Letter to the New Republic, March 1, 1996

Mr. Martin Peretz
Editor-in-Chief and Chairman
The New Republic
1220 19th Street, NM
Washington, DC 20036

To the Editor of the New Republic:

Dennis Papazian's letter (March 4) in response to David Rieff's essay "An Age of Genocide" cites Marjorie Housepian Dobkin's "Smyrna 1922: The Destruction of a City". The book is one of the finest texts on that war which the Greeks refer to as the Katastrophe. I was disheartened, however, by Mr. Papazian's failure to include in his erudite letter the fact that 150,000 Greek civilians were also slaughtered in that ethnic cleansing. More than 1,000,000 Greek refugees from Smyrna and surrounding areas were absorbed (with great hardship) into Greece. Armenian survivors were also given asylum there, as Ms. Housepian Dobkin points out, emphasizing the ties and friendship that have long existed between Armenians and Greeks.

I was fortunate enough to hear Ms. Housepian Dobkin lecture at the Holy Trinity Greek Orthodox Cathedral in New York City. She gave the audience the opportunity to ask questions afterward. What I found as upsetting as the atrocities was the inaction of American, English, French and Italian warships that witnessed the carnage but, for complex financial reasons, did nothing. It is, after all, this apathy that continues to make genocide possible.

New York, New York

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