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Seizure and devastation of Famagusta
 
The greatest crime and the greatest stupidity by the modern "civilised" world
By Dr. Vassos Th. Economou

My second visit to the area by the sea of the occupied town of Famagusta and my participation to the festivities organised by both the Greek Cypriots and the Turkish Cypriots to celebrate the holiday of "Kataklismos" scarred my soul for another time. I can definitely say that this year my presence there was more traumatic and more soul destroying from last year's. And this was because the whole atmosphere of the year before was better, more pleasant and more optimistic. As the years go by, and unfortunately the supporters of the separation know this very well and handle this excellently, the situation is going towards the definitive and irreversible de facto and at some stage to its acceptance as being a de jure bisection (partition).

I saw many faces from both sides with evident the signs of tiredness and disappointment. I did not detect the same mood and the same spontaneity that was there a year ago. Yes, each year leaves its marks. Thirty-one years in total until this day left so many marks that indelibly scarified our faces and souls.

I read a clear message in the eyes and souls of the people of Famagusta : No more festivals, singing and dancing! We are tired of the promises and of the we will, we will, we will. We are tired of chanting and slogans such as all refugees back to their homes and all settlers to leave. Awe want a solution now! No more we will, no more fanfares and well-sounding slogans, no more speeches and no more festivities.

The most depressing area on that beautiful beach with the golden sand is the point where the barbed wire was affixed, starting from the, at one time glorious, restaurant "Faliro" and going into the sea.

On this barbed wire, I read messages, written and placed there by miserable Famagustians who gazed from that depressing point with aching souls, desperation, anger and awe, the occupied, ruined but always-beautiful town. Each message that I read was a knife wound to my heart. I tried really hard to hold back my tears and I felt my heart trying to break its chains, and fly out of my chest.

What did the message say A powerful message broke down the last trenches of my resistance of being a "man" and my eyes were filled with tears. As it is God's habit the daylight begun to retrieve leaving the darkness of the night to spread out, same as in my soul, but I still wore my sunglasses. I wanted to continue to shed tears, or even cry as I felt so relieved.

The message read: "Open up, I left my soul in there".

In my mind flashed a scene 1 watched on the almighty television. Religious people from different countries around the world in order to feel the pain and suffering of the crucified Christ were whipping themselves until their flesh would bleed. While I was reading those simple, short and powerful messages, I whipped my soul there and then, on the golden sand of the most beautiful beach of the world. My tears were no tears of physical pain. They were tears of emotional pain from the merciless whipping of my soul.

I walked towards the area where the festivities were held and I met there some of the familiar, disappointed, scarred and getting old faces of Famagusta . I saw other tearful eyes no matter how hard they were trying to hide their tears. 1 saw a very well known Famagustian there who left the town at a very young age and now is residing in Larnaca. A remarkable man, educated, studious and a very successful business and family man. We had common views and approaches with reference to our occupied town and the solution of the Cyprus problem.

We met and talked in front of the bombed and since then destroyed by a missile hotel, from the third floor of which the body of a young employee was hanging out in 1974 and that tragic photograph circulated around the world.

Amongst other I told him that: "The seizure of Famagusta and in particular the continuance of this situation and its transformation into a ghost town, constitutes the greatest crime committed by Turkey and the greatest stupidity committed by the Cypriot governments of each time."

And there, as a typical neo-Cypriot, being a know-all and certain that my perfect views are not subject to improvement, he presented his interesting and may I dare to say more correct theory: "The seizure of Famagusta and in particular the continuance of this situation and its transformation into a ghost town, constitutes the greatest crime committed by the Cypriot governments of each time and the greatest stupidity committed by Turkey."

I am certain that a historian of the future shall write down in absolute clarity, that the seizure and continuing occupation of the fenced town of Famagusta and its transformation into a ghost town constitutes the greatest crime committed not only against Famagustians, not only against Cypriots but against all humanity.

It is the test

Famagusta is the test taken by all countries, and in particular Turkey, Cyprus, Greece, England, the United States of America and all the countries of the European Union on the subject of human rights, a subject so loved and respected by all and yet all scored marks below zero.

The sealed off town of Famagusta with the rusting barrels lying around together with objects for all use, of all sorts and origin, the enriched and adorned (by flowers) barbed wire, with the countless wild animals and serpents roaming for 31 years around the deserted and frill of weeds streets which at some time were throbbing and full of life and culture, is a shame for the whole world and in particular for those responsible for the unacceptable, inhuman and unnecessary fact and it indisputably constitutes the greatest crime and at the same time the greatest stupidity of the modern "civilised" world.

It would have been ideal if the actions for the termination of this unacceptable situation were coming mostly from the government. I do not have any hesitation claiming that the worst form of the inhuman invasion of the Turkish troops is the sad picture of the sealed off town of Famagusta today. The encirclement of the beautiful town of Evagoras, which is dying little by little surrounded by rusting barrels, barbed wire and all sorts of old objects and furniture, is the peak of indignity, of criminality and stupidity.

it feasible and likely for one to accept, when the wounds both physical and emotional, are still raw following an unnecessary slaughter, as unnecessary are all slaughters between nations, communities, groups or persons, that unreasonable and inhuman things can happen. Things unacceptable that a reasonable and normal man under normal circumstances cannot tolerate. However when hatred, racism and fanatism prevail, not only he can tolerate, excuse and approve, he might even do these things himself.

The man in this inhuman state does not see, does not hear, does not feel and does not think. He just hates and is convinced that all atrocities against his hated opponents are correct and proper and that each and every one of his criminal and inhuman acts are covered by the cloak of heroism and the fulfilment of duty towards his homeland. Many criminals were honoured and praised and a lot less were punished for hideous war crimes.

If in times of peace one murders a very old person with a very bad health the modern well-governed human society will punish him with imprisonment for many years. However, if in times of war or conflicts between nations or communities, races or groups, one murders, defenceless women and children and men in captivity, in cold blood and enjoys it, he is not punished, he is honoured.

If the number of murders reaches or exceeds the level of genocide, then there is the possibility for the photograph of the murderer to be placed indefinitely, on the walls of government and public buildings and schools which are and shall remain nursery gardens for heroes.

If we now tolerate that the winners of the 1974 war, if one may call it a war, for revenge and hatred, and to use the giving back of the sealed off town as a negotiation card having in mind to ask in return for things in the first years of the tragedy, under no circumstances would an intelligent man be able and he should not be able to tolerate this situation as it is today. The town to remain sealed off and left to die little by little, and even worse for miserable Famagustians scattered all around Cyprus and all around the world to die one after the other bearing an unspeakable pain on their souls, the souls which they left in there.

Open the town up! We left our souls in there!