On Friday (Dec. 3), I spoke very briefly with a group of middle-aged Crimean Tatar men standing at Maidan - I spotted them by their flags.
They're taking turns coming to Kyiv, and there're always from 200 to 300 of them here. As I wrote earlier, Mustafa Jemilev, their leader, had been here, as well as his wife, Safinar Jemileva. The visits of the common folk are being paid for by the Crimean Tatar businessmen.
All of them returned from Central Asia relatively early, in the late 1980s; one was a member of the Crimean Tatar Mejlis: he talked about their close ties with the Ukrainian People's Movement and the Ukrainian People's Party (and hence with Yushchenko's Our Ukraine bloc), and then he invited my colleague and me for plov at the People's Party office (plov is rice with lamb cooked on open fire in a large cast iron bowl - here's a recipe: a useless thing, in my opinion, because the real plov comes with the right people and the atmosphere, not just with the right ingredients and procedure).
"Here," he said, pointing at the man with their flag. "Here, this is our cook. We've brought him with us."
My colleague and I couldn't accept the invitation, unfortunately.
I thanked them in Crimean Tatar (the word, [saghol], is also one of the Turkish 'thank you' words) and then recited part of Tarkan's song, Dudu, that I know by heart in Turkish - most of it, except for most of the translation. Crimean Tatars understand Turkish, so they supplied me with the meaning of one word from the song: true love [ashk]. (I did know that one, of course.)
While we stood there talking, a Ukrainian man came up and asked if these were the Crimean Tatar flags. Then he told the Crimean Tatars that he admired their people and supported their plight.
Later that afternoon, I ran into Al-Jazeera's Akram Khuzam again, and this time I found courage to approach him and ask if they were doing anything on where the Crimean Tatars stood in this election. No, he said, but back in 1997, he did a documentary about Crimean Tatars, which won some kind of a golden award (I didn't catch what it was exactly because at that moment everyone was anxiously awaiting the Supreme Court's decision - and I was getting more and more nervous to think clearly)...