Cyprus Mail
CM Regular Columnist Opinion

Fifty years later, we still don’t accept what we did in 1963

By Loucas Charalambous

YESTERDAY was the 50th anniversary of the blackest day in the modern history of Cyprus.

If we Greek Cypriots realised the role the events of December 21, 1963, played in our history, every year on this day we should go to the moat that surrounds the Venetian wall in Nicosia (which we should have re-named ‘wall of tears’) and hit our head on it, just like the members of the Jewish faith do at the ruins of the temple of Solomon.

There is no similar event in the history of any other country. On that day, the head of state, using an irregular and illegal army he set up and armed, launched an attack on his own state and destroyed it. In the space of a few hours he had split it into two parts.

The saddest thing is that not only did we learn nothing from that stupid blunder – we have not even realised the lasting harm we did to our country – but we still view the story as a heroic fight instead of feeling some shame.

It requires an incredible level of nerve, for the state broadcaster to present the events of 1963 as supposed resistance against the Turkish ‘rebellion’, a rebellion that exists only in the imagination of the journalists of the CyBC and of some of the surviving protagonists of this unforgivable, blood-stained story.

In reality it was a Makarios rebellion, but nobody dares say such a thing. There is nothing more infuriating than the idiotic shows, usually broadcast during these days by CyBC’s radio and television stations, in which some of the protagonists of the events, such as Nicos Koshis, Christodoulos Christodoulou, Vassos Lyssarides and others give their triumphant version of what happened.

I do not blame them for their actions. Most, apart from Lyssarides, were immature and irresponsible youths in their twenties who had been led on by a callow, 50-year-old monk – Archbishop Makarios. They did not know what they were doing, unaware of their actions. But what is less forgivable is that even today, half a century later, they carry on pretending that they are still unaware of the irreparable damage their actions had caused the country.

In a way this is to be expected. What I find very difficult to accept is the irresponsibility of CyBC’s big-wigs who continue to perpetuate the myths, massacring historical truth.

This column has mentioned the events of December 1963 many times in the past. The Akritas organisation (with Makarios as its invisible leader, as Christodoulou revealed a few years ago) embarked on armed attacks against Turkish Cypriots, having first stepped up the tension between the two communities by placing a bomb at the monument to EOKA hero, Marcos Drakos at Paphos Gate and setting fire to the Ayios Kasianos primary school.

Plans to set up the Akritas organisation had been set in motion just six months after the establishment of the Cyprus Republic, and among its policy objectives, drafted by Tassos Papadopoulos (according to the late Glafcos Clerides’ testimony) was the overturning of the Zurich-London agreements which established the Cyprus Republic – in other words the dismantling of the state.

These are the facts which have been conclusively supported by documents and testimonies by members of the organisation. One of the members, former officer Takis Chrysafis, had the guts to tell the truth about the Akritas organisation, revealing that he had personally heard then government minister Polycarpos Yiorkadjis giving instructions for the bomb to be placed at the Marcos Drakos monument on December 3, 1963.

Only the CyBC bosses and the self-styled chieftains of 1963, who have not grown up yet, are still repeating the myth about the Turkish rebellion, when they should be at Nicosia’s Venetian wall, every year on this day, banging their heads against it seeking to absolve their sins.

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