The typewriter of a 21-year-old Eoka fighter which was donated to the Eoka struggle museum was presented on Monday by his distant relative, Defence Minister Michalis Giorgallas.
Makis Giorgallas from Marathovouno, Famagusta was killed in the Zoopigis battle on the side of Grigoris Afxentiou on December 30, 1956.
His typewriter was offered by Kyriaki Stavrou Pamboridou to be added together with his other personal items exhibited at the national struggle museum in the square near the Archbishopric in Nicosia. Pamboridou was back then using the typewriter to type notes and messages of the organisation.
Presenting the item on Tuesday, the defence minister said the typewriter is now a “piece of collective historical heritage”.
The Eoka 1955 to 1959 struggle determined the development of modern Cyprus history, Giorgallas declared.
“The relics and photographs exhibited in the museum, together with the texts listed, the leaflets, the organisation’s proclamations and orders, are irrefutable witnesses of the historical events and the valuable contribution of all the fighters and the fallen.”
Those exhibits, the defence minister added, help preserve the historical memory and serve as a reminder of the duty and responsibility of present and future generations of Cyprus. Eoka fighters, he said, “turned to the sacred call of the homeland for liberation and the restoration of justice”.
“However ordinary an object may appear, the historical weight it carries and the valuable information that can be extracted from it make it a legacy for historians and researchers of the present and the future,” he noted.
According to the minister, the Eoka struggle was a time when the humanity of every Greek Cypriot was measured by his love for his homeland and his fellow man, his selfless contribution to the struggle, his bravery and self-sacrifice for the achievement of a sacred cause.
The typewriter is displayed next to the fighter’s fake identity under the name ‘Panayiotis Ioannou’ from Kontea together with his correspondence book, three Sunday school books, his personal diary and two books he owned, namely the Platonic dialogue Protagoras and Euripides’ tragedy Iphigenia in Taurus.
“The EOKA fighters, although they had the choice of avoiding the mortal danger inherent in their involvement in the organisation, nevertheless chose the difficult path of service, duty, and sacrifice.
“A life in which dreams had no expiration date. And freedom, the foundation of which was national survival and dignity, was acquired through noble death,” Giorgallas noted.
Makis Giorgallas was initiated in Eoka in 1954 and was killed in battle at just 21 years old on December 31, 1956. Some information about his biography presented the Deputy Minister of Culture Michalis Hatzigiannis during his own speech at the museum.
Hatzigiannis said that while Giorgallas was still a teenager, he showed leadership skills and led demonstrations. “He developed a rich activity in the Nicosia executive, was imprisoned and escaped. He joined the guerrilla group of Grigoris Afxentiou, who entrusted him with the organisation of intelligence in the villages of Kanavia, Omodos, Platres, Kleirou, Kakopetria and Evrychou. Alongside the counterintelligence he was helping Lena in the construction of bombs.”
Grigoris Afxentiou said about him “Don’t think of him as thin and weak, he is very strong in soul”. In matters of arms and ammunition manufacture, transportation and other problems of the organisation, he had admirable judgment, despite his young age, Hatzigiannis said.
Giorgallas took a bullet in the heart during the attack by the British army at the Limassol village of Zoopigi. He was fighting next to Grigoris Afxentiou and died praising Greece. “I’m dying, I’m dying! Long live Greece!” were his final words.