19 May 2014

Pontian Remembrance Day

I have been looking into my family history for a while now. It is linked to many of the great themes of our time: the movement and displacement of people, and the notion of home and of belonging. My parents are the children of refugees and I am the child of migrants. No one has belonged securely to a place since my great grandparents' time.
The more I learn about the murder and exodus of Christian Greeks, like my grandparents, from Anatolia or Asia Minor (modern day Turkey), the more my stomach turns. (There is a wealth of evidence for the Turks' crimes against humanity, including newspaper articles from the time from around the world, with headlines such as "Turks' Insane Savagery", "10,000 Greeks Dead" and "More Turkish Atrocities".)
Today I reflect on how lucky all four of my grandparents were to get out alive. They left their homeland, a place Greeks had lived in for thousands of years, and made new lives for themselves in mainland Greece. In the next generation, my parents left Greece for Australia. Their plan was to work for a few years, make some money and return "home". Almost 60 years later, here we all are in Australia: children, grandchildren and my amazing parents Sophia and Panayiotis. We owe it to them and their parents, and to all our ancestors to remember the truth of where we came from.


7 comments:

  1. Amazing, I knew very little of any of this, very lucky!

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    1. Thanks Fran. I'm trying to spread the word!

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  2. Agree this is an excellent post dear friend. And heartfelt!

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    1. Appreciate you "dropping by" to read it, Cheryl. x

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  3. Just read this amazing quote of Hitler's, cited by a Turkish poet. A link to the article it's from is below. The quote is:

    Do you know that Adolf Hitler had said "The first student of Mustafa Kemal was Mussolini, the second is me,” and also "What did Ataturk 10 years ago, we are able to do that now."

    Mustafa Kemal "Ataturk" - Father of the Turks was largely responsible for the Christian genocide of Anatolia.

    http://www.panorama.am/en/comments/2014/06/03/serkan-engin/

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