A small group of Greek Cypriots demonstrated in front of the UN in New York against the declaration of a pseudo-state on Cyprus 38 years ago, and the steps Turkey has taken to absorb Varosha into the Turkish Cypriot pseudo-state.
The protesters were few. It was a small group of expatriates, mostly veterans of the old struggles, with well-crafted posters, on which were written slogans, such as: “Hands off Varosha,” “Turkish troops out of Cyprus,” “Apply the UN resolutions,” “Free Cyprus,” and others.
It’s been a long time since we have seen a demonstration – even a small one – on Cyprus or for any other national issue. Maybe because we are tired after so many years. Maybe because we now believe that the demonstrations, and the activities we undertake in support of our national issues in general, do not work. Maybe because other issues have arisen in the meantime that have taken our attention.
It was for these reasons that the demonstration a few days ago is of particular importance.
It is a mistake to believe that demonstrations, and other forms of political activism, do not work. It is a big mistake.
Public opinion has a greater impact on those in power than those on the outside imagine.
Just last week, former President Barack Obama, speaking at the Climate Summit, urged young people around the world to keep pushing their leaders on that issue, telling them their voices have power.
However, in order to have an impact, there must be continuity and the number of protesters must gradually increase.
The demonstrations for Cyprus are not, and must not be, a matter only for the Greek Cypriots. It is a matter for all Greeks. That is why I would like to have seen at least one Greek flag at the demonstration.
And at the end of the day, these actions of Turkey against Greece and Cyprus cannot be allowed to continue. And we cannot continue to just stand with folded arms.
Let us hope, then, that this demonstration will be only a beginning. That others will follow, massively, and that it will send strong messages in every direction.
And if this happens, then maybe our example can be followed in Greece, but also in Cyprus.