Tuesday 12 August 2014

Article - The real heroes of Cyprus (Published in Greek in 24h on 27 July 2014)

The real heroes of Cyprus

I watch in terror as the fighter jets rip the sky to mark the anniversary of Turkey’s military operation in Cyprus. They are here to celebrate, to remind the heroism, to mark the pride... My ears are deafened with their sound and I wonder how anyone can ever find this vulgar display of aggression entertaining. My blood freezes. I am petrified…

“I think it was a Saturday. We were in Tessera Fanarga in Limassol. All we heard were the sounds of mortars and guns… Mortars were being fired down on us continuously. So many of them, everywhere” said my father of the morning of 20 July 1974. “We were at the mercy of Greek Cypriots. And Greek Cypriots were at the mercy of Turkey.”  

The Turkish Prime Minister of the day – Bulent Ecevit, during the extraordinary parliamentary session on 20 July 1974 at the Turkish Grand National Assembly, had said: “This is a move not aimed at war but aimed at peace; to bring peace and freedom not only to Turks, but to all the people of the island, and not to seize a state but to re-establish a collapsed state on just foundations.”

Unfortunately, every step Turkey took after that day proved the opposite. Turkey was not here to re-establish the Republic of Cyprus but a new state of affairs. Turkey was here to stay…

A great show was put on last Sunday, complete with fighter jets and tanks. The TV overflew with endless outbursts of heroism, pride and fanaticism. And any Turkish Cypriot daring enough to criticise Turkey’s post- military operation policies, the “celebrations” or the status-quo, were called a number of names ranging from “ungrateful” to “bastard of Greeks” and were told to “go live in the south.”

I have found these celebrations, these outbursts of heroism nauseating ever since I was a kid. I have always believed that the real heroes of Cyprus are those, who keep silent. Those, who have suffered the most, who carried the real burden of all the painful events that ever happened in Cyprus, and those who still so faithfully long for a solution in Cyprus…

One of those mortars, being fired down on the Turkish Cypriot district of Limassol on that Saturday morning, 20 July 1974, fell within a couple of meters of my uncle – my father’s younger brother. He didn’t have time to escape. He suffered a major injury on his spinal cord. Last Sunday was also the 40th anniversary of him becoming paralysed from his waist down and becoming confined to a wheelchair. It was also the 40th anniversary of him, standing up for peace in Cyprus every day of his paralysed life. He was not among those shouting stories of heroism or cheering the fighter jets last Sunday. He was among those, who shut their windows to not hear the terrifying sound of war. To me, he is the real hero of Cyprus.

No comments:

Post a Comment