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Cyprus

Opinion divided over Queen’s charity concert

file photo: britain's queen elizabeth marks her official birthday in windsor
A file photo shows Britain's Queen Elizabeth

The charity concert to mark the Queen’s platinum Jubilee and the friendship between Britain and Cyprus organised by the British bases at Kourion on June 2, has come under renewed fire with one charity that was due to benefit withdrawing its support.

Former Diko vice president and presidential candidate Giorgos Kolokasides had already said on Wednesday that Cyprus was still suffering from the remnants of English colonial rule and that the plans to celebrate Queen Elizabeth’s platinum jubilee should be cancelled.

On Friday socialist Edek joined the bandwagon, saying that the event was unacceptable.

Queen Elizabeth II was head of state during Eoka’s 1955-1959 liberation struggle from colonial rule and she was signatory to the death sentence by hanging of nine Eoka fighters, the party said.

“How can we honour a country’s head of state bearing responsibility for our country’s predicament, the Turkish occupation and whose actions seek legitimisation of its military bases on the island rather than seeking a just solution to the Cyprus problem,” a statement said.

Moreover, charitable organisation Little Heroes, which was slated as a beneficiary for some of the proceeds, has withdrawn.

Disy MEP and founder, Loucas Fourlas told the Cyprus Mail that the organisers of the concert had asked the anti-cancer society Pasykaf to recommend two Cyprus-based charitable organisations to include as beneficiaries, and Pasykaf had recommended Little Heroes and the One Dream One Wish foundation, also a children’s charity.

“When the SBA’s [bases] administration informed Little Heroes about the event, it was not communicated that it was being organised in honor of the Queen’s platinum Jubilee and her close support for the British Armed Forces. Instead, we were told that this was only a charity concert. After friends alerted us to the event’s actual content and reason for being organised, we respectfully rescinded our interest,” he said.

One Dream One Wish, foundation on the other hand, maintains its interest.

“We are not politicians we are a charitable organisation…charitable activities have nothing to do with politics. They are borderless. As far as humanitarian issues are concerned, we all exist under the same sky,” president of the organization Giorgos Penintaex told Phileleftheros.

He added: “Our organisation is neither among the event’s organisers nor will I participate in it [the organising]…I only have one thing in mind: to help children in need.”

Queen Elizabeth’s first and only visit to Cyprus took place in 1993 to attend a Commonwealth heads of state meeting. Whilst on a visit to Nicosia to receive the golden key to the city she was greeted with a rowdy protest with demonstrators changing: “Go Home”.

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