Greek GenocideDenial and Remembrance
For Imediate Release: January 29, 2008
NEW YORK--One of the largest Pontian Greek Diaspora organizations, worldwide, the Pan-Pontian Federation of USA and CANADA, recently released a PROTEST RESOLUTION , with the scope of , according to Pontian Greek website, Pontos World , “firstly asking the PM not to pay respect to Mustafa Kemal’s tombstone, and secondly a letter of protest condemning him for his actions. Last week, during Greek PM Karamanlis’s visit to Turkey, the PM paid his respects to Mustafa Kemal by placing a wreath on his tombstone and signing his guestbook, an action which has deeply offended the descendants of the victims of the Greek Genocide, as well as the refugees which were forcefully uprooted from their homeland in the Lausanne Treaty exchange of populations between Greece and Turkey. “
A major world-wide Cypriot refugee association had this to say “It seems the Turkish lobby has picked up momentum and I fear the worst. Only last week the president of Greece, Karamanlis went to Turkey and commended Ataturk for being a great leader and a forward thinker. (a bit like the president of Israel saying the same about Hitler). When our only ally bows down to the Anglo American pressures that they are no doubt under, then I can see them selling Cyprus down the river.”
Turkey’s contempt for the many victimized peoples who lost their homelands to some six hundred years of ethnic cleansing, cultural and religious persecution and apparent continuing genocides is long and deep.
Much like the persecution and deep state execution of Armenian writer Hrant Dink this past year, Andreas Rompopoulos, Greek journalist and editor of the newspaper HXO, which is published for the Greek minority in Turkey, was brutally assaulted, just last month, by unidentified assailants in what EFJ (European Federation of Journalists) in a worldwide press release characterized as “the latest in a series of attacks against journalists by nationalistic elements in Turkey.”
The nationalistic elements in Turkey, resonate long and deep with our people who suffered in the death marches of the Pontic Greek genocide, culminating in the utter destruction, by Turkish nationalist leader Mustafa ‘Ataturk’ Kemal’s genocidal Turkish armies, of the legendary Greek Orthodox Christian city of Smyrna in 1922, now renamed Izmir by its genocidal occupiers.
Turkey has now entered its final phase of genocide against its minorities-- its state policy of genocide denial, deep state style executions and assaults, and cultural genocide of native populations, exists not only in today’s Turkish borders , but also , in its current illegal military-occupation of Cyprus.
We at CANA abhor the diminution of the suffering of innocent people.
Finally, we encourage all survivors and descendents of survivors of ethnic cleansing and Genocide, to stand up for justice, and FIGHT BACK!
1. The Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA) has made available a Hellenic language PDF flyer and an American English translation in text document, for download on its homepage (www.cyprusactionnetwork.org) for the PROTEST RESOLUTION from PAN-PONTIAN FEDERATION USA & CANADA, Please make sure to distribute this current protest flyer widely , to friends, family and comrades , in church and throughout the community especially in high visibility areas, and all over the internet.
2. Diamanda Galas, internationally reknowned composer of the legendary song cycle on the Pontic Greek Genocides on the Smyrna Massacre and related Holocausts, titled “Defixiones; Will and Testament” has just recently alerted us to the following news release on the Hrant Dink Commemoration in London,just following the Pontian PROTEST RESOLUTION, which we are pleased to circulate and distribute to the community.
25 January 2008
Honorable Prime Minister,
With a difference of eight years the same offensive action of paying tribute to and placing a wreath at the tomb of Kemal Ataturk, was repeated. Following G. Papandreou, you too also honored the Turkish leader that in his effort to frame a modern Turkish state and create a new secular society in his country, dissolved the once almighty Ottoman empire murdering, between a lot of other programmed measures, brutality and interventions, the members of each powerful or organized religious or national minority community.
Your action brutally offends the historical memory of all hundreds of thousands of victims of Kemalist brutality - our fathers and grandfathers - that revolted, fought and sacrificed for Pontos and other areas of Asia Minor for the ultimate values we cherish in the dark years 1914-1924. It also offends the memory of the victims that followed in Constantinople, Cyprus, and other regions under Turkish control that are all victims of the same disgusting, expansive and chauvinistic spirit, that explodes by provocative sparks and betrayal in order to impose it with arms, violence, pillage and the vileness, supposed freedom, supposed justice, supposed equality and peaceful living together between the living.
In the visitors book of the mausoleum you wrote that "Kemal Ataturk along with the Eleutherio Venizelo had the political courage, the will and the perspicacity to leave conflicts and tragedies of the past from becoming obstacles in the efforts to construct a better future of peace and collaboration for the benefit of both populations". What better future of peace and collaboration did this brave initiative build, Mr. Prime Minister? Perhaps the pogrom and the deportations against the Hellenism of Constantinople, the intervention and occupation of Cyprus, the missing persons of Cyprus, the fiasco of Imia, the daily chase in Greek waters of Aegean, the daily trespasses of our air space, the grey zones in part of the Aegean, the weakening of our Ecumenical Patriarchate, the restriction of each elementary form of freedom in Turkey or their shameless propaganda for the Moslem Hellenic population of Thrace?
Mr. Prime Minister, they expelled us in ‘22 from our ancestral lands and we obeyed because we believed that our homeland would embrace us. We experienced the prosfygia (refugees), marginalization, and hunger. We experienced wars and civil war. We were not disappointed however. We worked hard and catalytically contributed in the refinement of our homeland. All admit it, experts and not. This is “divine stubbornness” of the Pontians that imposes on us to maintain and to display, to support and to promote everything Hellenic, everything Orthodox, everything that is right, everything national. Thus we maintained 3000 years of Hellenism and 2000 Orthodoxy in places initially uninviting and barbaric which we transformed however into inviting and holy, in cradles of learning, arts and sciences, in places of culture and prosperity. We also accomplish the same today. However, for over eighty years we live isolated and marginalized in our own homeland. We know what it means to say national loneliness, marginalization and isolation. We are always second class citizens regardless of the big and thick words of all you politicians. “Trantellines” (30 times a Hellene) and “heroic Akrites (guardians)” is how you characterize us. "Holy figures" is how a former minister of yours referred to us, and he meant it. Words without meaning and irresponsible. Reality brings it all down all. They are destroyed by each attribution of honor towards Kemal. They are extinguished by the dishonor against the 353,000 innocent victims of Kemal. Are you aware that the Hellenic Parliament has recognized this genocide? Or was it simply an action for "internal consumption"?
Mr. Prime Minister, we the Pontian inhabitants of the USA and Canada are a “product” of “blessed immigration” (according to a former Greek Prime Minister and intellectual!) that in the little free time and with the limited resources that we have serve with particular effort, modesty and humbly, with dignity and with respect Orthodoxy, Hellenism, the church and our birthplace. We do not claim anything from our homeland. We simply offer without profit and unselfishly. Roughly one month ago the Pontic Hellenism of the USA and Canada achieved a high objective: the recognition with official resolution from the International Union of Academicians on subjects of Genocide (International Association of Genocide Scholars, IAGS) the genocide against the Pontian inhabitants and the other Greeks of Asia Minor. We realized with sorrow that this important event did not move anyone.
Mr. Prime Minister, research in Greece shows that the citizens disdain politicians. We know of one reason. We are experiencing it. It is because the politicians offend and trivialize their citizens. They offend and trivialize historical memories. They offend and trivialize the memories and the national struggles of our fathers and grandfathers. You offended and trivialize us, Mr. Prime Minister and it is a heavy shame. Can we cultivate unity and concord when we sow dispute and offence? What mutation is required for such a thing? Isn't this action on your part one more grave marker for our constant demand for internationalization and recognition of the genocide that Pontic Hellenism suffered? How are we to claim recognition of the genocide when a former Prime Minister proposes the Hitler of the Pontos inhabitants, Kemal Ataturk, for the Nobel of Peace and leading political executives, as a former minister of Foreign Affairs and the current Prime Minister they honor his memory?
The Pan Pontian Federation of the USA and Canada dispatched to you a letter on January 11 in order to not engage in this act, even if to you are under pressure by protocol. You have declared recently that “history cannot be re-written”, but this time you placed the fragile groundwork in the frames of your efforts for more harmonious relations between the two nations. We desire and we seek harmonious relations, peace and collaboration, specifically between neighboring populations that are “condemned” to live together, regardless of their big and diachronic national, religious, social and cultural differences. This peace however should be based on fairness and on the reciprocal respect and not be founded, haphazardly, shoddy and precariously, in the offence, in the unilateral oblivion, in oppression, in the partition and in the humiliation. Mr. Prime Minister, our forefathers did not fight and sacrifice in order for us to have the right... to offend and to minimize something holiest - their memory.
For the Administrative Council of (Pan-Pontian) Federation
The President, Michalis Mouratidis
The General Secretary, Demetrios Molochidis
(Posting date 30 January 2008)
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