Our Haunted Country
Over 200 Greek Cypriots have been accused of treason and executed by EOKA. At least 1000 families bear the stain of treason without substantiation, without a shred of evidence. Those who have tried to obtain information from the fighters' organisations faced an impenetrable wall: "They don't know, they won't reply." Those who by themselves investigated the motives of the killings usually come to other conclusions, which have nothing at all to do with treason. In August 1958 EOKA indiscriminately killed Turkish Cypriots and TMT Greeks. In total, 115 Cypriots (60 Greeks and 55 Turks, tit for tat) were killed in bicommunal clashes. The victims' only "sin" was their ethnicity.
A struggle was fought as it was fought and it came to what it came to. Fifty years have passed since. Did these lives not deserve a serious investigation? Unfortunately not. After the end of the struggle, attention turned to plunder, material and political. The sharing of the pie was the chief motive behind a new cycle of violence. Referring to newspapers from the early 1960's, one is shocked by the number of murders. The police could hardly keep up with gathering bodies off the streets. Georkadjis killed, as did Sampson, the underworld and the "protectors" of society from the underworld. The Turks did about the same. TMT killed and terrorised the Turks, as the remnants of EOKA did the Greeks.
Then the new drama of 1963 came. Over 500 Turkish Cypriots were murdered, most by Georkadjis' Organisation and by Sampson. They either disappeared from police holding cells, prisons and hospitals, or they were abducted from their villages and were never seen again. Fifty Greek Cypriots also disappeared at the time, and have been missing since. Many other Greek Cypriots died in the battles. A total of 53 people lost their lives - completely pointlessly - in the Turkish air raids on Tylliria.
There followed EOKA B and the terror that accompanied it, in the name of Enosis. If they had achieved Enosis, today they too would have been hailed as heroes. Things went more wrong than they could have reckoned, and we came to the shocking tragedy of 1974: another 2,500 dead and missing. The remains of some are still unburied on the Pentadactylos Mountains. Thousands of families were destroyed as a consequence of the insanity that called itself patriotism. The EOKA Betas, instead of going to Kyrenia to face the Turkish Army, attacked the Turkish Cypriot civilians in the South. They wiped out all the men of Tochni village, and the whole population of two villages, Maratha and Aloa. TMT did the same, exterminating Greek Cypriot civilians in Palekythro, Assia and elsewhere.
Half a century since this insanity started, our society will not tolerate even a simple reference to the deeper causes of the disaster. AKEL General Secretary Demetris Christofias made a correct remark at the most appropriate time: at the annual commemoration of the murder of Misiaoulis and Kavazoglou, he stated that the murderers, whether they were Turkish or Greek, had the same ideology. Everyone jumped on him, baying for his blood. And he began to apologise and claim he had been misunderstood! This is what happens when one deals with the parastate and washes out criminals, in return for some appointments and financial nepotism.
Our county is haunted, persecuted by the curse of the unvindicated souls. So many human beings were lost totally pointlessly, without even elementary justice having been done. We hide the truths under a veil of lies, hyperbole and myth. Fifty years later the debate did begin, but everyone wants it closed. Some "intellectuals" are also worried because we are scratching at wounds and disturbing unity. The wounds are there and they are still open, though we refuse to see them. And what unity are they thinking of? Unity in the soul trade? Unity in the
revolutionary hero and resistance fighter industry? Each one of us today claims a medal of struggle, resistance and patriotism. This, unfortunately, is our relationship with History. Hanging a fake medal at our throats!
A year ago today, we were called to decide for or against the Annan plan. We took a position in favour of it. It wasn't the best plan. In many places it was problematic and irritatingly unfair. But it had a big plus: a solution within the E.U. would have compelled us to draw a line in our relationship with the past, would have "forced" us, Greeks and Turks, to co-operate and cohabitate on this island. To lay the souls of our dead to rest, and chase the ghosts from our island.
But those who started these affairs half a century ago told us it wouldn't work. They know best. They haven't finished yet. They are still trading in souls, still minting medals, still giving oaths that they will not stray, still selling the people 1950's patriotism. With a people so immature, a people conserving and glorifying the policies that have destroyed it, it's a thousand times better that the solution plan did not pass. Until things change, the status quo will be "the best solution for all of us"...
Makarios Droushiotis - Politis Newspaper