By Bejay Browne
THE CYPRUS Green party will host an event to mark the work of a Turkish Cypriot peace pioneer in Paphos next week.
Memories, a documentary by Panikos Neokleous highlights the life and work of Dr Ihsan Ali, who was born in 1904 in Vretsia in Paphos, and will be shown at the Paphos house of art and literature on November 8.
“Ihsan Ali was a medical doctor who was heavily involved in promoting peaceful dialogue and he was way ahead of his time. This documentary is bilingual – Greek and English – and is a free event which is open to the public,” Peyia councilor and green party member Linda Leblanc said.
“I believe that he worked closely with the Greek Cypriots and helped to save a number of them from the Turkish Cypriots, this was in the 1960s – before the troubles of 1974,” she added.
Ali died in 1978 but is still hailed as a pioneer of peace by many.
According to a foundation set up in his name, Dr Ihsan Ali denounced Turkey’s partitionist policy and opposed Denktash’s campaign for division and isolation of the two communities in Cyprus.
Leblanc said: “It’s important to remember the people who believed in a peaceful community which would be of benefit to Cyprus as a whole. People now need this message more than ever, they need to know that progress is being made and that we are building on the great work that these pioneers did before.”
Ali is quoted as saying: “It is to the benefit of both communities to try to live together amicably, as they have done in the past”.
After graduating from the University of Geneva Ali set up a medical practice in Paphos in 1934, where he worked for many years as a doctor. He was involved in politics and the local Paphos community, where he became a municipal councilor, the chairman of numerous clubs and also founded the Turkish Cypriot Cultural Society.
In 1970, he was appointed by President Makarios adviser to the President and said that his ideal was to make Cyprus the ‘Switzerland’ of the Middle Eastern region – and a place where all “Cypriots whatever language they spoke, religion and ethnic origin, considered their island as their home country.”
Memories will be screened on Friday November 8 at 7.30pm at the Paphos House of Art and Literature, Athinas Street, Paphos. Free entrance. For further information contact the Cyprus Green Party on 26 911692