Address by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL, Stefanos Stefanou, at the 34th EDON Festival of Youth and Students
8 July 2022, Famagusta Gate, Nicosia
Coming to the podium of the EDON Festival of Youth and Students I was wondering, how to address and what to say to all you young people?
● How can I address all of you who in the most painful way are suffering the consequences of poverty?
● How can I address those of you who are the main victims of low wages and work without rights?
● How can I address those of you who have few opportunities but many obligations?
● What can you say to a young generation that finishes its first degree but finds a job – if one does indeed find a job – on EUR 800 per month?
Without a doubt, how can a person live on 800, 900 or even 1000 euros?
How does a young person start his/her life, how does a young couple start a family, how does one acquire a house, how can young people spread their wings?
These are the questions we are confronted with every day. We are called upon to respond to such approaches – both young people and parents who are worried about their children, the many thousands who are waging a daily struggle to make it through the month.
In these difficult conditions, young people are preparing for the journey in life that often seems to end before it even starts.
Since the day before yesterday when I was going around the grounds of the Festival I have heard many such questions from numerous young people. Hearing their concerns, I have become more and more convinced that we must continue to combat and fight this situation.
● To wage this struggle even more strongly, even more resolutely. Together, to change things first and foremost to the benefit of all of you young people who are our country’s future.
● To give hope again, to cultivate a hopeful expectation again.
I invite you to work together for our country to finally turn the page. For all of you. For all of us.
We have an obligation to our country’s future; to our society, which is at a critical turning point.
And we shall fulfill this goal! First of all, by ridding Cyprus of the Anastasiades-DISY government that for ten years has been characterised by:
● The “get-rich-quick” policy as a central element of the economy.
● Entanglement, interwoven interests and corruption have been the hallmark of its governance.
● Clientelism and cronyism as the DISY government’s daily practice.
● The undermining of independent institutions as a frequent expression of its authoritarianism.
We can and must change things. We will change them by achieving progressive change with the independent candidacy of Andreas Mavroyiannis for the 2023 presidential elections, whom I welcome to the Festival.
A man characterised by integrity. Honesty. Sensitivity to human problems and suffering. He is characterised by a determination to solve problems and break the vicious circle of corruption, entanglement, interwoven interests and non-meritocracy.
The young people of this country can no longer endure the present situation. That is precisely why they are looking forward to your candidacy,
● for better days to dawn,
● for our people and youth to breathe again,
● to address economic insecurity,
● for working people to have dignity in life and work,
● for an education system that will make our children happy to go to school,
● for a health system providing universal and quality coverage for all,
● for the decisive promotion of an environmental agenda
● to break the prolonged stalemate on the Cyprus problem and with the assumption of specific initiatives to promote the solution. A solution that will terminate the occupation and reunite our homeland and people, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.
Your generation’s journey in life is not over. It begins now!
We take fate in our hands and together we set sail for tomorrow. The future is our cause. Through our work, our actions, our struggles we shape our future’s conditions.
Let’s move forward, my friends. Together we begin this beautiful journey that leads to change.
So that you young people can finally look to the future with optimism and a smile.
EDON is right:
“We organise and struggle to take the future in our hands”.
United, all together for change!
Long live EDON!
Long live our young people!
Long live our Cyprus!