The Left does not engage in self-censorship…
Article by Nikos Kouzoupis, member of the C.C. of AKEL and Head of the Ideological Bureau of AKEL
Sunday 10 June 2018, “Haravgi” newspaper
The President of the “Association of EOKA Fighters” was annoyed and angry because – lo and behold – AKEL is “opening up wounds and spreading discord” and calling on AKEL to declare “unity and harmony” (in truth, with whom)? And all this on the pretext of a modest ceremony – political memorial event organized recently by the AKEL Famagusta District Organization as an expression of honor and respect towards the militants and supporters of the Left, who were murdered in 1958 for their political beliefs and ideals.
For sure there are no murdered people without murderers, no matter how much the various EOKA Associations and their representative take offense. There are a number of reasons why a murder is committed, and the Left insists – no matter how much certain circles and forces don’t like it – that these killings were politically motivated. These people were murdered because they were active members of the Left and the class-based trade union movement of the Pancyprian Federation of Labour (PEO).
The killings were therefore part of an attempt to create the preconditions for a civil war to break out, targeting the movement of the Left; a civil war whose promoter sought for “heads to roll.” However this objective wasn’t achieved in those truly difficult and critical conditions, precisely because of the political stand adopted by AKEL and the Left in general, who articulated a very clear political discourse at the same time as its unarmed militants were being murdered in cold blood.
The reason why the killings were political is demonstrated by the writings of Grivas himself – restricted to just a few extracts from his Memoirs, written shortly after the end of EOKA’s armed activity – which externalize the thinking and goals Grivas set back then.
• In an order issued by Grivas in May 1957 he set out “the measures that the Provincial Organizations (of EOKA) must take” for the reorganization of the “New Trade Unions” because due to the “incompetence or indifference of the leadership of the nationalist trade unions…the strength of the “Old Trade Unions” (PEO) has exceeded 30,000 members”. Grivas was therefore concerned about the growing strength and influence of PEO, despite all the propaganda talk about “treachery”.
• This is precisely the reason why he turned towards the organization of a political party because, as he himself writes, “…I didn’t want after peace came to this island, to find it embroiled in political chaos, with a nationalist movement unorganized, confronting an excellently organized Left” to subsequently add in a relevant letter addressed to Bishop Kition that, “The main merit of a leadership is to “foresee” developments depending on the level to its responsibilities. We must therefore prepare ourselves as of today for the political battles of the day after against AKEL. As the political world of Cyprus is organized today, in all probability disorganized, it won’t be able to deal with an organized party with a program and direction, as AKEL is.”
• The tactics we employed – he notes elsewhere –were appropriate towards the shameless cowards, and proved to be necessary because it forced the Communists to realize that “we aren’t kidding”.
• Furthermore, he goes on to say the following…”I am not, of course, going to reveal the whole of the plan to exterminate every communist reaction, which I have implemented with dogged consistency despite the reactions previously mentioned.” In any case, he did not need to reveal his plans simply because his deeds and actions proved that the goal was the murder of the militants of the Left. Grivas himself therefore writes about murders – “those murders (he means the murders of Mihalis Petros from Lisi and Elias Thofaris from Komi Kebir) were followed by parades organized by the “Old Trade Unions” in Nicosia and Famagusta…”
Therefore, no matter how much they rehash all the talk about a “treacherous” Left today, the killings of the militants and supporters of the Left at that time were solely political, aiming to serve narrow-minded sectional interests. In some cases the killings were committed with such brutality because they also wanted to terrorize the Left to silence and censor itself and to decide itself to be on the sidelines, something however that they didn’t achieve despite all the violence that was used.
One more thing.
One wonders – is it a coincidence or accidental the fact that the Left as a political spectrum and AKEL were being accused of being “traitors” and “collaborators” of the English colonialists from the very beginning, but the killings of their militants do not cover all of the four year period but basically two periods in time – namely the end 1956 and first 8 months of 1958?
At this point we should recall that during these two specific periods, colonialist anti-Cypriot plans were being elaborated – namely the Radcliff Constitution (1956) and the MacMillan Plan (1958) for the partition of Cyprus into three parts.
One wonders – is it a coincidence or accidental that the murders of the militants and supporters of the Left committed in May 1958 coincide with the killings of the militants and supporters of the Left within the Turkish Cypriot community by the Turkish Cypriot nationalist organization TMT?
Is it one wonders a coincidence or accidental that on the eve of the aforementioned Plans bicommunal clashes and violent ethnic conflicts erupted?
AKEL and the Left have always had a unifying political discourse and have been working for a long time to forge unity on the domestic front of our people’s struggle for the salvation of Cyprus, when certain forces and circles – including Grivas – took up arms against the Cypriot people and the lawfully elected President of the Republic of Cyprus, giving Turkey the opportunity to promote its partitionist plans against our country, most of whom belong to the Associations which their President Mr. Sophocleous represents.
AKEL does not need advice or to get permission from anyone to pay tribute to its heroes, also including its militants and supporters murdered for their political beliefs in the 1950’s, no matter how much this may annoy certain circles and forces.