In July 2017, the Greek Genocide Resource Center launched a petition to help raise awareness on the exclusion of Greeks from genocide recognition. The petition is still active and has received over 3,000 signatures. It can be viewed and signed here. A Spanish translation can be viewed here. The petition is aimed at Greek organizations both in Greece and abroad who fail to include all Greek victims of the genocide when calling for recognition. Although there are over 10 recipients on the petition, the major recipients of the petition are Greeks in Canada such as Conservative Senator Leo Housakos and the Canadian Hellenic Congress.
Over the past few decades, Greeks have made numerous attempts to recognize the genocide of native Greeks living in Ottoman Turkey between 1914-1923. More often than not, these groups have sought recognition for only one particular region (usually Pontus) and in the process, have excluded other Greeks from recognition and remembrance. Our petition has been created in the hope it will put an end to this act.
Genocide is the ultimate act of exclusion, subsequently it should be remembered in inclusive ways. While the reasons Greeks choose to seek recognition for one particular region and exclude other Greeks from recognition are complex, the fundamental act of excluding Greek Genocide victims from recognition needs to be addressed.
In 2007, the world's foremost experts on genocide, the International Association of Genocide Scholars officially affirmed the genocide of Greeks in Ottoman Turkey. The AIGS used the term 'Pontian and Anatolian' Greeks when describing the region/s in which Greeks were victims. Notwithstanding the fact that Pontus was a region within Anatolia, the recognition should have been a catalyst for including more Greeks in future recognition. But it wasn't.
In 2009, the South Australian Lower House condemned only the genocide of Pontian Greeks in a joint recognition (along with Armenians and Syrian Orthodox victims), while in 2010, the Swedish Parliament also only recognized the genocide of Pontian Greeks. It has become obvious that Greeks are ignoring the advice of genocide scholars and continuing with their policy of exclusion.
While research on the broader genocidal experience of Greeks has expanded, and while the Greek public is becoming more aware of the scope of the genocide, more needs to be done to raise awareness. But the problem of exclusion needs to be addressed. With that in mind, the Greek Genocide Resource Center has launched a petition urging all genocide advocates to sign. The petition makes the following demands:
- all future recognition must pay respects to all the Greek victims of the genocide, using terminology that does not divide the Greek victims based on region, and
- all future recognition must refer to the Greek victims as Greeks regardless of which region they were from.
For the sake of clarity and uniformity, the petition also asks, that:
- the genocide be referred to as a Greek Genocide, and strongly argues against giving the genocide multiple titles based on regions. A single title, used uniformly, is common practice when referring to a genocide, and is in line with other co-victims such as the Armenians and Assyrians, who refer to their genocide as an Armenian Genocide and Assyrian Genocide respectively.
One of the targets of the petition, is Canadian Senator Leo Housakos. In 2018, Senator Housakos presented a motion to the Canadian Senate seeking to only recognize the genocide of 353,000 Greek victims from Pontus and referred to the event as a 'Pontian Genocide[sic]'. Not surprisingly, the motion was rejected amid concerns of its lack of inclusion. Other recipients of the petition include Pontic organizations in Greece and abroad.
While the path to recognition for Greeks has been largely one of exclusion, it should be noted that there have been some inclusive recognitions. For example, in 2013, the New South Wales Legislative Assembly recognized the genocide of all Greek victims, regardless of region. While this recognition was impeccable in its wording, it has been the exception, rather than the norm.
Those who wish to sign the petition can do so here.