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Greek-Cypriots: We the "Niggas" of Europe

“Voice of the Lord upon the waters”
“There is an island.” (1)

Imagine yourselves waking one summer dawn amidst the bombs falling around your house. You are four years old and you do not know what war is.

Imagine your mother trembling with fear.

Imagine the conversation between your father and your mother coming out of the verses of Homer, watch Andromache and Hector before your eyes. He is going to war to defend the motherland against the invaders knowing their powerful might, knowing there is no hope. It is the 20th of July of 1974 and the Turkish military has invaded.

Imagine yourselves in the small Volkswagen running towards the safety of the mountains. You your mother, your grandmother and your infant brother. Imagine the lonely blanket the only possession you were able to take from your house.

Imagine the airplanes of the Turkish air force bombing the fields around you. Imagine barely escaping. Feel yourself floating in and out of existence, see yourselves having your first out of the body experience, watching the world unfold in two dimensions, your first comic story.

Imagine living as a refugee for the rest of your lives. Never returning home, never being able to touch and feel the lemon tree in your yard. You ‘ll see the house eventually when you are older. It is coming out from the pages of Homer again and you are Ulysses A giant eucalyptus tree is coming out of the bedroom of your parents from the hole the bomb opened.

Imagine your head shaved for all of your childhood, because of the lice. Always wearing the clothes of others. Imagine growing up poor, really poor. Imagine your childhood friends living in self-made houses in favelas like the ones Rio, but in Nicosia Cyprus. In Europe. Can you?

Imagine waking up with every single noise in the night shedding tears from fear for years and years.

Imagine half of your country occupied and one third of its population living in refugee camps and settlements.

Now walk with me into today.

Watch as the ancient Greek tragedy in which we live comes into climax.

Watch as the negotiation for a “solution” for the Cyprus problem is held in the most peaceful of countries high in the Alps.

Watch as the Turkish state tries to impose a permanent presence of its military in the island, threatening to use it again and again and “forever and ever”.

Watch the "niggas" of Europe, people with lesser rights than the rest because of our race, us, asked to accept that the invasion and the occupation will create a bizonal state in which we will not be able to return to the houses our grandmothers and grandfathers built. Imagine not being able to return to London, Berlin, Paris,  Barcelona, Rome, Oslo, Stocholm..., put your town's name here to understand what is being asked of us. In the past the word "nigga" was used as a direct insult towards the people of the African diaspora who were forced into slavery by their white supremacists masters. We now take their place in a small island in Europe asked to become the new slaves in the "new order" the Turkish state demands for the island.

Watch as the Orwellian world engulfs us in a proposed “solution”. Watch us having no rights to our birthplaces, watch the settlers from Turkey living in our homes having the same rights as us. More rights than us! Watch as the “user” of the plundered property will have equal rights to the owner. This is the proposed “solution” for our island.

Watch the European values – are they still present? – bent and manipulated so that we can live in a state created in the laboratories of Mengele, a state whose laws will be based on the discrimination of race and religion. Watch the rise of a “federal united Cyprus” on the ruins of our lives and the plunder of our country.

Watch my fellow European, hear our cry coming from the eastern part of the Mediterranean.

Would you forget? Would you accept? Do you accept us as niggas in our own country?

We don’t. The vast majority of us keeps fighting for a better world for all.

And thus my fellow European I sent you my thoughts in the form of poetry from a Greek poet who fell in love with our tiny island, the birthplace of the Goddess of love. Hear his cry, hear our collective cry. And Help! Do not forget us…

"…The earth has no handles
for them to lift it on their shoulders and take it away.
They are not able, however thirsty,
to sweeten the salt sea with half a cup-full of water.
And those bodies of flesh and blood
formed and shaped from one soil of a land unknown to them
have Souls within them.
Now they assemble tools to change these souls.
It will not be possible. They will only undo them,
if souls can be undone.
It does not take long for the corn to ripen
no time is needed
for the yeast of bitterness to rise,
no time is needed
for evil to raise its head,
and the sick mind drained empty,
no time is needed
for the filling of this with madness.
‘There is an island...’"

“Friends of the other war,
on this desolate and cloudy shore of the sea
I call you to mind, as the day is turning--
who fell in the fighting, who fell long after the battle,
who saw the dawn rising through the mist of death,
or, in wild solitude below the stars,
felt glaring down on their skin the great dark eyes
of the absolute disaster;
mid, once again, those who prayed
when the ships were being sawn by the burning steel

"0 Lord, help us to keep in mind
how this murder came about;
greed, dishonesty, selfislmess,
the drying up of love.
Lord, help us to root out these things."

-Now, among these pebbles, it is better to forget;
it does no good to speak
What the powerful have determined, who can change it?
And who can make himself heard?
Each has his dreams apart; inaudible to him the terrors
that vex the others’ sleep.

-True. But the messenger is on his way
and, however long his journey, he will bring
to those who tried to put fetters on the Hellespont
the fearful message that came from Salamis.

“Voice of the Lord upon the waters.”
“There is an island.” (1)

Solon Antartis ~


1. From the poem “Salamis in Cyprus” by the nobelist Greek poet George Seferis



Mon 1 January 2018
Sat 30 September 2017
Sat 23 September 2017


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