Cyprus Mail
Guest ColumnistOpinion

Learning the lessons from our history

By Nicos Rossos

Cyprus has no continuous history of its own, we were continuously conquered by the strongest powers in our area mainly for strategic purposes to serve their own interests.

In the course of 2,716 years, 19 different conquerors passed through Cyprus.

Our people suffered heavy taxes both in money and in kind and in forced employment. Men and women were sold as slaves and could only be freed with ransom.

President Makarios is known to have had second thoughts on his policies about Cyprus. This writer had contacts with him through the World Council of Churches which showed a keen interest in Cyrus and had sent a representative, Father Tsetsis to Cyprus.

I visited President Makarios some time before his death in 1977, when his office was still at the Press and Information Office because the Presidential Palace was disused. He told me then that he had regretted his policies.

The history of Cyprus teaches us that we must endow ourselves with much wisdom to reverse the course of our history and to prevent any further occupations.

First and foremost we must solve the outstanding disagreements about the Cyprus problem.

The international community headed by the secretary-general of the United Nations call upon us to solve our differences now. No one can guarantee we shall find such a solidarity again from the international community. The refugees must return to their homes, foreign military forces must leave Cyprus and the military guarantees abolished.

A few words for our compatriots, the Turkish Cypriots. An international force is what is needed not only for the “protection” of Turkish Cypriots from any attack but for the protection of Cyprus from any possible future conqueror.

Secondly Turkey is now a target of terrorist attacks, one cannot guarantee that the Turkish military may not be attacked by terrorists from outside Cyprus.

We cannot change our geographical position therefore we cannot rule out the possibility that our history will repeat itself. We therefore have to create conditions for the prevention of conditions for any further conquest.

Another significant lesson is unity. Many times disunity destroyed Cyprus. When King Onisilos revolted against the Persians, his own brother betrayed him and helped the Persians.  The City of Amathus became a strong and bitter enemy to him.  In King Xerxis’ navy a contingent from Paphos participated.  The City Kingdom of Curium, the most important next to Salamina while originally an ally, its king Stasanor later joined the Persians.  So after an age of freedom the Cypriots become again the slaves of the Persians.

Had the Cyprus city kingdoms joined together it is doubtful if anyone could have conquered Cyprus.

How united are we today? How much do the political parties contribute to the solution of the Cyprus problem? Political opposition is carried to the extreme.  Let us learn finally from our history.

 Nicos Rossos is an economist

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