One of the most overriding similarities of the decades long endeavors of scholars and activists to make the genocide of the Armenians known to the world, is the almost complete failure to include any mention of the genocide, during the same time and place, of up to one million Greeks and up to three-quarters of the Assyrian population. These co-victims of the Armenians were the other Christians referred to in thousands of documents during the Young Turk and Kemalist regimes. Silence from the academic community played its part in this seeming erasure of these historic Christians. It is silence, therefore, that made their genocide complete.
Now, in a victory for historical accuracy and inclusion, the International Association of Genocide Scholars, or IAGS, an organization of some of the world’s foremost experts on genocide, overwhelmingly affirmed that, between 1914-1923, Assyrians and Greeks suffered a genocide that was qualitatively and quantitatively similar to the genocide suffered by the Armenians. This is truly a monumental step forward. The resolution opens new doors for a more inclusive study of the Ottoman and Kemalist periods and their anti-Christian campaigns. (see the IAGS Resolution link for details)
Since Not Even My Name was first published by St. Martin’s Press (Picador USA), numerous states have issued proclamations recognizing the Genocide of the Pontic and other Asia Minor Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians. For the Pontic Greeks and Assyrians, this is the first time in the history of the United States that the genocide of these historic Christians of Asia Minor has been recognized. The newest recognition of the Genocide of the Greeks and Assyrians of Asia Minor is from the International Association of Genocide Scholars, one of the world's leading scholarly organizations on genocide. (See the resolutions link for details) This affirmation of a genocide is long overdue, and long awaited by the survivors and their descendants who have not, until now, had a voice to express their grief at the loss of family, home, community, and country.
Not Even My Name is now being taught in many high schools and universities around the country for a variety of subjects including, genocide studies, "the end of childhood," women's studies, the art of memoir, social studies, European and Asia Minor history, immigration studies, tolerance studies, etc. Not Even My Name is now translated into Greek, Dutch, and Icelandic. Hopefully more will follow.
When I first wrote Not Even My Name, I thought I was telling my mother's story. Since it was published, I have received e-mail and letters from around the world telling me "this is also my mother's story, my father’s story, my grandparents' story." It was then that I realized that what my mother had done by remembering her history in such great detail, and what I had done by writing it down, was to put a voice and a face to a largely unknown tragedy. Often times even the descendants of those who had lived through it have told me their parents or grandparents couldn't talk about the events because it was too painful to remember.
Although many of us were and are familiar with the Armenian Genocide, the Genocide of the Pontic Greeks and Assyrians during the same time and place, is rarely if ever mentioned in modern times. I have come to believe that nothing is an accident. For me, it is quite significant that the three Christian peoples of Asia Minor effected by the genocide between 1914-23, the Pontian (and other Anatolian) Greeks, Assyrians and Armenians, all became a part of my mother’s life, and therefore, integral to her story. It is the first time that the genocide of these three ethnic peoples of Asia Minor (Turkey) have been included in a single book. Not Even My Name represents the other half of the story of what has become known exclusively as the "Armenian Genocide." The death toll of these historic Christians of Asia Minor added another two (2) million to the 800,000 to 1.5 million Armenians who lost their lives, bringing the figure to approximately 3.5 million deaths, with millions more exiled from their ancient lands.
Plans are now under way for a Research Center and Pontian Museum Village in Ayios Antonios, Vasilika, in Greece, under the auspices of The Sano Themia Halo Pontian Heritage Foundation. See details of the Mission Statement at www.haloheritagefoundation.org
I am grateful to my mother for her determination to keep the memory of her (our) family and people alive for all these years in the hope that one day their story would be told. And I am grateful to the mysterious powers that be who chose me to tell it.
To date, Awards and Proclamations/Resolution include:
NY Gov. Pataki recognizes Pontian Genocide — May 19, 2002
NY State Governor George E. Pataki
Proclaims 80th Anniversary of Persecution of Greeks of Asia Minor — October 2002
NY State Senate — 2002
Three new Pontian/Asia Minor Proclamations from South Carolina: Governor, Senate, and City of Columbia — December 8, 2002
Rep. Carolyn Maloney speaks of Sano Halo
and Not Even My Name on the Congressional Record — April 24. 2001
New Jersey Senate and Assembly recognize the Pontian Genocide
Two New Georgia Proclamations make Sano and Thea Halo Honorary Citizens of Georgia
and a Resolution recognizes their contribution to history— February 9 and 11, 2003
Three New Resolutions from Florida: House of Rep. Senate, and Attorney General — April 19-20, 2005
New Resolution from Pennsylvania
New Resolution from
City of Cleveland
New Resolution from the Senate of New York
New Resolution from Rhode Island
Copyright: March 2002/2008, Thea Halo. All rights reserved.