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The Queen is Dead, But Cypriots Weren’t Mourning

Not having any royalty, apart from the deposed King Psycho, most Americans could only watch with befuddlement at the sight of the Mute North Koreans scene in the United Kingdom where most of the country stood silent and waited in line up to a day to view the coffin of Queen Elizabeth II.

Stoic as they are, the Brits still shed tears over the loss of their beloved Queen, but her memory was not so fondly handled in some of their former colonies around the world, including Cyprus.

That’s because she sat on her hands and didn’t issue Royal pardons to stop the hanging of nine men rebelling against the British occupation the island, which lasted from 1914-60, where British soldiers tortured even children.

That was revealed in 2018 when the British government fought a suit from 34 elderly Greek-Cypriots who claimed they were tortured when they were youngsters from 1955-59, experiencing having cigarettes put out in their butts, simulated executions, and a metal contraption causing eyes to bleed.

Where was the Queen then, picking out a hat from her Alice in Wonderland collection? She didn’t venture into politics but she should have gotten into humanity, even if having limited powers, and just rolled out for ceremonies.

The British during their heyday of Colonialism were used to having subjects they treated as objects and on Cyprus she is blamed for doing nothing, and many Greek-Cypriots spit on her legacy.

In a piece for The Irish Times, writer Michael Jansen said of her passing, while the lines grew longer to see the wooden box in which she was placed, that he and a British friend on the island “were accosted and loudly cursed by a Greek-Cypriot as loyal subjects of the Queen.”

When British friends on holiday in a Cypriot hill village greeted an acquaintance, he told them, “I feel sorry for the death of your queen, but don’t expect sympathy from Greek Cypriots,” he wrote.

It must have been strange, as the British are used to looking down on other peoples while plundering their countries and stealing their treasures and cultural artifacts to display, having only a Kidney Pie museum otherwise.

The Queen didn’t intervene to stop the hangings of men who were guilty of wanting freedom for their homeland, the last of them to die being poet Evagoras Pallikarides – then 19 – sentenced to death for having a non-functioning weapon.

The nine – and four other Cypriot resistance fighters who died of wounds suffered in battling the British – are in a cemetery in Nicosia’s central prisons, and are visited regularly by Greek Cypriot schoolchildren, Jansen noted.

A sign proclaiming “the brave man’s death is no death at all,” is on display with photographs of the men, so don’t wave any British flags on the island – where the British have military bases but didn’t move to stop a Turkish invasion in 1974.

There was mourning on Cyprus for the Queen, of course, even from misguided Greek-Cypriots who saw her as a rather harmless figure, although if not born into royalty would have perhaps been selling jewelry at Marks & Spencer.

Cyprus being a former colony and all, there are as many as 90,000 Brits living there, including in the Turkish-Cypriot occupied north where they bought homes stolen from Greek-Cypriots expelled during the invasion.

The Brits on the island must have kept to themselves during the 10-day mourning period decreed in the United Kingdom, and rightfully so. She was their Queen but not the island’s.

Apparently believing he, too, was a subject of the Queen, President Nicos Anastasiades offered condolences and tweeted: “Our thoughts are with the Royal Family and the people of the United Kingdom.”

Well, his thoughts, but not of many Cypriots, and good thing because if you could read those minds you’d recoil at the enmity many feel, and it was on display when she attended the 1993 Commonwealth Summit in the city of Limassol.

Greek-Cypriot doctor Harris Aristidou smashed the windshield of one of the two royal Rolls-Royce limousines parked in a police garage, said The Irish Times piece, and in the capital, the Queen and Prince Philip were jeered and told to “Go home!” by angry Cypriots.

In May of this year there was such hostility from some Greek-Cypriots that a concert celebrating her Platinum Jubilee was shifted from the ancient theater at Curium to the British base at Episkopi.

Curiously, Yiannis Spanos, President of Association of National Organization of Cypriot Fighters (EOKA) told the Associated Press that, we respect the dead even if in life they proved to be our enemies.”

But he said she was “held by many as bearing responsibility” for the “island’s tragedies,” particularly for not granting pardons, and soccer fans weren’t so diplomatic when asked to observe a moment of silence.

That was at a game between Omonoia Nicosia and Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol in the Europa League, where before the kickoff players and referees stood at the center circle.

“In honor of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth, please stand for a moment of silence in her memory,” an announcer said, drawing jeers, catcalls, and boos stronger than at any Yankees-Red Sox game, the crowd not wanting to do so.

“Well done Omonoia,” a fan commented on a TikTok video of the incident, and another added: “Respect to the Omonoians.” God Save The Queen.



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