Upper Darby, PA – “It is time for President Biden to acknowledge the Pontian Genocide Now! We ask this to be done today. Not tomorrow, not next month, not next year,” said AHEPA Supreme President George Horiatis as he addressed the guests at a ceremony in front of the Pontian Genocide monument at St. Demetrios.
The annual ceremony that takes place in the suburbs of Philadelphia is just one of many that from around the world that marks the tragic history of the Greeks of Pontos. Earlier in the day, a formal ceremony took place in New York City at Bowling Green. It saw the city’s mayor and governor of New York present. This was the 102 years since the genocide that took place against the minorities of Turkey, which included Armenians, Greeks, Assyrians, and others. Last month, the Armenian Genocide, which took place at roughly the same time in Turkey, was officially recognized by President Biden. So why not the rest, and where does it all go from here? Supreme President George Horiatis added that a national writing campaign will be added and that the AHEPA would initiate it.
Yesterday’s memorial service saw many other guest speakers as well from around the Greek community speaking about genocide. The Federation and local Greek organizations joined in once again to remember and honor the day. A somber and emotional plea by activist Vasiliki Tsanaktsidou, a Pontian leader and filmmaker who has emerged as the face of the Pontian genocide, asked her fellow Hellenes to step forward and join the struggle for representation. Her speech that closed the ceremony brought tears to the eyes of those in attendance.
The event sponsored by the Pontian Akritai of Philadelphia closed with a wreath and roses laying over the Pontian monument that rests in front of the church. On top of the obelisk, the words “We Will Never forget” echoed the day.