PM Inaugurates Museum Exhibition Focusing on Asia Minor Greeks


Prime Minister Costas Karamanlis on Monday inaugurated the renewed exhibition of the Filio Haidemenou Museum of Asia Minor Hellenism, which is contained within the Andreas G. Papandreou World Cultural Foundation of Diaspora Hellenism in the historic Nea Philadelphia district of west Athens.

Exhibited in the museum are 500 of the 1,500 objects and photographs belonging to a fraction of the multitudes of ethnic Greeks expelled from Asia Minor after 1922, collected by 108-year-old Filio Haidemenou, who was unable to attend Monday's ceremony due to ill health.

In his speech, the prime minister stressed that the opening honoured Haidemenou, noting that she was a woman that symbolised Asia Minor's Greeks, while he wished her a speedy recovery.

He said the museum was a place to remember and learn the story of Asia Minor Greeks and that the artifacts on display were a testimony to the folklore and history of the millennia-old presence of Greeks in that region of the world.

"It bears witness to the sacrifices of Greek men and women that lost their lives in the horror of war. It bears witness to the struggle of the refugees that managed to rise out of the ashes, to take root and prosper in new countries and to make a decisive contribution to the prosperity of our country and our society," he added.

Preserving and studying historical truth was the only way to learn from the past and avoid continually repeating the same mistakes, Karamanlis noted.

"We want our country to be a factor for peace and stability, democracy and prosperity for all the surrounding region. We seek to establish relations of close cooperation with all our neighbours and support their European course. We want all nations and all peoples in the region to enjoy the privileges that come from European Union membership," Karamanlis told the gathering.

At the same time, he stressed that its was absolutely clear that being a part of Europe meant having rights as well as obligations and demanded absolute respect for human rights, international law and treaties.

After the opening, the prime minister was given a guided tour of the exhibition and later visited Haidemenou at a nearby hospital where she is currently being treated.



(Posting date 4 April 2007)

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