To the Editor:
Smyrna, the cosmopolitan, the aristocratic city, with its beautiful harbor and waterfront, with its imposing churches and high bell towers, with its famous taverns and musicians, the capital and the cradle of the civilization of Asia Minor, was burned, lost. Exactly 100 years ago, this city that never slept fell deathly silent.
Black clouds of smoke filled her. Yes, mother, Smyrna burned, turned to ashes within a few hours.
Among its inhabitants, the Greeks and Armenians paid a heavy price. They suffered atrocities, torture, rape, vandalism, displacement, executions.
Smyrna’s then-Archbishop and now Saint Chrysostomos suffered a martyr’s death. They handed him over to the furious Turkish mob that was waiting for him, and after pulling out his beard they slaughtered him.
Thirty-three years after the destruction of Smyrna, in 1955, with the similar methods, they uprooted almost the entire Greek population of Constantinople.
Fifty-two years later, in 1974 again, they uprooted the Greek-Cypriots from Kyrenia, Famagusta, and, generally, the northern part of Cyprus.
Today, 100 years after the destruction of Smyrna, official Turkish leaders daily question the Greekness of the Aegean islands and threaten to occupy them. They say they will come to us at night!
If we look back a bit in history, 200 years ago, Athanasios Diakos was skewered alive.
History repeats itself. The perpetrator is the same, the victim is the same, the atrocities, the rapes, the pillaging, the uprooting have no end.
Let this note be a sharpening of memory, a due memorial for the many victims of the Smyrna and Asia Minor Catastrophe. Along with memory and knowledge comes the promise itself: To the extent that we can, we should inform and sensitize everyone in order not to allow new massacres of people, pillaging, uprooting, burned homelands again. Not only for the Greeks but also for any other nationality.
P.S. Warm congratulations to the community of Zoodohos Peghe in the Bronx, and its presiding priest Rev. Economos Vasilios Louros, for the amazing event on the 100 years since the destruction of Smyrna.
And warm congratulations are also due to The National Herald for the historic insert tribute to Smyrna.