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.