THE STRUGGLE TO FREEDOM VIII

LIBERATION WOULD COME THROUGH STRUGGLES, NO COLONIAL LARGESSE!!!

 



The struggles to Freedom all over the world took many twists and turns depending on the country, the nation and the people involved. Turning back the clock about 100 years, it was impossible to imagine a Liberation struggle without an arms struggle, even if one wants to include India in that category. The situation changed dramatically after WWII and Liberation struggles, armed ones became the norm until mid 1960s and perhaps later, if one is to discuss Liberation Movements everywhere.

Cyprus 1950s

The Greek Cypriots tried to gain independence and Liberation peacefully pre-1955 but that became impossible. After several years of effort patience ran out and the struggle for FREEDOM of Cyprus became an armed rebellion with plenty of heroic acts on behalf of the Greeks, plenty of sacrifices and historical facts that make Cyprus independence struggle a bright chapter for historians to work on. I am no historian but I lived the daily life a young boy, a young boy who watched with great interest but knew nothing about politics, Liberation Struggles and political settlements that gave birth to disasters soon after.

Cyprus 1957

I am ten years old. The school is closed because a Greek flag was hoisted on the house that played the role of a school. Whenever that happened, teachers were forbidden by the resistance to teach, parents kept us all home and we were happy to roam the village, the fields and damn education. Happy days for children but serious future problems for us all and our parents, who were so much for our education and a better future. It was indeed superhuman to have us educated, a theme I will come back to in my next blog. 

The resistance was bloody and everyday we would hear on the radio this death, that shooting and the soldiers imposing curfews here and there. Many arrested, many in exile and some were hanged too. The Liberation struggle continues and the Greeks are not giving up, even if they were fighting an Empire. Freedom was not to be given to the Greeks under any circumstances, thus the arm struggle and the victims of it.

March 1957

A HERO IS BORN WITH A SACRIFICE

The youth are in arms, the old assisted and I remember my dad carrying leaflets in his bus for the struggle to succeed. Yes, a small contribution to the Liberation struggle that all of us, young and old believed in those days. We were hungry for ~freedom and yet, did we know what it was, what it entailed? Not really but that FREEDOM SPIRIT, was instilled in us as Greeks. It was our history, our being!

March, early morning; a beautiful spring day in Cyprus and I am walking in the village for whatever reason. I end up in the periphery of the two coffee-shops in the centre of the village and I could hear sort of loud explosions in the distance. The adult men are gathered on the small bridge, on the banks of the dry river that run through the village and in front of the coffee-shops. I could see worry and sadness on all the faces but have no idea why. Has somebody died? I could hear whispers here and there but I had no idea what it was all about. Who died, what for? A loss in the village was a loss for all of us.

 

Macheras Monastery by Vasilis Zenetzis 1993



Standing in circles they whispered and the explosions continued. What was it, what was happening? Apparently Afxentiou, one of the leaders of the Liberation struggle was captured. The radio of the coffee-shop was the only means of information and it was reporting loudly the events right now. The worry and anxiety of the whole male population was immeasurable and I, just on my own, was sharing that without realising that well what was really happening and why.

Then the terrible news; Gregoris Afxentiou was dead up on the mountains near Machairas Monastery. The details came later, much later and the young man who refused to surrender chose death for his small country in order to become the new Leonidas of Cyprus =Greece

“” MOLON LAVE” which means “Come and Get Them”, were his last words as he remained in his cave and was burnt to death by the colonial army.

I stood motionless and lost on the bank of the river.

The wind was weak and soft, the eucalyptus trees carried the message. Silence among the lost humanity of the village but birds sung happily as normal. A brother was gone, a son was gone, an uncle was gone but a hero was born at the same time. Our hero was gone on the mountains in order to live for ever in the souls and hearts of the Greeks of Cyprus. A terribly blow for the Greek cause but ….. a bright, shining page for history books!

Freedom demanded sacrifices in those days! Today, we all thing that sitting around tables, talking and discussing injustice will solve the issues of humanity. We live in hope and pray that this is the only way forward!

DUM SPIRO SPERO!!!

Peter Constant

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