Even though May 19th is generally considered to be a day of joy and celebration, as the date marks Mouzilo’s birthday, it also comes to remind the Mouzeliot people a sad event and a black page in the History of the Hellenic Ethnos.
This date, which is engraved in the people’s hearts and minds, comes to remind us all the black and sad anniversary of the Greek genocide (part of which was also the Pontic genocide which is remembered every year by the Greek state on May 19th), enacted to ethnic Greeks living in Asia Minor by the government of the Ottoman Empire and, later, Turkey. It was the intended and systematic ethnic cleansing of the Christian Greeks from their historic homelands in Asia Minor, Pontus region, Central Anatolia and what was the Kars Oblast, a former Russian province;
homelands inhabited by Greeks since antiquity (The first Greek settlements in Asia Minor date back to 11th century BC). Perpetrated by the Ottoman government during WWI and the years after (1914-1923), the genocide included massacres and mass execution, forced deportations and death marches, destruction of Christian Orthodox churches as well as monuments, many of which were of religious, cultural and historical importance. Result of those barbarous actions was the death of almost a million ethnic Greeks (or more according to other sources), while the ones that survived took refuge either in the neighbouring Russian Empire (where they were again victims of similar actions when J. Stalin came in power in USSR) or in Greece. This was also the fortune of the vast majority of Greeks who remained in Turkey after the Greco-Turkish war of 1919-22.
More than a one-and-a-half million Greeks were forced to leave Turkey (which seemed like a déjà vu in 1955, when after the Istanbul Pogrom, most Greeks were forced again to leave Turkey), under the terms of the 1923 population exchange between the two sides of the Aegean Sea, only a year after Turkish militias led by Turkey’s national “hero”, Mustafa Kemal Atatürk, burned the Greek-populated metropolis of Smyrna (nowadays Izmir) to the ground, removing the Greek national element from the area after around 3 millenia. Nowadays, Greeks are almost “extinct” from Turkey, with only 200,000 Greeks living in Fener area of Constantinople (Istanbul) around the Ecumenical Patriarchate, in the islands of Imbros and Tenedos (Gökçeada and Bozcaada in Turkish) and in some Greek-speaking villages in Pontus that escaped torture and extinction due to the fact that their geographical location is difficult to access.
The President of Mouzilo, whose family was victim of one of the policies adopted by the Ottoman government, was the first to comment on this black anniversary.
‘May 19th will always be in my mind. Not only because of Mouzilo’s birthday, but also due to the Greek genocide, of which my mother’s family was a victim, forced to leave their home in Fener.’ he said, and added:‘How can some deny the genocide when there are clear evidence, such as photographic documents or reports of foreign and, in some cases, Ottoman observers? In all honesty, Greek genocide deniers are no different to me than those who deny the Jewish Holocaust.’
The Tribune, as well as the government, are still waiting of an official apology by the Turkish state, just like the one Mr. Erdogan made around a month ago. We are eager to know if such actions are condemned or praised by the ones who want to become Sultans once again (like Mr. Erdogan has been trying to do through his policies for quite some time now). The government has announced a minute of silence at 19:19 and encourages
all micro- and macronationalists to remain silent for 60 seconds, in remembrance of the victims.