15 July 2022, Amphitheatre of the Municipality of Dali
Dear guests,
Comrades, Friends,
Why are we here tonight?
Let me start by posing this question. I pose it because after 48 years, almost half a century since that summer that marked our homeland, the least we must do is to be honest with ourselves.
Why are we here tonight?
Why must we be here? Is it because our duty or conscience demands it? Is it because we have long since stopped asking, acting merely out of duty?
It is important to know why we are here tonight. It is important to be aware because only then will we continue to walk upright on the right side of history.
Sotiris, Giorgos, Anastasis, Andreas and Achilleas are the reason we are here. There are numerous others of course…Christakis, Pambos, Pantelis, Stelios. They drive us to be here every year, because we live under their heavy shadows.
I was not yet ten years old at the time. What followed is my whole life. And your life and our children’s life, all of our lives.
As a people we lived under the shadow of these courageous lads we call heroes, but we must remember that they did not want to be heroes. They wanted to live a peaceful life, without heroisms, with the longing of young people who want to taste happiness.
No one asked them if they wanted to be heroes. But their consciousness hearts and souls left them no other choice.
Cyprus then stretched across two banks and you had to choose. On one side was the Greek Junta, EOKA B, the extreme right, NATO conspiracies and the crimes that led to the treasonous coup d’état.
On the other was the love for the homeland, peace and democracy. The price for those who stood up and resisted illegal actions, terrorism, fascism, those who chose the other side, was heavy. Many paid it with their own lives.
Sotiris Adamou Constantinou, who was shot in the back for refusing to take up the weapon his country entrusted him with to attack the Presidential Palace.
The four heroes of the working class neighborhood of Ai Yiannis – Hajistefanou, Charalambous, Kourtellis and Theodosiou – who were murdered in cold blood for trying to mobilise the people to join the resistance.
The brothers Pambos and Anastasis Christofi, Pantelis Charalambous and Christakis Kombos who were tortured and executed by known – ‘unknown’ EOKA B coupists, because they made sure that Makarios escaped safely.
Misiaoulis, Georgiou, Kesta, Evagorou. The list of heroic resistance fighters is long.
And it becomes even longer if we add to it the victims of EOKA B barbarism, Kyriakos Papalazarou, Andreas Armeftis, Giorgos Fotiou, Stelios Mavrou and others in the period preceding the coup.
And it becomes even longer if we add Doros Loizou, who was murdered by the murderous bullets of EOKA B while our people were still mourning on the ruins caused by the invasion of Turkey.
And it grows even longer when we add the brave lads who fell fighting to stop the advance of the far superiorly armed invading Turkish army.
And it grows even longer by going further back in time…. Back when the Republic of Cyprus was trying to crawl on the rough rocks of nationalism and intolerance.
Ayhan Hikmet, Ahmet Yurkan, Dervis Ali Kavazoglou, Kostas Misiaoulis. The heroes and martyrs, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, who paid the price for a common homeland with their own blood.
And even before them, Michalis Petrou, Elias Tofaris, Savvas Menikos, the eighteen comrades murdered in cold blood by the masked men of Grivas.
And the list grows and deepens until it reaches the roots of history where we meet the heroic figures of Grigoris Afxentiou, Kyriakos Matsis and others who sacrificed themselves for the ideal of freedom.
Every hero of our people is our hero.
Every person who serves universal values and ideals through his struggles is also our hero.
Because the Left leads, serves and paves the way for those universal human values that make the world a great festival of freedom, democracy, peace, justice and solidarity.
For a century AKEL has been fighting for all these things. It will continue to do so for another thousand years.
Honor and glory to our heroes!
The sharpening of memory through the journey in history does not only assume the character of paying due tribute to our heroes and struggling people. This mental journey is a reminder of the need to create the conditions for a happy and secure future for our future generations.
This is indeed a difficult task, we know! We learned it in a tragic way. We live it every day when the occupying barbed wire fence dividing our country blocks our way to Kyrenia, Famagusta and Morphou. When the symbol of the pseudo-state is displayed on the Pentadaktylus mountain range. When we see the refugee settlements withering in time together with the hope for return, redemption and vindication.
We did not get to where we are today by accident. The path we have followed was carved by causes and justifications. By decisions and actions that, instead of charting paths forward, led to dead ends and dangerous cliffs. It was not inevitable and necessary that we should live through all that we have tragically experienced and are still living through.
The course of events could have been different.
And this course of events would have been different had the anti-colonial struggle not become a tool in the hands of the Right to impose its factional hegemony. Had the Left fighting for unity of forces, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, Left and Right, been heard so that our people could gain a genuine and unfettered right to self-determination.
It would be different had the independence we achieved, though conditional and shackled, were supported and a sincere effort made to complete it. Had we supported and developed the relations between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities within the framework of the co-management of our common state. These were AKEL’s positions, that is precisely why it tried to do so and that is how it acted politically.
Unfortunately, not everyone tried to do that. On the contrary! Those who held the reins of the country and were in the leaderships of their communities either continued to strive for Enosis (Note: union with Greece) or for Taksim, namely partition. This is how the inter-communal conflicts, the Turkish Cypriot enclaves, the ‘green line’ came about. That is how ethnic hatred, enmity and intolerance were fuelled.
Our course developments would have been different had we all resisted and stood up against the NATO interventions and conspiracies against the Republic of Cyprus, which were aimed at transforming Cyprus into an unsinkable aircraft carrier. The Left gave its all to prevent the US-British plans from being fulfilled. And these plans would not have passed had mistakes been avoided, had the desirable not prevailed over the possible/feasible option, had the cultivation of illusions not misled people. And worse still, had there not been any Greeks and Cypriots serving the plans of foreign powers and forces.
I am talking about the Junta of Greece, which put Greece in chains whose main objective was the closing of the Cyprus problem for the benefit of NATO. This is substantiated by historical documents.
I am talking about EOKA B, founded by Grivas with the support and funding of the Greek Junta and the American CIA, which undertook the task of preparing the ground for the implementation of the double crime that was subsequently committed: the coup and the invasion aiming at the partition of Cyprus.
Permit me at this point to make three comments:
The first comment concerns the claim that Grivas is not responsible for the coup since he was already dead. This claim is refuted by the fact that the coup plans bear Grivas’ signature. It is refuted by his generally terrorist and murderous activities, which led even Glafkos Clerides, the then Speaker of the House of Representatives, to declare that “he would call on the Parliament to declare him to be a common murderer”.
The second comment has to do with the claim that the coup d’état was foolish. That is to say, a frivolous and reckless act. It was well-known and admitted, after all, there are many statements as well as newspaper front pages of the time warning that a coup would give Turkey the pretext to invade. AKEL warned of this on a daily basis. Therefore, the consequences and implications of the coup were well known. This makes the coup an act of high treason and the responsibilities of its protagonists incalculable.
The third comment I would like to make concerns the discussion opened by the President of DISY Averof Neophytou in favor of Cyprus’ accession to NATO. How can the vital interests of our country be served by Cyprus becoming a member of NATO? Will NATO protect Cyprus from Turkey, as it protects Greece? Will it bring us peace as it has brought peace to other countries? NATO has only caused wars and bloodshed wherever it has gone. Cyprus is one of its victims. Honestly, what version of the Stockholm syndrome is forcing Averof Neophytou into adopting such a position? Our people are already paying a very heavy price for the ideological obsessions of the Right. It has no more room for manoeuvre. Enough is enough!
Security and peace in our country cannot be served by such a desperate action. No facts can justify it. We will continue to oppose such an eventuality. AKEL will never support NATO membership!
The value-laden return to the past fuels the debt we have to build the conditions of our future. Speaking of the future of our country, one thing is clear. Without a solution of the Cyprus problem, our future remains uncertain and doubtful. As long as the de facto partition and the Turkish occupation continue, everything we build is built on sand.
The need for a solution is therefore vital and critical if we want to secure our future. A solution that ends the Turkish occupation and reunites our country and people.
It is for this reason that we have been striving for a lifetime to achieve a solution.
A lifetime of opposing occupation and partition.
All our lives we have been combatting nationalism, fascism and intolerance that have caused so much suffering to our country.
We have been fighting for a common homeland for Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, for their reunification and common struggle. For a bi-communal, bi-zonal, federal state which the two Cypriot communities will co-manage within the framework of political equality.
Today, the Cyprus problem is in its worst phase ever. Partition is just around the corner. The Greek Cypriot side is completely discredited internationally and is held responsible for the prolonged stalemate.
There is only one way to prevent partition.
To move forward by taking concrete and targeted initiatives.
To break the prolonged deadlock.
To regain our lost credibility which has been destroyed due to the erroneous policies and the backtracking/regressions of Anastasiades-DISY government.
To regain our credibility and try to create momentum for the resumption of the negotiations from the point where they were interrupted at Crans-Montana on the basis of the Guterres Framework and by preserving the convergences achieved.
This is precisely what the UN Secretary General has repeatedly been calling for, and we must at long last respond to this call.
Instead of responding to what the UN Secretary General has been calling for four years now, the DISY government has moved in the opposite direction. It put forward ideas that cancelled convergences, it did not take any initiative to take advantage of the circumstances of Mustafa Akinci’s presence in the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community.
As regards how we should move forward and what initiatives should be taken, for almost two years now, we as AKEL have been putting forward a specific and comprehensive proposal. The government refuses to discuss it. In fact before it even read it, it rejected AKEL’s proposal. This too is a clear example of the attitude of the DISY government, which is passively watching the division being consolidated.
If we don’t act, no one will act for us. All the more so as Turkey is getting comfortable and serving its aims for partition with the barren passage of time.
Dear friends,
The intensive, consistent and sustained pursuit of a solution is at the core of our goal to achieve progressive change.
To rid ourselves of the DISY government which bears the heaviest responsibility for the situation in which the Cyprus problem finds itself.
For the international disrepute in which Cyprus finds itself.
For the plunge into entanglement/interwoven interests and institutional corruption that our country has taken under its rule.
For the division of society into cronies and the rest of us.
For serving the privileged few at the expense of the many.
For the subordination of the public interest to powerful interests.
The reasons for the DISY government to go are many, a great many. The need for progressive change is crying out from everywhere.
The DISY government is attempting to prolong its rule. Either with the candidacies of Averof Neophytou or Nikos Christodoulides. They are both two sides of the same coin. Both of them declare themselves to be proud DISY members. Both do not consider the government corrupt. Both declare themselves supporters and continuers of Anastasiades’ policy.
We have chosen the independent candidate Andreas Mavroyiannis.
For real change.
For our people to regain their lost dignity.
To rekindle the hope for a solution and reunification.
To return the smile and optimism to our young people.
To protect the vulnerable groups of the population and the welfare state.
For the people to have a universal and quality health scheme.
For young people to have an education that makes them happy to go to school and offers them a perspective in life.
To support work, the environment, life.
To become proud of our country again.
Today, let each of us reflect on our personal responsibility. The responsibility that determines who governs us, who decides for us.
The responsibility to work together for change. The responsibility to vindicate our dead through change.
We owe it to those who sacrificed their lives. But we also owe it to our children who have the right to walk into the future without the shadows of history weighing them down.
In a land of peace. A common homeland that will do justice to the memory of the heroes we honor today.
Honor and glory to our heroes!
Honor and glory to the struggles of our people!

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