The issue of political violence in Cyprus, and of its causes, remains still a semi-censored subject. In comparison with the past there has been, of course, progress inside each community, in the discussion of the crimes which have been committed against members of the other community. But also of the violence against members of the same community on the basis of ideological differences – and this involves the violence perpetrated by sections of the Right/extreme Right in each community against the Left. But despite the relative relaxation and violation of the the taboos of implicit censorship, the whole issue is still under a form of a shadow: every time that the issue comes up, a section of the editors of the Right in the media reacts strongly, trying [with a variety of rheotirics as we will see below] to re-impose a veil of silence. In gthe Greek Cypriot community, for example, the only political crimes which are relatively openly talked about are the crimes [again of the extreme Right] of EOKA b during the period during and before 1974 – and of course the crimes of the extreme Right wing of the other community. An indicative comical and amusing phenomenon is the attitude of some commentators who point to Kavazoglou’s murder as characteristic of Turkish Cypriot nationalism;s practices [and they are defending of course Kavazoglou and condemning TMT], while at the same time ,they are the very same people who try to censor the discussion on themurders of Greek Cypriot leftists from analogous extreme Right wingers in the Greek Cypriot community. Because political violence had two forms in the period of generalized violence between 1956 -1974: bicommunal violence [against individuals or groups of the other community] and ideological violence inside each community. The effort at censorship has, of course, political and material/economic [and other related] motives Η προσπάθεια λογοκρισίας έχει φυσικά να κάνει και με πολιτικά και υλικά συμφέροντα – it is characteristic that despite so many crimes committed by the Greek Cypriot extreme Right wing, nobody has been prosecuted in court – not even for the crimes, murders etc committed during the coup of July 15th, 1974, against people who defended democracy and who are recognized officially as “heroes of the Resistance”. Still not even one of the murderers has been judicially prosecuted.
The exploration of the subject doesn’t involve only issues of political or scientific understanding, but also the issue of the real dimensions and causes of the violence. Because apart from the violence, during the period 1956-74, we also had heroic efforts at resistance to violence – non armed resistance and everyday stories o human solidarity. In addition violence wasn’t uniformy spread geographically – on the contrary, if one studies its geographical contextualization, there seems to be a pattern on the basis of reprisals for example in certain areas. This has been discussed already in cases of bicommunal violence [for example in relation to 1958 and 1964 in villages in north Cyprus]. The geographical contextualization of violence offers, in this sense a more balanced and fair picture, but also an understaning of the limits of violence – thereby and of the resistance in areas where violence was controlled or didn’t occur at all. It is k nown and documented by now, for example, that Grivas’ orders for attacks against the Greek Cypriot Left were not obeyed to a large degree beyond the area of eastern Cyprus/ the Famagusta district where the attacks were concentrated, or by members of EOKA such as Afxentiou and Matsis . In the following analysis there is an effort to analyze the feographical concentration of violence in eastern Cyprus by linking the two types of viololence – bicommunal and ideological. The result is impressive – it seems that the worst crimes [both ideological and and bicomunal] as far as the Greek Cypriots are concerned, happened in the same area, as can be seen from the map. From Lefkoniko to Aloa. Consequently the study of the specific area can be revealing of the whole scene of what happened and who were the perpetrators of the crimes [as causes but also as individuals].And this example may be more broadly useful as an indicator since the crimes in this area [the level of barbarism and the quantitative magnitude of the victims] has no counterpart.
It points also to the possiblity that we are talking about the same people, the same attitude which has taken hold on a specific group/local network which permited and legitimized this kind of violence.
The cover up for the crimes: the rhetorical strategy of censoring the facts and the strategy of transferring the crimes of the few and the cowards, on everybody…
Every time the apologists of the crimes against innocent people of the other community, try to cover up for the crimes, and too maintain or invoke a climate/regime of censorship around the respeonsibility of those who committed the crimes, the invoke/refer to a non existent accusation/allegation against the “whole community”. Thus when there is an issue in the GreekCyrpiot community about the muder of Tukrish Cypriot civilians [in Tohni or the vilalges Maratha-Santalaris-Aloa], the typical argument for censorship is tha such a discussion is an effort to create guilt for the whole community of the Greekcypriots, who are also victims etc. Initially of course, in previous years, the effort was to censor the issue altogether and render it non existent. L.Mavros, for example, a typical apologists and censor prone journalist, has been involved in several such efforts in the past – the case of 2009-10 was classic: he [alongside others in the Right and extreme Right media network] embarked on a campaign against the historian Rolandos Katsiaounis in an effort to censor the reference to the mass grave of Turkish Cypriot victims in Ayios Vasilios in 1964. The insistence was bordering on the comical because the issue [outside the censorship of the greek Cypriot media] had been an internationally documenrted fact, and because by 2009-10 the fact was acknowledged even by the Greek Cypriot official side in the list of missing persons. Another journalist, of the same network/opinions/attitude attacked Mr Katsiaounis because he referred to the 32 turksih Cypriot abducted in MAY 1964 IN Varosha. The journalist called tha fact [also documented and acknoweldeged in the official list of missing persons] as “coffeesho talk”. And this is a highranking editor in major newspaper. Andobviously he was ignorant of the events but also of the official lists aceepted by both communities. Thius is how censorship worked initially. By denying realithy and casting a veil of silence to what most people knew anyway. But official discousrse and its media gatekeepers launced attacks against anybody who would dare talk. But eventualy as the discussion broke through the censoriship veil, it also revealed that the effort to maintain the regime of silence wasn’t a universal attitude among Greekcypriot journalists, but a speicifc attitude among certainsectors with ideological or political gulit about what happened in 1974. The wanted and want to censor to avoid the debate of the cobsequyenses of certain forms of rhetoric and practice. And of course hiding the guilthy is part of a broader effort of greek Cypriot Right wing to cover up for its broader crimes – even in the Greek Cypriot community.
When the first line of censorship fails [and this had to do both with the emergence of challenging voices but also with the documentation of official acceptance of the list of missing persons by both communioties] then, those who want to avoid the public discussion adopt second rhtoerical strategy – that such a discussion would be an attack against thwe whole community, blaming it for those crimes. The political and ideological guilt of some people is understandable. But the public discussion of the crimes has nothing to do with the “whole communitu”. On the contrary. It involves only those who committed the crimes – who were obviously few, and belonged to particular ideological positions. The whole community gets blamed only and when those responsible for the crimes, are hidden and thus their actions get covered up as collective. But they were not. Those people who commited the crimes, espeicailly those in Auygust 1974, couldn’t have of any other ideological priodispositon, other than memebers of supporters of EOKA b. It was those who claimed to have power then and who had the opportunity to roam around and kill, torture etc. They did it to Greek Cyrpiots in the following thw coup also. And even at the end of August they had the audacity to murder a socialist leader in the centre of Nicosia or to shoot and kill at mass demonstrations in support of the reteurnh of Makarios in Spetember of that year. And nobody has been arrested for those crimes in the centre of major cities. The fact that those crimes of 1974, functioned actually like a second coup for the Greek Cypriot community, giving the excuse for the expansion of the Turkish invasion way beyond the initial positions of the Turkish army in July, is of course censored also. It is indicative of the ideological and political allies of those who try to censor the debate. If actually we were to talk of “collective interests” of the Greek Cypriot community, those who committed the crimes at Maratha-Santalaris-Aloa should be sentenced as people who provided help to the “Enemy” to legitimize the advance of its troops.
So my mother came to the cave, where we were hidden together with an armed greek Cypriot and she started calling her grandchildren with their names. If she hadn’t showed them the cave, they couldn’t have found it. But my children were there like rabbits, all came out of the cave when they heard their grandmother calling them. They did not realize the danger, since it was their grandmother Rahme who was calling them to get out, to slaughter them and burry them altogether in a dump. They rapped the women and some children had their heads cut.Their arms were tight in the back when they were found in mass graves. I wanted to get out of the cave but Kasim held me. Stay, he said, and I stayed back watching what was happening. I lost 60 family members in the mass slaughters of Maratha-Santalaris, including
The story of a shepherd from the village of Santalaris
The cowards, who dared not take public responsibility for their crimes, but who did not even have the elemental ethos to fight at least ...
Και αυτοί οι δολοφόνοι τους οποίους συγκαλύπτουν μερικοί ήταν εμφανώς δειλοί αν θα κρινουμε με την αξιολογική κλίμακα των πολέμων – δολοφόνησαν αμάχους, ενώ αλλού γίνονταν μάχες. Και δεν φαινεται να είχαν καν την αξιοπρέπεια να πολεμήσουν έστω όταν έφτασαν στις περιοχές που σκότωναν τους αθώους τα τουρκικά στρατεύματα. Η Αμμόχωστος έπεσε χωρίς πυροβολισμό. Ουσιαστικά οι ένοχοι των εγκλημάτων φόρτωσαν τις ατομικές τους ευθύνες σε άλλους – η πτώση της Αμμοχώστου ήταν και και αποτέλεσμα εκείνης της βλακώδους σφαγής αμάχων – και οι απολογητές προσπαθούν ακόμα να τους συγκαλύπτουν. Οι ενοχοι έχουν προφανώς υψηλή προστασία στα ΜΜΕ, ίσως όχι τόσο σαν άτομα, αλλά σαν εκφραστές μιας νοοτροπίας – και του φόβου ότι αν και όταν αναγνωριστούν αυτά τα εγκλήματα σαν μέρος μιας συγκεκριμένης νοοτροπίας και όχι σαν προϊόν ολόκληρης της κοινότητας [όπως θέλει να ισχυρίζεται ο αντίπαλος εθνικισμός] τότε η ενοχή θα αφορά και μια ιδεολογική θέση – και όχι όλους.... Και ίσως να είναι αυτό που ενεργοποιεί τα σύνδρομα συγκάλυψης ακόμα...
And these murderers whom some people disguise were obviously coward if we judge with the scale of the war - they killed civilians, while others were fighting. And they do not even seem to have had the dignity to fight even when they arrived in the areas that Turkish troops killed the innocent people. Famagusta fell without a shot. In fact, the culprits of the crimes burdened their individual responsibilities to others - Famagusta's fall was also the result of that stupid slaughter of civilians - and the apologists still try to conceal them. The guilty has obviously a high degree of protection from the media, perhaps not as individuals, but as the expression of a mentality - and the fear that if these crimes are recognized as part of a particular mentality and not as a product of the entire community [as the Rival nationalism] then the guilt will also concern an ideological position - and not all ... And maybe it is what activates the cover-up syndromes still...
What reveals the guilt that some people disguise even more is the relationship between crimes against Turkish Cypriots and at the expense of Greek Cypriots from far-right. And a geographical analysis of crimes shows that violence was not universal, but it expressed specific trends in specific places. There were no massacres of Turkish Cypriots everywhere. No murders of left-wing Greek Cypriots occurred everywhere. Thus, there is no collective responsibility – either of the Greek Cypriot community [for the attacks against the Turkish Cypriot] or of the Greek Cypriot right for the attacks on the left.
The eucalyptus in the church yard, where Menoikos was tight onto and murdered.
The map [the original insert in the relation with the villages and the wider area below] is indicative. It concerns the region of eastern Cyprus, where most of the crimes against the left were committed in 1958. And precisely in that area were the massacres against the Turkish Cypriots in the three villages. The most impressive is how close are the villages where the left-wing killings and the massacres of Turkish Cypriot civilians have taken place. The area in the outline includes the villages of Lefkoniko, Gypsou, Milia, Pigi [and in all four villages there were victims of the left in 1958] and the Turkish Cypriot villages Maratha, Santalaris and Aloa [where the massacre of the Turkish Cypriots took place]. In all these villages, crimes of the same tendency - the Greek Cypriot extreme right - took place. The fact that the area essentially concerns a kind of single space indicates that, either the same gang or a network of same people operated there. Those who forfeited this in 1958, those who feared of talking about the attrocities of the masked men then, paid in 1974 with their displacement - for the same gang apparently decided to commit another attack on the unarmed and to blow it up as soon as the Turkish army appeared, which used their crimes as an excuse to get ahead.
Ακόμα και οι συγκυρίες των δολοφονιών είναι χαρακτηριστικές:
Λευκόνοικο – δολοφονήθηκε στις 23 Μαΐου 1958 ο Σάββας Μένοικος με λιθοβολισμό στην αυλή της εκκλησίας του Λευκονοίκου. Οι μασκοφόροι ήταν τόσο δειλοί που τον έδεσαν και τον σκότωσαν. Δεν είχαν καν το έστω παραδοσιακό ήθος του «άντρα» να αναμετρηθούν μαζί με τον Μένοικο με ίσους όρους.
Even the circumstances of the killings are characteristic:
Lefkoniko - Savvas Meneos was stoned to death on May 23, 1958 in the courtyard of the church of Lefkonikos. The masked men were so coward that they tied him and killed him. They did not even have the traditional "man's" morality to confront with Menokos on equal terms.
Gypsou - the same night that Menoikos was murdered, in the nearby village, Dimitris Gesemis Matsoukos was also murdered [according to an eye witnesed], because he drove with his car people of the left in meetings. Apparently, Menoikos killers after his murder at Lefkoniko moved to Gypsou the same night.
Μηλιά – κατά την διάρκεια του Αυγούστου του 1958 [3 μήνες μετα τις δολοφονίες στο Λευκόνοικο και στην Γύψου] έγιναν μια σειρά από επιθέσεις ενάντια σε αριστερούς στην Μηλιά. Κατά την διάρκεια των εκδηλώσεων διαμαρτυρίας, στις 26 Αυγούστου οι μασκοφόροι δολοφονήσαν 2 γυναίκες – την Δεσπούλα Κατσούδη 13 χρονών και την Μαρία Χαρίτου μητέρα 3 παιδιών.
Milia - during August 1958 [3 months after the killings at Lefkoniko and Gypsou] a series of attacks against the left took place in Milia. During the protests of August 26, the masked men murdered two women - Despoula Katsoudis, 13, and Maria Charitou, a mother of three.
It is noteworthy that May [6/5/1958] by K. Patatas from Pigi was also killed, as he returned from Milia to his village - obviously the gang had begun its action before]. No one was apologized for those Crimes. The left went out into the streets and resisted the mask rejime. Many who disagreed, were silent. A little later, in the 1960 elections, when a right-wing journalist [in Nicosia] Pharmakidis wrote against the then right-wing candidate, Makarios, he was abducted. And when he left free, he justified the kidnapping. He had compromised with terrorism. The culprits had the same mindset.
But in the Famagusta area the same crimes will be repeated in 1974 .... In 1974 the victims were Turkish Cypriots - in 1958 they were Greek Cypriots. When some have tolerated the stoning of a man tied to a tree, they had opened the way to crime. Violence was also expressed in the murder of the two women in Milia in August 1958 ... The murder of unarmed, innocent people, and in horrible ways, was "legitimized" in the perception of some ... And so when the coup brought the invasion as a consequence, this mentality and its actors went to rape, to kill civilians ... Such "fighters" they were. And of course, like with the coup, they offered Turkey the excuse for the second invasion.
Photo of a class of the Maratha primary school. None of these children is alive, they are all buried in a mass grave in Maratha. In the back row to the right is Hűseyin Erbay’s borther, whose hands were tight in the back and he was beheaded.
The excerpts for the Turkish Cypriots' massacres are from Sevgül Uludağ's book "The oysters that lost their pearls", a story of witnesses and relatives of victims of the invasion, Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots. The photograph of the church in Lefkoniko, where the most horrible crime of the EOKA masked men was committed, is from M. Michael's book "Double-front fight".