Once again, the memory of Pontus Greeks massacred in the Ottoman Empire during the period 1914-23 took precedence over other Greeks who were massacred during the same period. In a motion that was passed in the South Australian Lower House yesterday, the Greeks of Smyrna and Constantinople and other regions of the Empire, were placed in the category of 'other Christian minorities' event though their suffering was on par with that of the Pontus Greeks. This yet another example of how Pontus Greeks continue to put their suffering ahead of that of other Greeks, and in so doing, create confusion and division in the Greek community, and the world community at large.
As evident in the motion wording below, the Greeks of Thrace weren't mentioned. One would assume that the people who worded this motion are either oblivious to their suffering, or they deny that genocide occurred in that region.
The wording of the motion which was passed is another example of the division of Greeks on the issue of the genocide. The following is the motion in full as published on the ANC website .
THE MOTION IN FULL
That, whereas the genocide by the Ottoman state between 1915-1923 of Armenians, Hellenes, Syrian and other minorities in Asia Minor is one of the greatest crimes against humanity, the people of South Australia and this House -
(a) join the members of the Armenian-Australian, Pontian Greek-Australian and Syrian-Australian communities in honouring the memory of the innocent men, women and children who fell victim to the first modern genocide;
(b) condemns the genocide of the Armenians, Pontian Greeks, Syrian Orthodox and other Christian minorities, and all other acts of genocide as the ultimate act of racial, religious and cultural intolerance;
(c) recognises the importance of remembering and learning from such dark chapters in human history to ensure that such crimes against humanity are not allowed to be repeated;
(d) condemns and prevents all attempts to use the passage of time to deny or distort the historical truth of the genocide of the Armenians and other acts of genocide committed during this century;
(e) acknowledges the significant humanitarian contribution made by the people of South Australia to the victims and survivors of the Armenian Genocide and the Pontian Genocide; and
(f) calls on the Commonwealth Parliament officially to condemn the genocide.
Anomalies in the wording.
The motion states that 1915-1923 was the genocide period. In fact the genocide period was 1914-1923.
The use of the word Hellenes creates confusion. Hellenes are those who are living in, or are tied to the Hellenic state. The people massacred were in fact Ottoman Greeks. So is the motion telling us that Hellenic nationals perished in the Genocide?
Genocide in Asia Minor? The Genocide took place in the Ottoman Empire. By using the term Asia Minor, the Greeks of Thrace and those in other parts of the Empire are not recognised.
Paragraph (a) only allows Pontian Greek-Australians to honour the memory of the genocide. What about the other Greek-Australians who had relatives who were massacred in places such as Thrace, Constantinople and Smyrna? The use of the term Pontian Greek-Australians is also confusing. One would assume they are referring to Greek-Australians of Pontic heritage.
Paragraph (b) condemns the genocide of the Pontian Greeks and other Christian minorities. The other Christian minorities mentioned here includes the Greeks from Thrace, Smyrna, Constantinople and other Greek communities in the Ottoman Empire. They were persecuted on an equal par with the Pontus Greeks, yet their memory is placed last and in a different category.
Paragraph (e) acknowledges the humanitarian effort of South Australians towards the victims and survivors of the Pontian Genocide. One would highly doubt that South Australians only gave humanitarian relief to Pontus Greeks. Again relief to other Greeks is not mentioned.
This motion along with other resolutions and declarations which have passed in America in the past, shows that Pontus Greeks are using the genocide to highlight their own suffering. By placing other Greeks in categories such as 'other Christian minorities' is an anathema.
The motion which was passed yesterday was poorly worded and placed one group's suffering (the Pontus Greeks) ahead of other Greeks. It is by no means a reflection of the suffering of all Greeks and therefore Greeks should be disappointed. It's also another example of why the genocide of the Greeks of the Ottoman Empire should be internationally referred to as the Greek Genocide. With the use of this single term, Pontus Greeks would not be placing their suffering ahead of other Greeks as they have clearly done once again.
For more information on The Greek Genocide visit: