The Flipside

Controversial issues concerning the Circassians


If you feel strongly about any of the subjects discussed here, send a note to the e-mail address <> and your opinion will be published as it is without any kind of censorship (the names could also be withheld). The opinions expressed here are not necessarily condoned by the editor of these pages, nor are they representative of his own opinions.

Why are Circassian culture and folklore so inaccessible to Circassians themselves, let alone non-Circassians?

Points to consider:


Twelve stars for twelve Circassian nation-tribes (Inspired by

 The twelve Circassian (Adiga, Apswa, Ubykh) nation-tribes on the Sanzhaq Shareef (Turkic-Arabic name of Circassian banner!!) are:

  1. Kabardians
  2. Beslanay
  3. Temirgoi
  4. Bzhedugh
  5. Abzakh
  6. Shapsugh
  7. Zhana or Zhanin
  8. Mokhosh
  9. Nartkhuaj (or Natukhaj)
  10. Hatuqwey
  11. Mamxegh
  12. Ubykh

Other references add the Abaza, Abkhaz and Yejerqwey (and remove Mamxegh, Zhana and Mokhosh). So we need someone to dig deeper into this and try to find some documentary evidence as to exactly which tribes signed the union agreement.

Other Adiga nation-tribes: Yejerqwey, Tchelugay, Hakuch (sub-group of the Shapsugh), X'imisch, Cherchenay, Vepsne, Adamey (Adaley), Khegaki (Shegaki). Many of the nation-tribes have nominally (and physically) disappeared. The following tribes were exterminated in the Circassian-Russian War and aftermath: the Mex'wesh (Mokhosh), Natix'wey (Nartkhuaj), Zhane (Zhana), and Ubykh. Other tribes not mentioned are sub-groups of larger nation-tribes or foreign appellations of (e.g. Adeley).

I personally think that the Circassians should at least reconsider the status of the flag and whether it should remain as a national insignia.

What's in a name?! Are we a nation of hybrid onomastics (read 'bastardly names')?

I'll start with myself, as self-criticism would go a long way towards absorbing possible offense engendered by the issue. My name is an Arabic-Circassian hybrid. The first names of my forefathers (at least up to the 6th ancestor) were Arabic (although some of them had dual first names: Circassian and Arabic). Generally, in Syria and Jordan the Circassians have kept their original surnames but use mainly Arabic forms for their first names.

In Circassia we have a situation in which the official surnames of Circassians are Russified. Given that many of the first names used by the Circassians in the Caucasus are of non-Circassian origin, the onomastical situation looks very pathetic indeed. I have also noticed that even when they go outside the Caucasus, the Circassians from the Caucasus still use the Russified forms of their surnames (shock, horror!!!).

Now we turn our attention to the situation in Turkey. The surnames of all Circassians had been systematically eliminated by the Turkish authorities to turn the Circassians into 'good' Turks. It is stunning how a (purportedly) proud and ancient nation (ancestors of the Circassians, or related peoples -the Hattians-, had a homeland in present-day central Turkey thousands of years ago) has taken all this humiliation without any (open) expression of protest. Let us restore our onomastic heritage and revert back to our own culture. Let's choose Circassian names for our offspring. A list of (pure) Circassian first names is available here. Is it extreme to talk about 'born-again' Circassians? Many Circassian youth around the world are going through an identity crisis, and pretty little is being done to help them out in their quest for answers and info.

Editor: I would have chosen 'Amisch' for my first name, had I been my father.


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