Stop the War Coalition-Cyprus


Profound emotions prevailed during the bicommunal memorial for the innocent victims of wars in Cyprus at Intercollege

On the evening of Wednesday 27th July the projection room of Cine Studio at Intercollege overflowed from emotion and feelings of fraternisation and peace. The meeting was dedicated to the Turkish and Greek innocent victims of wars in Cyprus. The event was organised by the "Stop the War Coalition-Cyprus" (StWC-Cy), a bicommunal platform against war and nationalism, supported by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot activists and organisations.

Among the tens of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots who attended the meeting there were also relatives of victims. The event opened with short introductory speeches of a Greek and a Turkish Cypriot delegate from the StWC-Cy. The speakers stressed the need to restore the historical truth, and the need to acknowledge the atrocities committed by both sides. Both speakers referred to our duty to denounce those who committed and encouraged such crimes as a precondition for the two communities to live peacefully in the future.

Next, there were various contributions from the audience who greeted the meeting and emphasised the importance of the event; among them the Turkish Cypriot politician Alpay Durduran. Particularly sensational were the contributions made by relatives of victims, like Leyla Kiralp whose husband Ahmet was killed at Tohni. In an emotive speech she declared that "We cannot forget the pain and the suffering that we bore. However, I am ready to bury all that deep in my heart for my son's sake and for the sake of all the other young people of Cyprus for whom I don't want them to go through similar suffering. I render my services to the cause of peace in Cyprus ".Soon after Toulla Hadjidemetriou from Larnaka, whose brother is a missing person described also the suffering endured by her family for the loss of her brother Stelios. "For the sake of Leyla's son " she said "for the sake of our children and for all the young people present here tonight we should make sure that we will not go through the same pain again and that we will try and make every effort to live peacefully together". Those words touched the hearts of the audience while many dissolved into tears.

Emotion rose to prominence when Leyla and Toulla folded in each other's arms and then embraced the parents of the 15 year old Vasilia Georgiou who was killed by a mortar shell in August 1974 in Mia Milia (Haspolat). Everyone in the room applauded many of them in tears.

The meeting concluded with a short song performance by the Bi-communal Choir striking the right note of an historical event that everyone hoped to mark the beginning for something even bigger. The plan, as the organizers declared, is to launch a campaign for the erection of a permanent monument in memory of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot innocent victims of wars in Cyprus.

For the 150 people who gathered at Intercollege that Wednesday evening the meeting was a unique historical experience which gave inspiration and hope for a better future of the people in Cyprus