Message by Ivan Savvidis
The message of PAOK FC president Ivan Savvidis on the 100 years from the Pontian Greeks Genocide.
Dear brothers and sisters!
This year has a special significance for all of us. It marks the 100th year since the tragedy that defined the destiny of our people, the tragic end of Pontos’ 3.000-year old history.
100 years of wandering, pain and inability to comprehend.
100 years of mourning, hope and remembrance.
As we are looking back, analyzing the reasons, events and consequences of those tragic events, the role of the Asia Minor Disaster in the unfolding of world history becomes all the more evident. Greeks, Armenians, Assyrians –we all lost our homes, our homeland, our loved ones. We managed to hold on to our faith and memory. And today we are able to appreciate the depth and scale of our recollection. It has become part of our people and has shaped the mentality and conscience of Pontians all over the world.
We guard every grain of our memories from Pontos, we entrust the stories of our families to the next generation around the world –in Greece, Russia, United States, Canada, Germany, Australia… All private stories, testimonies and events merge into one powerful stream and help us feel like a nation, regardless of where destiny has taken us.
Today, on this day of mourning, I call upon everyone to honour our forefathers, but at the same time dismiss any thoughts of hatred and revenge.
Today, our memory should guide us to the path of creation.
Perhaps the Lord set all people who suffered similar tragedies on a special mission: to protect the world from violence, aggression and evil, by reminding everyone of the tragic pages in world history.
It is high time we focus the attention of the world’s scientific community towards analyzing the Asia Minor Disaster. We are on the right path. Scientific research, conventions and forums are organized in almost all countries with Pontian population, while the cooperation and exchange of information between universities is encouraged. The Chair of Pontic Studies was recently inaugurated in the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, the Asia Minor and Pontos Hellenic Research Centre is also up and running. The May conference regarding the Genocide of Christian populations in the Ottoman Empire was attended by scientists from 15 countries… And that is only the beginning.
We will not stop trying. Based on the Pontic tragedy, we will convey the message that, by ignoring such blatant crimes against humanity, the world will inevitably face new monstrous disasters. This is the scientific and educational calling of Pontians, in service of the world civilization.
We must be heard. The world must come to conclusions.
May the Lord guide and help us in this difficult task!
May the innocent victims rest in peace!