WASHINGTON, DC – Georgetown University Professor Ismini A. Lamb, Director of the Modern Greek Studies Program and biographer of U.S. CG George Horton, Genocide Eyewitness, shared with The National Herald on July 19 the following letter to the President of the Hellenic Republic Katerina Sakellaropoulou and Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, concerning the recognition of the Greek Genocide.
The text of the letter follows:
Dear Madam President and Mr Prime Minister,
As the authorized biographer of George Horton, the U.S. Consul in Smyrna and Salonica from 1911 to 1922, and most importantly, a reliable eyewitness of multiple genocides during that time period, I am writing to express my shock and frustration with Greece's precarious stance on the Greek Genocide. Over the last 12 months, the current Prime Minister and the former President have both publicly stated that Greece will only support the worldwide recognition for the genocide of the Greeks from the region of Pontus. However, the Greeks of Pontus weren't the only victims of the Greek Genocide. There were Greeks from many other regions who were also victims. Why then, is the Hellenic government only seeking worldwide recognition for the genocide of the Pontic Greeks? Not only is this illogical and ahistorical, it's also divisive and unfair on all the other Greek victims.
Madam President and Mr Prime Minister, between 1914-1923, large numbers of native Greeks in the Ottoman Empire were subjected to a systematic, state sponsored plan of eradication that many historians and modern genocide scholars have affirmed as an act of genocide. In 1998, the Hellenic Parliament passed Law Number 2645/1998 which recognized that Greeks throughout ALL of Asia Minor were victims of genocide. Why then, do you only support the worldwide recognition for the genocide in the region of Pontus?
Allow me to remind you that genocide is a heinous act perpetrated on an ethnic group. In the case of the Greek Genocide, all the victims were Greek, regardless of which region they lived. Seeking worldwide recognition only for the Greeks from one region sends the wrong message, a message of division. The Pontic Greeks were no more and no less Greek than any of the other Greek victims. I understand that the Pontic Lobby met with Mr. Mitsotakis in April 2019, three months before the Greek national elections, but I'd like to think that your decision to only seek recognition for the Pontic Greeks is not a result of this meeting. Genocide recognition should go to ALL THE VICTIMS of the Greek Genocide, not just the group that lobbies more vigorously.
May I also remind you that genocide is the ultimate act of exclusion, therefore remembrance and recognition should be done in an inclusive manner. We rely on our leaders to be strong and lead by example, for ALL GREEKS. We rely on our leaders to unite Greeks and not divide them into groups worthy of genocide recognition, and those not worthy.
I respectfully ask that you honor the historical record and reconsider your current policy on the recognition of the Greek Genocide. It behoves us all to promote a policy of unity, and healing, for the common good of the Greek people the world over! Indeed, all the Greek victims deserve recognition. Anything less is offensive, divisive and disrespectful to the sacrifice of ALL Greeks, everywhere!
With my outmost respect,
Prof. Ismini A. Lamb
Director, Modern Greek Studies Program
Biographer of U.S. CG George Horton, Genocide Eyewitness