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The Weekend Neos Kosmos : 07 September 2019
DIGITAL.NEOSKOSMOS.COM THE WEEKEND NEOS KOSMOS | SATURDAY 7 SEPTEMBER 2019 17 BOOKS ‘The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey’, harrowing tales of survivors HARIKLIA HERISTANIDIS A s any researcher will tell you, primary source material is an invaluable resource. A first-hand account of any event provides direct context, placing the reader right into the time and place in a way that a secondary source, such as a history book or article, cannot. To have primary source material written by a journalist, a person who writes well and is trained to observe, is priceless. 'The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey' is such a document. It is a slim, but extremely powerful book about the little known massacres of the early 1920s that took place in the Nicomedia region of Turkey, now known as modern-day Izmit. Kostas Faltaits was a journalist for Athens newspaper Embros, who was sent to Asia Minor, today's Turkey, to cover Greece's movement in the Greco-Turkish War following World War I. He arrived in March, 1921 to find large numbers of Ottoman Greeks fleeing Kemalist forces, and their trail of death and destruction. Faltaits came face to face with those that lived through the era, some of these sole survivors of entire villages that had been burnt to the ground after the men had been killed, women violated before being killed, or captured to be sent to a harem. On returning to Greece, Faltaits wrote up his interviews with survivors and their testimonies of Turkish atrocities, publishing 'These are the Turks – Narratives from the massacres at Nicomedia' in November 1921. In 1922, the book was published in French and now finally in English. This book is not an easy read; the accounts are harrowing – but they must not be ignored. Personally, as the grandchild of survivors of the same genocide, albeit from a different region (Pontos), I am mindful of the dangers of looking away, of refusing to acknowledge crimes against humanity. The risk of repetition remains, as the world has sadly seen since with the Jewish Holocaust, the Cambodian, Bosnian and Rwandan genocides to name but a few. A quote from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel at the start of the book illustrates this perfectly: "For the dead and the living, we must bear witness." This English language edition of 'The Genocide of the Greeks in Turkey', allows more of us to bear witness, by making Faltait's articles and survivor testimonies accessible to the English speaking Diaspora. The book also includes a prologue by respected genocide scholar Dr Tessa Hofmann, which contextualises the reported events, along with an introduction by Kosta Faltaits' son, Manos Faltaits, who sadly passed away before the publication of the English edition. Also included is a short biography of the author and a list of his published articles. Photographs from the era are sprinkled throughout, as well as pictures of monuments in Greece dedicated to the victims of the massacres. One of my favourite features of the book are the facsimile newspaper pages. Several pages of Embros are reproduced, side by side with an English translation. The book designer has gone to some effort to reproduce the typographic 'feel' of the historic originals, which beautifully capture the design sensibilities of the time. The translations are, from my less than fluent Greek, very well executed. All in all this is a valuable resource that any scholar or person interested in the genocide of the Greeks of Asia Minor will want in their collection. Ellene S. Phufas-Jousma and Aris Tsilfidis are the translators and editors who saw the project to its fruition. Australian readers can purchase the book on eBay (search 'Genocide') for $21.95 plus postage, and international readers through Cosmos Publishing: www.greeceinprint.com Kostas Faltaits’ book documents harrowing survivor testimonies from the Nicomedia Massacres of 1920-1921. Indian student kicks off a new magazine that promotes Thessaloniki SIGMAG, a biannual digital free press publication promoting “lesser known second-tier cities which are full of inspiration”. The first issue is dedicated to Thessaloniki, which Mehta states does not get all the attention it deserves. The 26-year-old student states that Thessaloniki is a “beautiful and vibrant city”, and he has come to know and love it since he moved there two years ago to study for an MSc in Hospitality and Tourism Management at the International Hellenic University. He told the Athens News Agency that most foreigners are only familiar with Athens, and islands like Mykonos and Santorini. He hopes that his publication will help readers discover cities like Thessaloniki that are not that well known but still have plenty to offer. Among the city’s positive features, Mehta cites the great cuisine and the city’s small size which makes it easier for visitors to navigate on foot. In the introduction of the Thessaloniki Special, writers I nternational student Kushal S Mehta from Jaisalmer, India, created SIGMAG focuses on the beauties of Thessaloniki. and volunteers involved in the magazine’s creation point to how the city “kept the creative spark ignited” at a difficult time for Greece. The magazine states that the area is “full of beauty, chaos, history, culture, youth, energy, cuisine, diversity”. SIGMAG’s contents include interviews with founders of nonprofit organisations, publishers of free-press magazines, architects, poets and art curators. “Tucked between relics of Byzantine and Ottoman antiquity are art galleries, bohemian nightclubs, and culinary hot spots, all part of a grassroots vision turned eality by Thessaloniki’s large do-it-yourself youth culture,” states that magazine. Mehta’s hopes to build a “bridge between Greece and Asia”, and is now preparing the ond issue of his magazine, inviting those who wish to ontribute, either as volunteers or through crowd-funding. The team has also started another oject called ‘1000 reasons to Love Thessaloniki’ that aims to ollect 1000 video testimonials of people and personalities stating the top three reasons why they love Thessaloniki.
31 August 2019
14 September 2019