Address by AKEL Political Bureau member and AKEL MP A.Damianou at the event commemorating the anniversary of the Anti-fascist Victory of the Peoples
9 May 2024, Monument of the Cypriot Soldiers Fallen of the Second World War, Nicosia
Every year, at this solemn ceremony, we fulfil a task. We pay tribute to all those who, with the blood they shed and the struggles they waged, saved humanity from the inhumane ideology of fascism and Nazism.
We honour the millions of heroes and fighters, men and women, who, at a time when fascism was trying to overcome democracy, found themselves on the right side of History.
We are particularly proud because we too, very consciously as an organised political force, stood on the right side of history. Because – today – among us are veterans of the Second World War. Because back then, in those harsh years of colonialism, our compatriots crossed imaginary lines and fought on the battlefields alongside the Allied powers. Many of them fell and were buried there, serving what is most sacred – freedom, democracy and justice.
Of course, in commemorating the anniversary of the Anti-fascist Victory of the Peoples today, we must repeat the political warning that AKEL, the Left, has been issuing for years to the other political parties of the democratic spectrum. Namely, that the unrelenting struggle against fascism presupposes a decisive political and institutional combating of its off shoots and branches.
It is not enough to verbally condemn [the ultra-right] but to subsequently cooperate with it politically. There are – unfortunately – many such examples of the normalisation of the far right, the normalisation of neo-fascism.
Today neo-fascists may well hide their swastikas in their offices.
They may be careful where and when give a Nazi salutes.
They may wear costumes, but the seed of the defeated of 1945 and their offshoots are knocking on the door of the European Parliament all over Europe.
They have already entered – unfortunately – governments and national parliaments. They have also entered the Cypriot parliament. And they threaten that they will gradually come to power.
But they will not pass!
Lately, the traditional Right has been making a vulgar but mostly unhistorical equation promoting the propaganda about “the two extremes”. There is no greater insult than equating the Left and AKEL with the extreme right and neo-fascism.
If there are – and indeed there are – two extremes, they are on the one hand the forces of democracy, progress and social justice and on the other the forces of darkness, conservatism and social inequalities.
For that reason, certain forces and circles must take a look in the mirror and ask themselves why society sees certain political forces [the Right and far-right] as inter-communicating vessels, where even internal transfers of leading members between the two are made.
Dear friends, dear compatriots,
In commemorating today the anniversary of the Anti-fascist Victory, the Victory of the Peoples of Europe, with the Soviet Union as the leading force, but also the Victory of humanity over fascism-Nazism, we must reaffirm our commitment to the principles and values of humanism, internationalism, democracy and respect for human rights.
In a neighbourhood that is again on fire, with an EU that is backing the genocide of the struggling people of Palestine, we must remain the bulwark but also the leading force of the principles and values that our veterans also fought for.
In a Cyprus that is a victim of foreign intervention and occupation, which in a few months will have completed half a century since the double crime of the coup and the invasion, there is no room for any expediencies. There is no room for any compromises on principles.
After all, with what moral standing will we continue to assert the application of international law when the President of the Republic embraces the leader of an ongoing genocide?
79 years since the Victory of the Peoples, we honour our history.
We honour the struggles of the peoples, and we honour the victory of democracy over fascism.
Drawing strength from the example of our veterans, we renew our pledge to never again permit humanity to experience such barbarism.
Not to let neo-fascism and the extreme right prevail, at the risk of humanity experiencing similar tragedies as it did during the Second World War.
Eternal memory and honour to the antifascist fighters and heroes!
Eternal memory and honour to the Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins, who put our small homeland on the world map of antifascist victory, serving universal human values and ideals.
They were back then and always on the right side of history!

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