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Guest Viewpoints

Cyprus… And Yet We Still Wait

July 20, 2020
By Gus Constantine

It has been forty-six years since the 1974 illegal invasion of Cyprus. 1,587 men, women, and children disappeared without a trace in 1974. Although mass-graves have recently been discovered, what happened to the people? How did they end up in mass-graves? Is the world satisfied with finding mass-graves? The world might be satisfied, but not me. For forty-six years the world, including the United States, has turned their back on Cyprus, although they have made many promises.

Slavery has been abolished for over one hundred and seventy years. The descendants of slaves are still demanding reparations. I have two words for that: “Rightfully so.”

The Holocaust happened over seventy years ago. The surviving victims and their descendants are still demanding reparations. I have two words for that: “Rightfully so.”

The Native Americans have also been fighting for reparations for several hundred years. I have the same two words for them: “Rightfully so.”

Cyprus demands reparations.  And yes; “Rightfully so.” 

There have been countless movies and documentaries on these three subjects. Where are our movies? Where are our documentaries? How many Greek and Cypriot, actors, actresses, directors, and producers are out there? Why aren’t they getting together to let the world know what happened in Cyprus?

I have taken the liberty to list and memorialize all 1,587, men, women, and children that have disappeared without a trace during the 1974 illegal invasion of Cyprus. They are listed in the back of both of my Cyprus books. It is the least I can do.

In 1974 I was 19-years old living in The Bronx with my parents.  I remember my parents being glued to the Greek TV Channel and the Greek Radio Station.  The uncertainty over my parents’ little island caused them countless sleepless nights. I remember driving with my parents and sisters to Washington, DC for the demonstrations. I was amazed at the amount of cars on the road flying Greek and Cypriot flags.  Even the charter busses had flags on their windows.  I’ll never forget that at one point a bus broke down and all the cars on their way to the demonstration pulled over to pile as many of the stranded protesters into their cars as possible. ‘No Greeks or Cypriots left behind.’  When we got to Washington, DC I could not believe the amount of people marching with pictures of their missing loved ones. I can still here the chants; “Turks out of Cyprus.  Killer, Kissinger. Turks out of Cyprus. Killer, Kissinger.”

As months passed the demonstrations continued.  One time I marched from St. Demetrios Church in Astoria to the United Nations in Manhattan. And yet we still wait…

I think the most upsetting thing is when I hear our very own politicians and religious leaders tell us that they have been to the Oval Office and spoke to the President of the United States about the Cyprus issues. But when I ask them what the President of the United States tells them, they begin to stutter.  Or even worse: “its privileged information.”       

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