Fifty-nine years ago this month, on May 23, 1958, Savvas Menikos, an Akel newspaper distributor, was captured by an Eoka group which had beaten him and tied him on a tree in the yard of a church in Lefkoniko. They accused him of being a traitor because of his refusal to accept Eoka’s authority and called the crowd to stone him to death.
That May 1958 was the first violent strike against the left both as a class and as a bicommunal movement that went on until 1974. Menikos was one of the many victims of Grivas’ paranoia against the left.
In May 1958 alone, apart from Menikos, another four people were murdered by Eoka, Kyriakos Patatas, Demetris Matsoukos, Andreas Sakkas and Panayiotis Stilianou. According to official data from the colonial authorities, Eoka executed a total of 203 Greek Cypriots, though this tactic was not representative of the entirety of the right-wing.
Almost 60 years later, the assassins, and those who adhere to the same ideology continue to be treated as heroes by the state. The spirit of Menikos and other victims the history books have never written of, should forever haunt the consciences of those who built their political careers on Afxentiou, Matsis and Evagoras. As long as the truth regarding Cyprus’ recent history is not told, the wounds from the past will never heal. The spirit of reconciliation and peace demands this truth.
Antonis Michael, Nicosia