Friday, 12 June 2020

Dan Georgakas on the fall of Smyrna, 1922


Above is a good talk from Dan Georgakas given to the Pontian Greek Society of Chicago on the fall and evacuation of Smyrna in 1922 and how these events are represented in contemporary Turkey. Georgakas, whose family has roots in Asia Minor, is an interesting person. As well as being a significant chronicler of the Greek American experience and a champion of Greek causes and culture, he is a prominent film critic and political writer and activist, who was a part of that counter-cultural wave that swept over Detroit in the 1960s. Georgakas was a founding member of the anarchist group, Up Against the Wall Motherfuckers.

In his talk on Smyrna, Georgakas as well as detailing the horrors that befell the city’s Greeks when it was taken by Mustafa Kemal’s forces, makes the very significant point that the refusal to own up to the atrocities it committed at its establishment has meant that the Republic of Turkey was condemned to repeat them, as evidenced by the Varlik Vergisi, the Constantinople pogrom, the ethnic cleansing of Imvros and Tenedos and the invasion and occupation of Cyprus. In other words, Georgakas is telling us that Turkey’s lies about its past inform its present actions and as such should not be trusted by Greece or regarded as a reliable partner by America.