Evil and humanity in Cyprus…

Evil resides on the island with us. Evil has arms, legs, a head – it walks, it talks, it makes friends, it mixes with us… Evil is in the form of human being. Evil is in the form of a retired teacher, residing in Lefkonico and Limassol… The one who resides in Lefkonico and the one who used to teach in Limassol have many things in common: They were involved with rape in 1974. The one who used to teach in Limassol has the worst possible record: he was also involved in mass killings in Maratha… Evil has no nationality, no passport, no identity card: Evil is beyond nationality, beyond check points, beyond partition… Evil has arms and legs, it walks, it talks, it has a safe home in Cyprus because no one dares touch it. People fear evil so they keep away and do not really think that with their silence, they have been giving their `silent consent` to evil. Evil resides in Epiho in the form of human being, building apartments and renting houses… The evil `person` from Epiho was also involved with rape and mass killings in Palekythro. But he resides comfortably on this island because no one dares touch him. The only time he almost got a heart attack was when the checkpoints opened in 2003 and during the Annan Plan campaigns… He was seriously considering selling everything he had and moving to Turkey – he knows what he has done and had some `fear` in his heart for a short time but now that 12 years has gone by since the opening of the checkpoints, he feels comfortable as before because he has understood that no one touches the evil… He can sleep safe and sound…
Evil resides in the form of the owner of a famous company in Nicosia, having being hired as a sniper years ago, coming to this island to kill those that the underground leadership did not like. Killing a very young journalist in a barber shop while he was shaving… No one dares touch him and he lives comfortably in this land of scars… Evil resides in Famagusta in the form of human being, walking, talking, still threatening – writing poetry and reading it out loud… This evil `person` was in the gardens of Perdjana in Varosha and what happened that day made one person go crazy but not him – he keeps his senses and even writes poetry, thinking of himself as a `hero`…
Our land has a scarface, hidden under the beauty, the sun, the sea, the brightness of the colours… Evil is everywhere – north and south – because this is its land. But there is also mercy, compassion and humanity that managed to survive on this land… Humanity also has a human face and despite all the fear, it manages quietly to seep through the soil – it is fragile and needs help and encouragement to show its face to us… Humanity is not as bold as evil, it hides under the shadows, it has camouflage and only if you encourage it, it might come out to show its beautiful colours – colours of love and friendship, colours of the heart of humans who have helped each other in drastic times – it too has no passport, no identity, it is there, hidden in the puzzle of broken Cyprus, you just need to look for the pieces and try to bring them together to fit in order to understand how we can survive on this land of evil and humanity…
Humanity resides in Lapithos and calls me one night to tell me about the burial site of two human beings…
`It had rained a lot` he says, `and there came out two skeletons, on the junction of this building…`
He explains to me where this junction is…
`I can show it to you` he says…
`Why are you so sure?`
`Because at that time, I took out the big bones and threw them in the river bed… At that time, there was no sensitivity about `missing persons` – all those years ago because this happened in 1978-79… But there remains the hands and the feet and other bones, the ribs for instance… I realize now that I can help two families of two `missing persons` by telling you about this burial site…They were two Greek Cypriot soldiers, from the way they dressed this was what I understood…`
I thank humanity from Lapithos for this… I will go and visit him and he will show me the burial site…
Humanity from another village invites me to dinner and we sit and eat and talk… His wife and wonderful daughter and daughter in law have cooked many things – I cannot eat too much – I am simply mesmerized by their humanity… He tells me about a place in Tseri, a small stream called Almiros…
`In 1964 a Greek Cypriot from Latsia was killed by some Turkish Cypriots around the Paphos Gate in Nicosia. As `revenge` some Greek Cypriots from Latsia would kidnap one or two buses going to Paphos from Nicosia and those inside the bus were taken to Tseri and killed and buried next to the stream Almiros. We only heard about it after some time but we don’t know the exact location of the burial… But if the Cyprus Missing Persons’ Committee can investigate the area around Almiros, perhaps they can find something…`
The bus he is talking about had been kidnapped on the 30th of April 1964 from Latsia. The people `missing` from the bus going to Paphos were Mehmet Sinan, Pembe Mehmet Sinan, Mehmet Ahmet, Kamil Mehmet and Fezile Ali – two women and three men… With the help of humanity perhaps we will be able to find their remains to return to their families who have been waiting for the last 51 years to hear news of them…
Another human face calls me from Limassol… She has been reading my articles in POLITIS and one in particular refreshed her memories…
`There was something we used to talk about at home, a tragic story that my father had witnessed in Paralimni… Both my mother and father used to talk about this with sadness.
My father used to work at night in 1964 and had actually seen those Turkish Cypriots taken to Paralimni to be executed. By accident he had been a witness to this. He died years ago… I always used to ask my mother where they might have been buried, those Turkish Cypriots kidnapped from Famagusta and taken to Paralimni to be killed. My mother always used to tell me that it is impossible to find them now, they had been buried next to a very high building in Paralimni… When I read last week in POLITIS in your article that a Greek Cypriot reader showed a burial site to you and you showed it to the Cyprus Missing Persons’ Committee and they started digging and found the remains of three `missing` Turkish Cypriots in Paralimni, I felt relief… I hope that the remains of the other `missing` Turkish Cypriots would also be found in Paralimni…. Please continue what you are doing because this is good both for Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots…`
Yes, evil resides in Cyprus but so does humanity… Let us encourage humanity so that it shows its face more often so that we can all smile and have faith in a better future on this land…

20.2.2015

Photo: Digging of the well in Paralimni that one of my Greek Cypriot readers have shown…

(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 15th of March, 2015 Sunday.

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