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Workers Democracy

The opening up of the Green Line checkpoints, after 29 years of enforced division, which led to the unhindered contact among Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, it is an historical development. Certainly it must be greeted by every sincere supporter of rapprochement and of conciliation and everyone who is for the building up of mutual trust among the ordinary people of both sides. Undoubtedly this development, beyond any political motives by the Turkish government and Denktash, comes as a result of the mass peace mobilisations of the Turkish Cypriots that we have seen in recent months.

The massive response of the ordinary people from both sides to cross the Green Line it is something unthought-of. The warm reception by which both Greek and Turkish Cypriots expressed their conciliatory feelings and their solidarity to each other has been beyond any expectation. Nationalism and intolerance in both sides of the border received a resounding slap since the myths propagated by the nationalists collapsed within days. The thousands of Greek and Turkish Cypriots who visited for the first time their old houses and villages discovered that the "other side" is inhabited by ordinary people like themselves, men and women, workers and poor peasants, youth and children who share similar concerns and fears; they all have similar aspirations and hopes for a better world and for a peaceful and prosperous future for themselves and their children. It is impossible for any journalist or for any camera to record the dimension and the sublime effusion of such reconciliatory feelings that we have seen on our TV screens.

The mood of the people just got beyond the whole political establishment and the plans of political leaders. More than 100.000 Greek Cypriots so far ignored the request made by their political parties who appealed on their "patriotism and dignity" to avoid crossing to the north. Many Greek Cypriots raise now the issue of allowing the Turkish Cypriots to cross to the south with their cars while Denktash is under pressure by many Turkish Cypriots and the opposition parties to open up more checkpoints and allow Greek Cypriots to move freely without passport control. The people in both sides are stretching these goodwill measures and demand more freedom of movement. Therefore, it is necessary as Greek Cypriots to raise clearly the demand for our government to do away with all the formalities and restrictions imposed on the ordinary people of the other side. It is deplorable to deny entrance to someone just because he or his father was born in Turkey. The recent developments have brought in the foreground an element that everyone seemed to omit from their designs with regards to the Cyprus issue: the ordinary people in both sides and the rapprochement movement. This element emerged to the foreground and can be determinant in the future developments of the Cyprus issue.

It is necessary to channel this peaceable mood so that can it play a significant role in these developments. The breaking of the Green Line brings up the issue of the right of the ordinary people across the border to meet up and socialize but it also brings up the right for joint struggles for a common cause. We have to build a movement for peace in Cyprus, against the war and against the occupation of Iraq, which creates an explosive situation and threatens to destabilise the whole region of Middle East; a movement against the British army bases and a movement against the ugly face of globalised capitalism which threatens the workers and it is a menace for the whole planet.

We need build for a movement in co-ordination with the global anti-war and anti-capitalist movement.

The joint Mayday celebration this year is only a good start in spite of the weaknesses and the lack of coordination towards organising a Mayday celebration with an anti-war character, in unity with the workers unions and the parties of the Left, both in north and south. However, the participation of the Turkish Cypriots in the Mayday celebration and the anti-war demo at the US embassy in the south and our participation in the Mayday celebration in the north it is an historic event. An event which it can and must become a starting point toward building a common front for fighting against nationalism and war, in order to impose our own solution for peace in Cyprus and in the whole region; against the plans of the imperialists and the military in both sides.

Workers Democracy(Ergatiki Demokratia)
Mayday 2003

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