The sickening propaganda tools and poisoning our children
I remember being physically sick for many days after we – a group of 7 year olds - were packed into a hot, unventilated bus to travel from Kyrenia to Nicosia to visit the ‘Museum of Barbarism.’ It was supposed to be a fun school trip. It left us scarred and shaken for many years to come.
This ‘museum,’ which used to be the house of a Turkish commander, became the scene of the brutal murder of his wife and three kids on 24 December 1963. Their bodies were found in the bathtub. There still are many unanswered questions surrounding the circumstances of their death and their killers. Nevertheless, the house - an invaluable ‘evidence of Greek Cypriot cruelty’ –has been kept as it was found on that night, a real crime scene, with blood stains and bits of human flesh. The rest of the rooms are filled with graphic images of burnt-down, mutilated, decomposed bodies of the ‘victims of Greek Cypriots.’
Have you ever watched a group of young children with diverse backgrounds, ethnicities, religions and different mother tongues interact? It is a beautiful thing to witness. The way they don’t question or even realise each others’ differences, the way they create their own common language, they way they accept and accommodate each others’ presence, and most importantly, the naturality with which they do all this…
Taking this innocence away from the children and instilling in their little minds that a certain group of humans is cruel, lesser, worse or secondary to others is one of the biggest offenses that can be committed against them. And, in our country this crime is systematically committed at public schools on both sides of the island. Both Turkish Cypriot and Greek Cypriot children are systematically brainwashed and indoctrinated against the ‘other’ community. We should be ashamed of this crime. We should be ashamed for not raising our voices against the daily poisoning of our children against the children ‘of the other side.’ We should demand that radical changes are made to the education system and history curricula at public schools on both the north and the south, and ask for an education system that encourages and provides the opportunity for our children to meet with, communicate, and interact with as many children ‘from the other side’ as possible. We should demand this if we are sincere about giving the best we can to our children and about our desire for peace.