By dedicating Greek Independence Day Parades to only one group of Greek Genocide victims (the Pontic Greeks), Greek community leaders are sending the wrong message. Firstly, they send a message of (inferred) denial, that genocide did not happen in other regions of Asia Minor and Eastern Thrace, and secondly, that they have no sympathy or concern for the other Greek Genocide victims who were equally persecuted. Please email the following letter to show your disappointment at the way the Greek Genocide is being handled by Greek community leaders. The following letter is addressed to the organizers of the Melbourne Greek Independence Day Parade but can be used, with some modification, and addressed to organizers of similar parades in the diaspora.
Re: Dedicating Melbourne's Greek Independence Day Parade to ONLY ONE group of Greek Genocide Victims
I am writing to you regarding the Melbourne organizing committee's decision to dedicate the 2019 Greek Independence Day Parade to the "100 years from the genocide of the Pontic Greeks".
Firstly, can I say, that raising awareness and paying respects to the victims of the Greek Genocide is a welcome initiative, however it's quite disappointing that you'll be dedicating the parade to only one group of Greek victims. During the genocide, Greeks from various regions were persecuted, including Greeks from Eastern Thrace and the remainder of Asia Minor.
The second phase of the Greek Genocide, often referred to as the Kemalist phase, DID NOT only affect Pontic Greeks. The Kemalists persecuted Greeks throughout Ottoman Turkey. The Kemalist Nationalists did not differentiate between a Greek from say Pontus and a Greek from Ionia. All Greeks were persecuted equally, regardless of region. Pontic Greeks state that the Kemalist phase affected them. That's only partly true. The truth is, it affected all Greeks.
Since, the Greek Independence Day Parade is a celebration of Hellenism, I ask that in light of the historical record regarding the genocide, that the Parade be dedicated to ALL THE GREEK VICTIMS of the Greek Genocide, and for the genocide to be referred to, on the day, as a Greek Genocide (Γενοκτονία των Ελλήνων) and not a Pontian Genocide[sic] which is a term created and used by Pontic Greeks, and which regionalizes the genocide. Note that it's not common practice to name a genocide after only one region where it occurred.
Would it not be more inclusive and proper if Greeks dressed in Pontic costume were joined by Greeks dressed in Thracian attire and Asia Minor attire leading the parade?
I know that Pontic Greeks are proud people and passionate about the issue of the genocide. But a Greek Independence Day Parade should be a unifying experience for Greeks, not an event which puts the plight of one group of Greeks ahead of another.
In light of the above, I hope you will seriously reconsider your decision to dedicate the Parade to only one group of Greek Genocide victims.
We owe it to all the victims.
[Your Name Here]