The letter bellow was sent by the Canadian Hellenic Congress to Mayor John Tory and members of the City of Toronto on February 20th, 2016 urging Council to recognize and proclaim May 19th, 2016 as GREEK PONTIAN GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE DAY in the City of Toronto. The same letter has been sent to Mayor Frank Scarpitti of the City of Markham and Members of Markham City Council, Mr. Gus Tsilfides President of Pan-Pontian Federation of USA-Canada, Brotherhood Pontion Panagia Soumela of Toronto, Hellenic Canadian Community of York Region, Saints Panteleimon, Anna and Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Church of Markham, Mayor Taso A. Christopher of City of Belleville, Mayor Fred Eisenberger of City of Hamilton, Mayor Berry Vrbamovic of City of Kitchener, Mayor Matt Brown of City of London, Mayor Bonnie Crombie of City of Mississauga, Mayor Jim Watson of City of Ottawa, Mayor Marc Demers of City of Laval, Mayor Denis Coderre of City of Montreal. We planted the seeds and the first one bloomed already!
Here is the letter.
Mayor John Tory
Office of the Mayor
Toronto City Hall, 2nd Floor,
100 Queen Street St. West
Toronto, ON M5H 2N2
Dear Mayor John Tory,
May 19, 2016 marks the 102 Anniversary of the Greek Pontian Genocide by the Ottoman Turks. The Greek Pontian Genocide is one of the darkest moments in mankind’s history and one of the heinous crimes against humanity. Many believe this heinous crime was the precursor to the Holocaust committed by the Nazis against Jews, Roma and other peoples during the Second World War.
In 1914 the Ottoman government issued a decree to annihilate and systematically eliminate the Greek population from their ancestral and historic homeland of Pontus. The Greek Pontians had made their home in this region at least since the time Homer around 800 BCE.
In the span of few years, overs 350,000 Greek Pontians were exterminated through systematic slaughter by government troops, deportations involving death marches, starvation in labour and concentration camps, rapes and individual killing. Entire Greek Pontian villages and cities were burned to the ground, while thousands were forced to flee to the neighbouring countries with little or no provisions.
We, Canadians and Torontonians, must not forget this brutal and heinous crime against our Greek ancestors and humanity.
We must commemorate and remember the genocide inflicted upon our ancestral brethren by the Ottoman Turks. Therefore, Mr. Mayor we ask you to proclaim May 19th, 2016 as GREEK PONTIAN GENOCIDE REMEMBRANCE DAY in the City of Toronto.
We are looking forward to a positive response.
George Manios George Papadakis
President Vice-President & Secretary
Canadian Hellenic Congress Canadian Hellenic Congress
Cc. Members of Toronto City Council
Brotherhood Pontion Panagia Soumela of Toronto