Cypriot Freedom Fighter Receives Hero's Burial 50 Years After his Murder
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Irene Kollas, left, listens with sympathy to the story of her aunt Eleni Tooulou-Parperis, during their visit to TNH.
"My brother Michael Tooulou-Parperis was no traitor. He was a hero who fought for EOKA to free Cyprus," Eleni Tooulou-Parperis, 89, told TNH. "He was murdered in cold blood on Sunday, Aug. 17, 1958, and was buried in the village cemetery by my father and a fellow villager. My mother did not even manage to kiss him for the last time before his burial. She wrote on his tombstone 'he has no mother to mourn him; no brother or sister to wail in grief.' For the next fifty years our family lived with the shame of betraying EOKA," said Ms. Tooulou-Parperis, who never removed her mourning clothes since then, and never married. Over the next three decades, her nephew Michael Tooulou-Parperis has struggled to restore his unjustly murdered uncle's good name and bring back honor to his entire family. On Aug. 20, 2008 that struggle finally paid off, as his uncle received a hero's burial, led by two bishops and attended by hundreds of people. This tragic story shook the Lefkara area 50 years ago and stigmatized the Parperis family both in Cyprus and the U.S.