11 Οκτ 2014

Η ομιλία/χαιρετισμός Αναστασιάδη στην Αγγλική Σχολή στην επέτειο της Ανεξαρτησίας

[Address by the President of the Republic, Mr N. Anastasiades, at the English School on the occasion of CyprusIndependence]


Αν και τέτοιου είδους ομιλίες/χαιρετισμοί είναι βασικά τελετουργικοί, εντούτοις αποφασίσαμε να δημοσιεύσουμε την συγκεκριμένη ομιλία για δυο λόγους : κατ’ αρχήν την θεωρούμε ενδιαφέρουσα και άξια λόγου - και δεν την βρίσκαμε κάπου διαθέσιμη στο ίντερνετ, οπότε θεωρούμε ότι είναι σημαντικό να είναι δημόσια διαθέσιμη. Όσοι την άκουσαν/διαβάσαν την σχολίασαν σαν μια ενδιαφέρουσα τοποθέτηση γενικότερα αλλά και στη συγκεκριμένη συγκυρία. Το ειδικό της ενδιαφέρον αποτελεί και το δεύτερο σημείο για το οποίο δημοσιεύεται εδώ: είναι μια ομιλία σε ένα δικοινοτικό ακροατήριο οπότε ο ανώτατος αξιωματούχος της κυπριακής πολιτείας είναι αναγκασμένος να μιλήσει σε μια γλώσσα που απευθύνεται σε όλους του κύπριους – και αναπόφευκτα να αγγίξει και τα αμοιβαία «λάθη»-ευθύνες. Και όχι μόνο τις ευθύνες των «Άλλων». Σε αυτό το πλαίσιο η ομιλία είναι ενδιαφέρουσα και γιατί έγινε την περίοδο που το ΔΣ της σχολής [το οποίο ειρωνικά διόρισε η νυν κυβέρνηση] αφαίρεσε την μόνη μουσουλμανική αργία του σχολείου. Η αναφορά στην ιστορική πορεία του Σχολείου και στην αναπόφευκτη διακοινοτική του διάσταση, είναι και ένα ενδιαφέρον έμμεσο σχόλιο στην ρητορική που προσπαθούσε να αποφύγει το ζήτημα της προκατάληψης στην απόφαση του ΔΣ καταφεύγοντας το «δίκαιο της ανάγκης» και στην αποσπασματική (και άρα παραπλανητική) αναφορά στην ίδρυσή του σαν «χριστιανικού σχολείου». Είναι ενδεχόμενο λοιπόν η ομιλία/χαιρετισμός να ήταν και μια διαφοροποίηση – και ίσως η τάση για εκτόνωση της έντασης με την εισήγηση [όπως καταγράφεται στην επιστολή της Επίτροπου Διοίκησης μετά από την συνάντηση της με την επικεφαλής του ΔΣ της Σχολής] να θεσμοθετηθεί ως αργία η πρώτη μέρα του Μπαϊραμιού, να είναι μέρος της ευρύτερης αύρας, σαν πλαισίου, της συγκεκριμένης ομιλίας.
Η μετάφραση από το ΚΥΠΕ δεν περιλαμβάνει ολόκληρο το κείμενο, αλλά καλύπτει ένα μεγάλο μέρος. http://www.pio.gov.cy/moi/pio/pio.nsf/All/BDD5945E43E56ED0C2257D6C00322042?OpenDocument
Dear Chair and Members of the Board of Management, 
Dear Headmaster and Teachers, 
Dear Students,

It is a distinct honour to be at the premises of such an eminent school, which has a rich and proud history of more than one hundred years, and a great pleasure to address all of you today as we celebrate the occasion of the 54 years of the Independence Day of the Republic of Cyprus.

At the same time, I feel privileged that in this Assembly Hall I am provided with the rare opportunity to address all of my compatriots, Greek and Turkish Cypriots, Armenians, Maronites and Latins, as well as students from other countries.
Dear Students,

Taking into account the skills and professionalism of your educators, as well as your own academic excellence, I have no doubt that you are well-versed as regards the history of Cyprus, and, as such, I will not embark upon a detailed historical account of events that led to the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus, nor will I tire you with a long speech.

What I will attempt, is to take you on a brief, parallel journey that traces the history of the English School with respect to the history of the Republic of Cyprus.
This common journey commences in 1878 when the administration of Cyprus passed from the Ottoman Empire to Britain. The English School soon followed, when in 1900 it was founded by David Newham, who became Director of Education during the colonial rule and was also Headmaster of the School.

The school, up until 1960 operated under the colonial administration, establishing itself as an English-medium and inter-communal school with facilities for all pupils to practice their own form of religion.

In this respect, I wish to remind that by 1960 English was increasingly becoming the language of common interchange and there existed more than a 110 mixed villages in Cyprus, in which Greek and Turkish Cypriots peacefully co-existed.

In 1959, and following the campaign against British rule, a compromise settlement was reached through the London-Zurich agreements signed by Britain, Greece and Turkey, as well as representatives of the Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities.
As a result of the Agreements, Cyprus became an independent Republic on 16 August 1960, although its official celebration was moved on October the 1st.
The English School was similarly affected, since a Special Law was enacted the same year and passed control of the School to the Republic of Cyprus, which still oversees the operations of the School through a Board of Management, which is appointed by and is accountable to the Council of Ministers.

Up until 1974, and despite the outbreak of inter-communal fighting in 1963, the School continued serving all the communities of Cyprus, with several Boarding Houses which allowed pupils from all over the island to attend its classes.
It thus constituted a living and bright example of the aspiration of both communities, and particularly of the younger generation, to continue to collaborate, co-operate and live together as they had been doing for centuries. An aspiration that was also reflected by the still large number of mixed villages that remained throughout Cyprus.

Unfortunately, our island was to be tragically affected by the actions of our Motherlands through events that culminated in the Greek-Junta overthrow of President Makarios, and the Turkish invasion on 20 July 1974, with devastating consequences for Cyprus and all Cypriots.

However, we need to be honest and acknowledge that although the Cyprus problem has been decisively shaped by a number of external factors, we, the Cypriots, have also committed mistakes.

We must have the courage to admit that we have failed to adequately address the challenges posed by the growing tensions that infiltrated the two communities and resulted in a deterioration of inter-communal bonding.

The English School was not immune to the tragic events of 1974, as Turkish Cypriot pupils and teachers were forced to withdraw. Moreover, the influx of refugees from the occupied areas led to the Alks Boarding House being loaned to the Government, initially for one year, to set up a refugee school. The building continues to this day to house the Acropolis Gymnasium.

Dear Students,

As you are well aware, in April 2003 the first crossing points opened, providing the opportunity for the first time since 1974 to Greek and Turkish Cypriots to once more interact with each other.

The English School was yet again influenced by the historic developments. In September of 2003 it readmitted Turkish Cypriot students for the first time in 29 years.

Taking this opportunity, I am very pleased to observe that currently, more than 120 Turkish Cypriot students study at the School, while 3 Turkish Cypriot teachers are also employed. I do hope that these numbers will increase even further in the years to come.

Dear Chair and Members of the Board of Management, Dear Headmaster and Teachers,

You should feel deeply proud and honored that you serve a School which during its long-standing history retained its commitment to the education of all the communities in Cyprus, and upheld the principles of peaceful interaction and co-operation between the people of Cyprus, irrespective of gender, racial origin, religion or belief, and social and cultural background.

I do expect that you will actively continue promoting the noble principles that have distinctively characterized the English School.

At the same time, in our modern and globalised world, it is also very important that you should not only academically teach your students, but educate them to be open-minded and self-aware, to think outside the box, and, particularly, to challenge established perceptions.

Dear Students,

You deserve much more than a divided country and this is my duty as the President of the Republic of Cyprus: To reunite our country and provide the opportunity to your generation to live and create together, under conditions of prosperity, stability, security and safety.

This is my personal vision and I want to assure you that I will continue working tirelessly and with all my means to achieve it. I do hope that the leadership of the Turkish Cypriot community and, most importantly, Turkey will redress its recent provocations and undertake the necessary practical and substantial steps towards this end.
Concluding, and on this occasion of the celebration of the 54 years of the Independence of the Republic of Cyprus, I want to assure you that the Republic of Cyprus, which belongs to all its legal citizens, will continue developing and pursuing its policies in full respect of the fundamental values and principles of the European Union, of which the Republic of Cyprus is and will continue to be a member state.
Our aim, is that the evolution of the Republic of Cyprus, following the solution to be reached, will lead to the creation of a modern and functional EU member state that will respect democratic principles, human rights and fundamental freedoms of all its legal citizens, create the conditions for peaceful co-existence and joint collaboration, and provide a secure future for all generations to come.

Thank you, Ευχαριστώ, Tessekur Ederim.

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