On Monday October 7, 2019, a public hearing will take place at the Massachusetts State House regarding the proposed passage of an Act concerning genocide education (Bills H.566 and S. 327). The proposed Bills will only allow for the teaching of a "Pontian Greek Genocide[sic]" which means students will only be taught about the plight of the Pontic Greeks. We have drafted the letter below for the public to use to express their concern regarding these Bills.
Subject: Don't confuse the students. Pontic Greeks were not the only Greek victims.
Dear Senators and House Representatives,
I wish to express my concern regarding two proposed Bills on genocide education in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (see House Bill No.566 and Senate Bill No.327). In particular, I refer to the inclusion of the teaching of a "Pontian Greek Genocide".
Firstly, I wish to point out that the term "Pontian Greek Genocide"[sic] is loosely used to define the genocide of Greeks only in the region of Pontus. However, as genocide scholars and historians have affirmed, Greeks throughout Ottoman Turkey were victims of genocide between the years 1914-1923, not just Pontus. In 2007, the world's foremost experts on genocide, the International Association of Genocide Scholars (I.A.G.S) affirmed the genocide of Greeks throughout Asia Minor between 1914-1923 and referred to the crime as a Greek Genocide. States in the U.S including South Dakota (2015), Iowa (2016), Indiana (2017) and Alabama (2019) have since all formally recognized a Greek Genocide. As a result, why would we limit the teaching of genocide against Greeks to the single region of Pontus? It would be confusing to the students not to mention it being a distortion of the truth and offensive to the descendants of Greeks who were from other affected regions.
I therefore ask that the Massachusetts House and Senate omit the word "Pontian" from these Bills so that the curriculum allows for the education of the Greek Genocide. This would rightly conform with the affirmation of the world's foremost experts on genocide, as stated above. While I respect the noble actions of those who have sponsored these Bills, the education of the youth is paramount. Students deserve to be educated on the full extent of a genocide as researched and affirmed by scholars, not just the plight of a single regional group.
On the 30th of August 2019, the banner pictured above was unfurled at a UEFA sanctioned match between A.E.K Athens and Trabzonspor in Turkey. The words on the banner referenced the 1922 Smyrna Holocaust, an event which was one of the final acts of the Greek Genocide. Those who felt offended, humiliated or insulted by the banner are encouraged to read and send the protest letter below to both UEFA and FIFA using the contact information provided.
SAMPLE PROTEST LETTER
and write to FIFA via their contact form (don't forget to tick the "I'm not a robot" box)
Subject: Offensive banner at the AEK vs Trabzonspor match, 30 Aug 2019.
Dear UEFA and FIFA,
I refer to an incident at a UEFA Europa League match at Medical Park Stadium in Trabzon, Turkey on the 30th of August 2019 between A.E.K Athens and the Trabzonspor football club during which an offensive banner was unfurled by the home team spectators. The banner in question had the words 'CAN YOU SWIM?' emblazoned on it, words which were deliberately chosen to incite and mock fans of the opposing Greek team A.E.K Athens and all those affected by the 1922 Smyrna Holocaust.
The words on the banner referenced the final phase of the genocide of non-Turkish civilians in Turkey - Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians and others who were forced to frantically swim for their lives into the Smyrna (today İzmir) harbor in Turkey to avoid being killed by marauding Kemalist forces in September 1922. For at least two weeks during that fateful month, non-Turkish civilians living in Smyrna were subjected to rape, massacre and humiliation by nationalist Turkish forces. These acts coincided with the burning of the city of Smyrna to ashes, a city which prior to its destruction had a majority Greek population. Some sources cite the death toll at 100,000, mainly Greeks and Armenians. The 1922 Smyrna Holocaust is an event that Greeks commemorate each September with remembrance ceremonies worldwide. In 1998, the Greek Parliament assigned September 14 as a day of national mourning for the Greek Genocide and in particular for the loss of lives during the Smyrna Holocaust and throughout Turkey during the period 1914-1923. It is no coincidence, that the opposing Greek football team in the above-mentioned match, A.E.K (translated: Athletic Union of Constantinople) has its origins in Constantinople (today Istanbul, Turkey) and was formed in Greece in 1924 following the genocide.
The banner was a clear contravention of the following UEFA rules as stated in UEFA's Disciplinary Regulations (2017 Edition):
Article 16: ORDER AND SECURITY AT UEFA COMPETITION MATCHES, which explicitly states that national associations and clubs are liable for the inappropriate behavior on the part of their supporters. The article clearly prohibits: "the use of gestures, words, objects or any other means to transmit a provocative message that is not fit for a sports event, particularly provocative messages that are of a political, ideological, religious or offensive nature."
Article 11: GENERAL PRINCIPLES OF CONDUCT, which refers to "ethical conduct, loyalty, integrity and sportsmanship" of the sport and in particular states that disciplinary measures will be taken for those "whose conduct is insulting or otherwise violates the basic rules of decent conduct" and will discipline anyone "who uses sporting events for manifestations of a non-sporting nature."
Article 14: RACISM, OTHER DISCIPLINARY CONDUCT AND PROPAGANDA, which states that UEFA will discipline any person "who insults the human dignity of a person or group of persons on whatever grounds."
I also refer to FIFA's CODE OF ETHICS (2018 Edition) and clauses 22 and 23 in particular, which mentions the sanction of those who "offend the dignity or integrity of a country, private person or group of people through contemptuous, discriminatory or denigratory words or actions" and prohibits people to "not use offensive gestures and language in order to insult someone in any way or to incite others to hatred or violence."
I urge UEFA and FIFA to enforce these rules and to take immediate disciplinary action against the club in question and its national association. Sporting stadiums should not be venues for people to openly and freely insult others with impunity. This instance in particular, where descendants and victims of a genocide were mocked and insulted should be condemned in the strongest possible terms. Disciplinary measures including an apology by the offending team must be strongly considered.
Your in trust,
The New York Herald, 29 August 1921, p.3.
For the Associated Press.
AIDIN, Asia Minor, Aug. 10 (Delayed).
-One of the saddest and most tragic of all war memorials in the Near East is the ruined city of Aidin, sixty miles southeast of Smyrna. It is literally a vast sepulchre of the dead. Here hundreds of innocent Greek and Armenian women, children and priests lie in nameless graves, victims of massacres by Turks in the summer of 1919.
The broken columns of a thousand shattered homes are the mute witnesses of the martyrdom of the population. Although two years have passed since they were sacrificed, no tombstone, no cross, no wreath marks the place where they fell. Their whitening bones form a part of the crumbling masonry and earth. The silence of the place is oppressive.
The town presents an appalling spectacle of desolation and destruction, which has its counterpart only in the ruined cities of France. However, the people of Aidin were vouchsafed no chance of escape. They were brutally slain by the Turks when the Greek army had withdrawn. Many of the victims were burned to death.
Through the dark and debris-strewn alleys sombre women and girls in mourning move like spectres. All have lost relatives in the fearful massacre. Their faces tell a story of poignant suffering and anguish. Some of them have lost their reason.
Here is our last chance to convince the Ontarian Parliament in Canada to recognize ALL the victims of the Greek Genocide in Bill 97, and not just those from one region. Please cut and paste the following text in an email and send it to:
Jocelyn McCauley, the Committee Clerk of the Standing Committee on Justice Policy of the Ontario Parliament.
Subject: Bill 97.
Dear Ontario Parliament Standing Committee on Justice Policy,
Please recognize all the victims of the Greek Genocide in Bill 97. By recognising only a fraction of the Greek victims (ie. Pontian Greeks) you are not only distorting the historical record, you are also being hugely inconsiderate and extremely unkind to the descendants of Greek victims from other regions.
[Insert Your Name Here]
In 1994, the Hellenic Parliament passed Law 2193/1994 which designated May 19 as a "day of national mourning for the genocide of the Greeks of Pontus."
It's worth noting that in 1998 the Hellenic Parliament passed Law 2645/1998 which inaugurated September 14 as a day of national mourning for the genocide of all Greeks throughout the entire region of Asia Minor (including Pontus) which in effect was an amendment to the 1994 decision.
Source - Greece's Official Repository of Legislature
The perpetrators of the Greek Genocide were responsible for planning and executing the destruction of Greek communities during the genocide. They include members of the Committee of Union and Progress Party, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk and his nationalist supporters (Kemalists) as well as German military personnel.
A focus on some of the regions affected and other documentary evidence.