism or media.

Taken together, all this suggests that during independence, democratic institutions were widely developed in Circassia. And we are convinced that the people, formed as a free community, after having suffered a severe genocide and expulsion from their homeland, can be reborn on the same principles and institutions that they created, and the desire for reunification in their historical homeland with the subsequent restoration of their sovereignty is essential for the survival of the people.

Also, our people, in principle, like any other nation that has suffered a severe crisis, wants to survive and be reborn! And this can be given to us with freedom, the desire to regain an independent free country - Circassia. And we call on every Circassian, regardless of where he lives, to make every effort to do this, and we will be infinitely grateful to everyone who will help us and support us in this difficult journey.

Thank you for your attention!