The speech of Michalis Charalambidis During the unveiling of the Pontian genocide Monument in Pennsylvania, United States of America, September 10, 2006.




In the mythical sphere, Pontos is evident through Promitheas, the Argonauts, Iason, the Amazons. According to the Greek believe regarding the creation of the world, Pontos is one of the basic elements of its creation.
In our historical world, it is evident through the Greek city-states, Sinope, Amisos, Trapesous, and Kerasous. The Mithridates kings of Pontos; especially Mithridates VI, the Eupator, erected a statue of Plato in the Academy, which the Great philosopher himself had established. The Komnini emperors of theTrapezous empire (1204-1461); the Ypsilanti Leaders of the Greek and Balkan revolution against the parasitic, feudal, Ottoman regime in the 19th century.

A new Democracy, in order to honor their ideals and struggles that which are in accordance with them, named one of its new cities after their names, the name Ypsilanti inMichigan. This democracy was the United States of America.
For thousands of years Pontos had not only been Financial and Commercial center but also a Cultural Center. The philosopher, Diogenis, the one who initiated the Term “cosmopolites”, where the word cosmopolitan derives from. The geographer and historian Stravon, and Bessarione, the one who rescued the classic Greek literature texts and books from the totaliterian Ottoman-Islamic brutality; the great patron of both the European and the Western Civilization, were all Pontians.

Pontos was a model of an harmonious relation between the natural and human architecture setting, among the nations, the civilizations, the peoples. This harmony was violently ceased by totalitarian ideologies. This historic cultural center was murdered and left to neglect and under development. This is what the OttomanTurkish occupation meant, the Sultanic regime, the most brutal regime ever existed in man kind history. However, the final stroke was given by the ideology of death, that of Kemalism stood and still stands for. Even nowdays, other peoples in Asia Minor experience this continuous genocidal racism.
Pontos today is full of ruins of churches, monasteries courtyards, palaces, Government houses, residences, tutorial institutions,villages, towns, castles which had been exceptional establishments, creations of the universal culture.
1. Greek Intellectual and Politician
If they had not been ravaged, they would have been more majestic than Tuscany,Vourgoundia, and Antalousia. Yet, the Sultanic Turkish Islam was much more different than the one in Antalousia. It was brutal and destructive. Nowhere else throughout the world do you encounter such a big number of monument ruins. In that area the Taliban had pre-existed from the time to time, eliminating both people and monuments, they had been supported by Europe and the Soviet. An immoral alliance.

Among those ruins today one can encounter the last guardians, the descendents of that civilization, who after centuries of totalitarian and racist typhoons, they insist on using a language which is the closest existing to the ancient Greek language. They are the numerous indigenous populations of those who were islamized as well as the Crypto-Christian Pontians who remained in Pontos.

Through the ruins one can identify the melancholic and at the same sweet-looking figures of little children, who being asked: “What is your father’s and mother’s name” ? (“Pos len ton kiris ke tin manas”) respond the way a child would have responded in the Homeric era: “the one hears to the name Aise, the other to moamet” (“eis Aise akoui, eis Moamet”). Homer in his verse would say: “He heard to the nameAchilles, Odisseas, Aiantas”. He does not use a structure saying that his name was Achilleas. The modern Turkish state denies the existence of such alanguage. This was the response of Altay Gengiger (2), the Turkish representative to the U.N. organization after our intervention to the Human Rights Commission (February 2002) concerning the rights of those who were Islamized and today still live in Pontos. He is abolishing instead of nourishing the language that constitutes the foundation of the Universal Cultural inheritance. The young children at school are being terrorized in order not to use this language. For over eight decades the crime of the Genocide that had been committed in Pontos by the Neo-Turks and the Kemalists, is still, due to geopolitical reasons, in process through the crime of silence.

“This should not bring any inconvenience to Turkey”

The cries of the survivors, almost half of the total population, were ceased. After Kemalism, those who survived escaping to Russia, had to deal with Stalinism. The Pontian refugees in Russia were displaced to Central Asia, the land of the Turks. It is a case of one of the biggest disruptions in history.
Yet we, the new generation of pontians, are children of the goddess Mnimosini (Memory), and the Muses. The ones who gave us the words Music, Museum, as the Metropolitan Museum.
During the last decades we have asserted the retrieval of our bonds with Mnimosini (Memory) and Muses, thus asserting our right to Memory.
As all the peoples who have undergone policies of violence, we have established aday to commemorate the Pontian Holocaust, the 19th of May.

It is an Honor for the State of New York, its governor George Patakis the recognition of this crime and his view coincidence with our memory (19th May, 2006). We now have a common memory regarding the totalitarian violence of the Islamic fundamentalism that the City of New York has experienced. Due to geopolitical reasons, our deads have been left with no monuments, no graves, since they parished during the death marches in the inner of Anatolia and Kurdistan, the Auschwitz and Maundhausen in flow.

However, today, on the 10th of September, 2006, there is agreat relief, particularly by the part of those who survived and managed to come to the United States of America, straight from Pontos, without even going through Greece. These people speak both Pontian and American.
This monument, the first in the United States,has special gravitas because it is created in a City with a name of which emits messages of an ideology of life, of friendship, and of brotherhood. This is what Philadelphia means in Greek.

Your City, through its very name, stands opposed to anyideology of death that is expressed by Nazism, Kemalism, Islamic totalitarian fundamentalism, an ideology which attributes a perspective of decline to Muslim world overall.
The Greeks and the Pontians, we are people who have known all of them; the Crusades and the HolyWars, the Nazis and the Kemalists. That is the reason why our word is the word of truth. The truth, the City (Polis) and democracy Demokratia), are the hope to all people, all cultures and religions.

With the gods of war all other gods will be killed. The gods have already abandoned Pontos in the period of 1916-1923. As the gods consider to leave , that if they did not already leave from Libanon, Israel, and Palestine. With “an eye for an eye” all people will get blind.

This City, Philadelphia, from its foundation as a capital of a new Democracy, has been identified with the ideals of life, Freedom, Independence, and Democracy.
That is why, it is of special significance to this City to recallin our memory two great humanists, diplomats, brothers (Philadelphous), friends of our right to life and of presence in our historic homeland, erecting two monuments in their memory. One monument in Athens and other in the United States of America. The Greeks, the Pontians, as well as the Armenians and the Assyrians were slow, and to this day, they did not erect monuments in memory of these two magnificent men. However, contemporary history brings back the memory and the paradigm of the two great American Diplomats, George Horton and Henry Morgenthau. They regarded ever since as hubris to soil the American Democracy with the Kemalist goulaks and the kemalist Auschwitz, as Devislik was in Pontos, South of Trapezous. It has been described by their contemporaries.

Both Diplomats were supporters of Life, human beings, all human beings, people all people. Because, apart from anything else, the people were and are the conductors, the subjects, the swallows of Democracy in that tragic and historicarea of Asia Minor Democracy is neither a Scylla of Kemalism nor a Charybdis of an easily manipulated , peculiar, destructive and violent Turkish Islam. Nor is the synthesis of the above the guilty Sphinx. The democratic, polycentric, Federated, Civil, and Administrative systems deter all totalitarian ideologies, and lead their peoples, all peoples independently of religion, and nationality, towards mutual respect, co-existence, and prosperity. This is what happened in Germany after Hitler, and in the Iberic peninsula after Franco. This should be done in Iraq. This is the people's need in Asia Minor and in Mesopotamia. We were much too alone and rather few in Greece and in Europe, when Sadam bombed with chemicals the indigenous historic people, the Kurds (Kartouchous of Xenophon); they are today, the national majority group in Asia Minor.

The quest of the true democracy is much more powerful and mature in Asia Minor. Decades ago I said that it constitutes the basic presupposition for stability, peace, development and prosperity in the wider region. However, the kemalist Apartheid is one thing and Democracy is another. Historically, Asia Minor, Ionia, is the birth place of Democracy both for Europeas well as for Asia. A fact which stems from history. All people of Asia Minor and Mesopotamia have a right to their own Renaissance and Democracy and therefore to Peace.

Paintings, historic figures, works of art referring to Pontos, are scattered and decorate nowdays many museums of Europe. I recently heard that in a church in Northern Italy, one can identify the face of Maria Komnini, a princess of Trapezous. She was the most beautiful woman in the 1.400 world. In the 18th century operettas were written in Europe praising her. The Pontians, however, they are not people of Museums. We are the most tragic part of Hellenism and of the European people. We have known all, totalitarianisms,Kemalism, Nazism, Fascism, and Stalinism.

We are continuously refugees

Nevertheless, we are a living people with flesh and blood,with a high degree of dignity and self respect. We are now more than we were after the genocide and the uprooting, scattered all over the world. Kemal did not solve the Pontian question through slaughtering , he failed. Pontos did not disappear from the face of the earth as he wanted. The Pontians who remained in Pontos are quite proud and happy to declare that they are Pontians. The same way as the Kurds declare that they are Kurds; and in this , Kemal has also failed.

An expression of this self-respect is this monument in Philadelphia, is the result of Dr.Vassilios Theosdoride's labours, a man with great soul and of impeccable moral conviction.

Thanks to you all, the American-Greek citizens will now have in Philadelphia the Ensign of their remembrance, their self-respect and their continuity. The same way that the Americans, the New Yorkers have got their monument, Ground Zero
Still, the state institutions of the United States, the Congress and the Senate, will be in full harmony with the heritage of the Cityof Philadelphia when they will recognize –as some other states already have-thesecond Genocide of the 20th century, The Pontian Genocide. They will also be in harmony with the values and the ideals that the two great men Horton and Morgenthau held, having deep knowledge of the region and a friendly attitude towards its peoples.

I personally, as a descendent of the survivors and of many more who were left unburied in the snowy mountains and the valleys of Anatolia, Pontos and Kurdistan, have a duty to contribute towards the attribution of the rightful for them position in the historic memory of our people. For, if Devislik had been avoided or condamned as they had claimed , not only there would have been no Auschwitz, but it would have put an end to this constant violence and death that has been overflowing and distorting for decades ouhistoric region. Asia Minor and Mesopotamia no longer accept this distortion and claim their authenticity.

2. Michalis Charalambidis “ The pontian Question Today”- “The Pontian Question in the U,N.” Ed. Stravon, Athens 2005.

Michalis Charalambidis

Stravonos 29

16674 Glifada



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