I am writing to you as both a lover of free speech and a lover of our beautiful island.
I came across an article on your website, written by George Koumoullis. Naturally, I followed the link posted on Facebook as I often read your articles. I myself have worked for an online news site in the past and thus understand the need for journalists to express their views freely. But there is a manner and level of respect that must be upheld.
It is very rare that I read an article and feel personally offended – and I have certainly never written to complain because I champion freedom of speech and the fluidity of debate.
However, as a Cypriot and member of the global Greek community, the accusations of this article left me stunned. Along with hundreds of thousands of other Greek Cypriots, my ancestors suffered from Ottoman rule and my family were directly affected by the barbarity shown in the invasion of 1974, many of whom were tortured and whose bodies were never returned.
To be clear, I hold absolutely no resentment for Mr Koumoullis’ alternative viewpoint. However, his relentless accusations that the Cypriot population are partially to blame for the absence of independence, his complete disregard of the vast majority of Greek Cypriots who saw Turkish Cypriots as their brothers prior to 1974 and his abhorrent claim that our archbishop is “raping” Greek and Cypriot history are both vile and without substantial evidence.
Whilst I recognise and champion Mr Koumoullis’ and every human being’s right to free speech, I must say that the manner in which he has carried out this article, as a Cypriot, is most saddening in light of the suffering experienced by so many Greek Cypriots from the actions of foreign governments.
I do not demand that any form of restriction is placed on Mr Koumoullis’ article but simply that in the future, your editors may consider that there is an entire generation of Greek Cypriots whose strife must, above all, be respected, no matter how freely we wish to speak.
Georgio Konstandi, via email