NEW YORK – The flags of Greece and Pontus were raised on Friday, May 19, and waved alongside the Stars and Stripes at Bowling Green in Lower Manhattan for the continuing struggle to recognize the Genocide of Pontian Hellenism. Representatives of the Greek-American community and Pontian organizations attended the event and sent a clear message of resolve.
The commemoration of the 98th anniversary of the Genocide was organized by the Pan-Pontian Federation of the USA and Canada, the Pontic Associations, and the Holy Institution Panagia Soumela. Many Pontians of America and Canada attended as well as the Consul General of Greece in New York Konstantinos Koutras, Consul Manos Koubarakis, the President and Vice-President of the Hellenic Federation Petros Galatoulas and Vasilios Gournelos, respectively, the President of the Panthracian Union Orpheus- Ted Astrinidis, the veteran Basil Theodossakis, who heads the Memorial Committee for the Holocaust of Asia Minor, Lou Katsos, who represented AHEPA and the Hellenic American Chamber of Commerce, the former president of the Pan-Pontian Federation Elias Tsekerides, and other leading members of the community.
After the flag raising ceremony, the Greeks and the younger generation of the Pontians sang the national anthems.
The President of the Pan-Pontian Federation, Konstantinos Tsilfidis, welcomed the guests and noted the presence of “The National Herald journalists, who with dedication report our struggle.”
“We are united here to renew the promise that we will fight to restore historical truth, recognize the Genocide, and pay tribute to its victims,” said Tsilfidis.
Ted Astrinidis, President of the Panthracian Union Orpheus reported that the Genocide of the Christian populations began in 1908 with the Genocide of West Thrace and continued with the Genocide of Pontians and Ionia.
The President of the Pan-Pontian Youth Maria Kokkinidou noted that the younger generation of the Pontians is determined to continue the struggle for recognition of the Genocide.
Greetings were given by the President of the Federation of Hellenic Societies of Greater New York Petros Galatoulas, the President of the Holy Institution Panagia Soumela Dr. Charalambos Vasiliadis, the teacher Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou, the President of the Pontian Society Komninoi of New York Dimitris Molohidis and the former president of the Pontus Pontic Association of Connecticut Giorgos Tsilfidis.
The Greek Consul General in New York, Konstantinos Koutras, referred to the message of the President of the Hellenic Republic, Prokopis Pavlopoulos, and pointed out that “We do not forget this shameful crime against humanity.” Then he congratulated the organizers of the event and urged them to fight united for the common purpose.
The memorial events for the 98th anniversary of the Genocide were completed with a performance organized by the Pontian Society of Komninoi of New York in collaboration with Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou at the Archdiocesan Cultural Center in Astoria.