An 11 year old boy called Giorgakis Englezou…
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With my husband we go to Limassol to take part in the funeral of little George Englezou, the 11 year old boy who had been `missing` from Assia, the child whose remains had been found in a mass grave in Aphania, behind the church…
The 11 year old boy George and his brother Christakis who was 14 went `missing` from Assia… Our friend Maria Kyriacou from Assia writes a note to me:
`This family has been named as the most tragic family in Assia. The two brothers on the arrival of the Turkish soldiers on August 14th, 74, were at their uncle's home next door to their home. When their parents were leaving Assia, they assumed that the boys got away with their uncle's family as they saw no one around as leaving. Unfortunately they didn't. The whole uncle's family could not get away. Christakis was shot on that same day he was 14. His body hasn't been found yet. Giorgakis was taken with his uncle's family and killed. He was 11. I know you know all this Sevgul mou. I only wrote it for your readers. You MUST find Christaki Sevgul. I am glad you went to the funeral of this boy. Do it for his mum Sevgul. Something tells me, you will find him….`
We meet my dear friend from Komi Kepir, Christina Pavlou Solomi Patsia whose father and brother are still `missing` from Galatia – her mother Panayiota too will come with us to go to the funeral. Old and fragile, Panayiota wants to go to the funeral of yet another `missing person` and altogether we go to Agios Stilianos Church in Linopetra to meet the family of little George Englezou – there in a small coffin lies his remains… His mother devastated, his brother Nicos and Andreas and their aunties accept condolences.
I meet Elenitsa, the mother of George and Christakis… She asks me to find Christakis… She also gives me a poem by Maria Marmara written in 2010…
THE NEWS (HABER) (by Maria Marmara, in 2010)
I had kept a chicken to cook it for you,
When you get back hungry,
to take good care of you,
but it jumped the fence out of the yard and foxes,
Got it, and ate it.
I raised a lamb with love for you to celebrate,
When you come back with a wild look,
Hoping to calm you,
But thieves got in the paddock,
Got it, and it is gone missing.
I wove a woolen sheet, for you to sleep and rest in there,
If you come in the middle of winter,
So that you don't get cold,
But a long time passed, and moths,
Ate it, it was thrown away.
I raised a Daphne (bay leaf)* to put in the water, (the water for bath)
When you come unwashed and dirty,
To send Charos* away.
I planted basil, I bought perfume bottle,
Hoping that in your bedroom,
I will change the air.
But today they knocked on my door with news (haber),
And instead of you, they brought me,
In a box, some bones.
I uprooted the basil, the Daphne (bay leaf)*, my heart,
So that I put them in your company,
And I buried with your bones,
A bridegroom's suit.
* bay leaf - they used the leafs in the water for bathing to bring good smell and is used for antiseptic properties
* Charos - Death – it is believed that it takes souls
In his speech the mayor of Agios Athanasios, Mr. Hadjitofi reminds us all of what actually happened not only in Assia but in Cyprus back in 1974… In the name of the family, their close friend Lakis Grafias speaks with words coming from his heart… His speech touches everyone's heart – Christina translates for me in tears… I would get his speech later on to translate and to publish so everyone can read so that in future we would not have such funerals of 11 year old boys, innocent victims of war…
In his speech Lakis Grafias says:
"Honoured mother of our young martyr. Honoured relatives of Giorgos: Son, of Elenitsa, of Assia, Son of Cyprus.
My Giorgo: You reigned my star, the whole creation reigned, and the sun, black roll, lost its shine. Now they dressed you in flags. My child, you, sleep, and I will go to your brothers and take your voice.
Tough times in the fire and you twelve years and they pounced upon you the quiet crows and drank your blood my Giorgo, they closed your lips. Truth in your tender youth, what did you know about fascists and coup d'états? From traitors and bandits of Democracy? Oh my Giorgo those that butchered you, to find their children and their parents butchered, to drown in blood.
My Giorgo, today is a fateful day that they executed you in cold blood. It is the day of the Declaring of the Republic of Cyprus. This one, that we did NOT enjoy. The other day, the 4 of our family. Your uncles and your cousins. Today You. And the pain has no end. We are waiting for news of our other missing brother, Christakis. Our father did not stand the wait. He started for the big trip… may be he will find you. Day and night he was thinking about you. Father was dedicated to God and the Saints. And how strange. Father worked for the creation of this Church, of Agios Stylianos, which is hosting you today.
Our Giorgo. You our blond, blue eyed angel, you knew only kindness. Love. Progress, the letters that you so much loved and EXCELLED. And the dream was close: to study at the English School where with pride you passed the required exams. You were questioning everything. You were asking with every detail about the amorphous, highs, ideals. Your manners were so fine.
Yet my Giorgo when the evil came, the responsible-irresponsible dissolvers of the Democracy did not notify the villagers for the coming of the Turks to Assia. Despite that, they took even the trivial things from their houses and their families, loaded them on cars and fled secretly.
The upcoming rulers entered Assia and took us the villagers in groups and since 1974, we find them now with DNA tests and the atrocious plight of the conquerors was seen when they called us in the relevant office at Nicosia airport. There we saw the fury, the hatred and the mania of the uncivilized conquerors. They took Giorgos, 11 ½ years old, bent him down and shot him at the back of the skull and the bullet came out from the forehead. Our village became Turkish and from Assia it became Pasa Koy.
Our Giorgos. Your family, proud, did not harm anyone. Our father, he was the only one who collaborated in the establishment of the Republic of Cyprus. And under adverse conditions he stood and worked in the construction of the dam of Goneli and Kanlikoyu when the inter-communal troubles of 1963 took place. Later on he was hunted deviously from our people.
The crime in the whole of our family, is a crime against humanity. And I ask. Will someone be punished? Or will everything be swept under the carpet?
Giorgo. Bloom of our wilderness. How did they turn you soul of my soul, such a small beauty, in a case full of bones. Bones of fire given by human hatred, violence, intolerance, anticipation and the fist of the strong one? Such silence. And yet you talk. Such absence and yet you are present, to show the way of duty. Of loneliness and love my precious tear, talk to me. Why such a quick sunset at your 12 candles?
Instead of silence, I make my speech a cry, bringing out from the mind's drawer, your countless photos. Those that showed how you philosophized life in the black and white print, how you were full of and longed for life.
In the orchards, in the blooming gardens, if I TAKE YOU DEATH TO THE WINE, if I take you to the DANCING AND SINGING THEN give to our Giorgos one night of life.
Giorgo, our precious smile. Your smile is not for sale, because it does not have a price, yet you gave it to us. Who did not stretch their hand to fill up with a truth? A caress? A happiness? For you my brother, they cut it all. You weaved the flowers. Yet the world became narrower. Handicapped dreams, merciless cruelty. The weakness is screaming in front of a 12 year old child.
Twelve seasons of spring, that was all. And in your big blue eyes, I look at sky roads. Angels' fluttering with their laughter. And now you go up with sounds and colours, with a flower heart to live with them. There invisible shadows, fear, knives, guns will not scare you. You fought against the darkness and you won. Your kites will remind you of the wind of the mental power that you hide. You were looking in case it was light, often from the window and you were in a hurry as if you were going to a fare (panayiri).
You will always have inside you the WHY? "Who agreed for you? Who match-made your body with death?" Who closed your years inside the gardens of cries? Who made smoke out of your youth? And you follow, dead, and the knot of our cry gets tied as a knot in the rope for the neck of our enemy. You were going around laughing and saying "see you mum" and far away the bells of the evening mass could be heard.
My Giorgo. If sometime vindication finds vindication, if sometime the stone finds voice, as bereaved relatives then we will learn who is at fault for all these.
And you ANGELS who in a little while will meet with Giorgos, obtain wings, to saw on the little angel that we are sending you. Keep him one handful of sky, one drop of holy water to put on your partner. At this time, even the sun could be jealous of you.
Our Giorgo, at the time you were going, you were not playing like the children of your age. You were not laughing. You were not reading. Despite having THE HUMAN RIGHT of life, the barbarians with violence put you on your knees and your fresh head accepted the ferocity of the bullet, the curse of war.
Our Giorgo. More innocent that the innocent, you did not fit your years. As if you moulded in clay your dreams, sad rose of dawn. Red poppy of Stratos Myrivilis. The sky threw you a net because it yearned for you like a dove, like a swallow, like a baby eagle. Chaos this sky devoured the harmony of nature, that you were for us, its centre. For our family, the future. You left despite your 12 years, with all these moral values and principles. The blessings of your parents, the LOVE OF EVERYONE.
My Giorgo, whatever someone says for you, it has no end. Oh my Giorgo. If I had the immortal water, if I had a new soul, to give to you, to wake up for just one moment. To see, to say. To enjoy, in full your dream, to stand full of life next to you. However our sweet one you did not get lost. You are inside our veins. Our son, in everyone's veins, go in deep and live. AND YOU WILL BE SHOUTING: PEACE – FREEDOM – DEMOCRACY – HUMAN RIGHTS – JUSTICE – TRUTH – FRIENDSHIP – RECONCILIATION despite the fact that you barely learnt their meaning. And what a shame!! What irony that you lost everything at once. And the sun looked at the earth, from your golden cart. And it said, when it saw the unjust, to change its road. The dawn darkened, the sunset took fire, the north's clouds run, the whole nature was ravaged.
And you were leading the dance, like a carefree doe and to collect hugs, smiles and lilies.
ALL IN YOUR FAMILY WE WILL LOVE YOU. CYPRUS LOVES YOU WITH GRATITUDE.
NOTE: I thank all those who contributed, all who participated and lived with us Cyprus' drama, in this modest service, the last salute to the 12 year old hero of life. Our sweet brother."
Photo: The little coffin of Giorgakis Englezou
(*) Article published in POLITIS newspaper on the 3rd of November 2013, Sunday.