Monash councillor Theo Zografos told Neos Kosmos that in Friday’s meeting he included a motion for the recognition of the Pontian, Armenian, and Assyrian genocide to be added to an upcoming council meeting agenda, asking for fellow councillors to support him.
“This issue is of great significance to our community and it should have been addressed years ago,” Mr Zografos said.
“So many of our ancestors suffered, and there are so many descendants of those migrants in Monash. People of those background deserve that formal recognition within our local community and then hopefully use that to advocate in other local councils. The more governments push for it, the more chances there are for Turkey to admit and recognise the genocide.”
Although New South Wales and South Australia have already recognised the genocide, Victoria has has not despite the large numbers of Pontian, Assyrian, and Armenian populations living in the state. If the motion passes, Monash will be the first local government in Victoria to recognise the genocide.
“We owe it to the many members of our community reach that decision and to me, it is a social justice issue. Genocide is a crime and it should be treated as such,” Mr Zografos added.
Apart from his obligation towards his voters and their interests, the young councillor is personally invested in the matter.
“Even though I was born here and my father was born in Patras, my paternal grandparents were from Aivali, Asia Minor and moved to Greece in the early 1920s.”
“We are very proud of our Greek and Armenian makeup in Monash and that has created a lot of respect towards these ethnic communities. Hopefully, to the best of my knowledge, not to pre-empt the decision, we will be the first council to recognise the Armenian genocide,” he said.