«Honouring Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots for acts of courage and humanity in times of war»

Each year the dead and the missing of inter-communal violence and war represent the height of the grief for the two communities especially during the anniversary month of July. Hundreds of ordinary people, women, children and the old have lost their lives simply because they happen to be either Greek or Turkish. They were sacrificed at the altar of nationalism in order to promote the interests of the decision making caste of our society and those of the great powers.

For decades the nationalists of both communities try to hide the crimes they carried out against the other side. At the same time they use the crimes committed by the nationalists of the “enemy” side in order to claim that Greek and Turkish Cypriots cannot live peacefully together because as they claim we’re divided by «rivers of blood».

In the last few years the exhumation of human remains from mass graves brought to the surface the 50-year history of inter-communal conflict, war and acts of ethnic cleansing. Despite the horrible events of these tragic years such as the inter-communal clashes of the 50’s the 60’s and finally 1974 war, an untold story waits to be told. This is the story of outstanding acts of courage and humanity, acts that are a blow to nationalism and hatred.

Ordinary people from both communities stood up with courage and self-sacrifice, risking their own lives in order to save their fellow beings that belonged to the “enemy” community from the fury of “their own” nationalists. These heroes comprised farmers, shepherds, village leaders, priests and politicians. Under war conditions they kept their humanity and saved or protected fellow-villagers, friends, people who worked with them or people they didn’t know from certain death, slaughter or rape.

It’s high time that we shed light on these stories of courage and humanity in opposition to the stories of hatred and division promoted by the nationalists. For the re-unification of Cyprus and for the peaceful co-existence of its people, it’s important not only to acknowledge the crimes committed by both sides but also to honour those who with their selfless actions prevented further crimes taking place.

Responding to this need, Stop the War Coalition–Cyprus along with other organisations and activists has taken the initiative to organise a bi-communal celebration in order to honour these people. This is only a first attempt to say a big “efharisto” or “tesekkürler” and express our gratitude on behalf of everyone to some of these unsung heroes who with their high morals, courage and humanity saved lives and by doing so saved human values and dignity.

We call upon every sincere supporter of rapprochement who strives for a peaceful and democratic re-unification of the island to come, bring friends and take part in this initiative.

Wednesday 22 July, Municipal Information Centre (end of Ledra Street, no. 61)
Time 19:30 - 22:00
Presentation of honorary plaques and short musical programme.

List of organisations supporting this event:

Hands Across the Divide, Workers Democracy, BARAKA Cultural Centre, New Cyprus Party (YKP), Cyprus Green Party, APANEMI, Cyprus Reunification Movement, New Cyprus Association, “Bi-communal Initiative of Relatives of Missing Persons, Victims of Massacres and War”, “Pancyprian Movement for Claiming Refugee and Afflicted Persons Rights”, “Citizen’s Committee for the Opening of Ledras and other Crossing points”, Symfiliosis/Uzlasma, Turkish Cypriot Teacher’s Trade Union, (KTÖS), “United Cyprus"- Platform of G/C and T/C Teachers, CTP-London Solidarity Association, Historical Dialogue and Research, Cypriots for Cyprus (C4C), ACCESS-Arts, T/C Association for Democracy-UK.

Information: Sevgul Uludag / 00905428538436, Phaedon Vassiliades 99625620, Christos Stavrou 99439185