Dear Madames and Sirs:


It distresses me deeply that Greece would consider becoming a party to the

denial of the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor. I have memorialized my

mother's own story in "Not Even My Name" of the forced death march that she

and the 3,000 inhabitants of the Pontic Greek villages of Ayios Antonios

near the Black Sea endured that took from her everyone and everything she

had ever held dear, finally even her name. They marched for seven to eight

months over the rugged mountains of the North and through the desert-like

planes of the South, watching family and neighbors die on the road from

disease starvation and exposure. My mother at age ten held her three years

old sister in her arms as she drew her last breath. By the age of ten my

mother was orphaned and being treated as a slave.


   On March 8, 2001 my mother, Sano ?Themiaı Halo will be honored by the

Governor of the State of New York, George Pataki, as a recipient of this

yearıs Award of Excellence in honor of Womenıs History Month, "Celebrating

Women of Courage and Vision." Governor Patakiıs press release demonstrates

that he fully recognizes the slaughter and exile of the 3 million Christian

minorities of Turkey: Greeks, Armenians, and Assyrians, between 1915-23, as

genocide; a genocide that brought to an abrupt and brutal end the 3,000 year

history of these historic Christians in Asia Minor.


   As Governor Pataki affirmed, "Most people of good will are familiar with

the Armenian Genocide of 1915-23 ?[of] 1.5 million Armenians" that

encouraged Nazi Germanyıs policy of extermination just two decades later.

But until Greeceıs historic recognition in 1994 of the genocide of the

Hellenes of Pontos, the world had forgotten that the Greeks of Asia Minor

had ever existed. The genocide of the Assyrians is still not known. Can

there be any doubt that the effective eradication from the worldıs

collective memory of the genocide of 1.5 million Greeks and Assyrians of

Turkey also led to Hitlerıs heinous policies of extermination and



   Greece's leadership in the normalization of relations with Turkey is a

historic initiative; a testament to the progressive vision, ideals, and

civilization for which the Greek people have long been known. But Greeceıs

removal of the word ?genocideı will send a loud and clear message, not only

to the Turkish government but to the world, that Greece regards the dignity

and memory of its own people: the Greek victims and survivors of the

genocide of 1914-23, to be inconsequential. By extension it says that all

genocides can be denied and forgotten  ­ paving the way for future

genocides. Such a move can only encourage further demands for unreasonable

concessions, if not now, then later, for building a relationship based on

coercion, breach of international law, and the denial of oneıs history is

like planting an oak tree in the desertıs shifting sands.


   By standing firm on this important issue, Greece will add its name to the

growing list of countries who are ultimately helping Turkey come to terms

with its past, so it can look to its future.


Very truly yours,

Thea Halo

Author of Not Even My Name

New York City



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