In Memory of Nikos Mouyiaris

January 13, 2020

Because several  readers have asked me for it, I am publishing the speech which I delivered as Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs with Responsibility for Hellenes Abroad during the burial of Nikos Mouyiaris, which took place on August 25, 2019 in his home village of Athienos, Cyprus. Nikos left us a year ago:

Ladies and gentlemen,

I am here today, as a spokesman for the Prime Minister of Greece, Kyriakos Mitsotakis, but also as an expatriate friend of the deceased, to fulfill an important national and personal debt:

To express the gratitude of Greece and my own, to the patriot, to the benefactor, to the man: Nikos Mouyiaris.
During the 40 years that I have served as Publisher/Editor of The National Herald I met many distinguished omogeneis.

The late Nikos was distinguished among the distinguished, constituting a life in the Diaspora of historic import.
I will not mention his contributions because they are more or less well known. I will point out, rather, the subtlety of his acts, where the donor was often more grateful for the opportunity to make an offering than was the recipient for the gift. That says it all.

Ladies and gentlemen, among other things, Nikos was also distinguished for this rare element: He maintained within himself an almost childlike and pure romance for his country, analogous to the feelings of those great Diaspora leaders who sparked the flame of the Greek Revolution in 1821.

Nikos displayed another element of greatness: although he was a very rich man, you would never know it from just observing his conduct.

For Nikos, money was a means to accomplish certain goals in life.

It was not an end in itself.

He was the rich man who remained true to himself and his humble origins. He lived a life of service to Hellenism and as a fighter in the struggle for the liberation of his homeland.

And he did what he could to that end – like another Greek Cypriot giant, my late friend George Paraskevaides.
Ladies and gentlemen, I knew Nikos since we were young students in New York fighting the Greek junta.

From those days on, he never sought laurels.

I remember that when we organized the event for the 100th anniversary of the founding of the Ethnikos Kirix, we decided to award the Patriotism Prize to Philip Christopher as the person who best symbolized the struggle of his Cypriot Homeland against the Turkish invader.

When I met with Nikos before the event, I told him of our decision, but I explained to him that we had thought of honoring him, but we ended up choosing Philip. He was a like a child in his delight over our choosing Philip.
That was Nikos Mouyiaris.

Ladies and gentlemen, an ancient Greek had said that “a society becomes great when older people plant trees despite the fact that they know that they will never rest in their shade.”

This was the ways Nikos operated. For example, he founded the Hellenic American Leadership Council, which is led by Endy Zemenides with great skill and effectiveness.

Nikos left life without seeing his homeland cliberated; nevertheless, his efforts honored Cyprus, and elevated her.

And he taught by his example what kind of life is really worth living.

He followed Plato’s command to Crito: “our country is more to be valued and higher and holier far than mother or father or any ancestor, and more to be regarded in the eyes of the gods and of men of understanding.”

May the memory of Nikos Mouyiaris live forever.


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