Sunday, August 24, 2014
Tel: 00 357 99 966518
00 90 542 853 8436
I sit in the garden at early hours of the morning to enjoy the coolness – soon it will be too hot to sit outside so I would have to move in… My heart -comrade is watering the flowers in pots and the trees and cats are jumping and playing as the turtles in the pond come out to see what's going on… We have a beautiful cat now, yellow – almost a pinky white – whom we tried to save from going blind… We managed to save part of his eye sight and now he is in the garden, playing with other cats, all grey…
Wood pigeons haven't come this year so we can sit by the pond – they are such shy birds that you can't be near them if they want to come down to drink water from the pond… Last year, we could never sit by the pond but this year they are nowhere in sight – I see lots of pigeons but they too are shy to come down – the only birds that come are the doves and sparrows…
Dates on the tree are green but slowly they will become ripe… The pecan nut tree is green and nuts and dates will soon attract the crows… We will wake up to their laughter and all birds will feed on the dates…
This Sunday I am home, last Saturday I was at Agios Athanasios for the funeral of `missing` Philipos Pantazis, brother of Vasilis – the remains of Philipos were found in Synchari…
As the remains of Philipos Pantazis were being taken inside the church, his sister Anthoulla cried out loud, `Oh! My brother!` and started crying and all of us started crying and could not stop throughout the funeral… It was such a cry from the heart, the sorrow, the loss, the love she had for him that it touched everyone's hearts… I had gone to the funeral with my husband and my dear friend Christina Pavlou Solomi Patsia whose father and brother are `missing` from Komi Kepir… She too would cry throughout the funeral and I would decide from now on, not to ask her to go with me because these funerals would really tear her heart apart…
This funeral was different because Vasilis did not invite any politicians on purpose and he would make a very critical speech about how politicians had been using the pain of the relatives of `missing persons`… Vasilis said in summary:
`With reverence and modesty we came to this sacred place to honour a hero and to express, simply and humanely, feelings of appreciation and gratitude for the sacrifice of the life of Philipos Pantazis on the altar of freedom of our country.
Philipos was not known. He became known with his sacrifice and heroism. He was a young man, simple, anonymous, a fiery young man with visions and ideals.
Facing his great love for his country he did not count his life so he went into Immortality. He left as a hero, and now from up there he is urging us all to walk the path of honour and duty, which he drew.
We feel very proud of you, our brother.
No, Philipos did not die. He lives and will always live in the history of this land. He lives and will always live in the blue skies of Cyprus.
Our beloved brother,
The gratitude of all of us belongs to you. Your honour and glory is recognized. You will live in our memories and in our life, eternal, pure, heroic, wonderful son and brother.
But there will always be a big question to us all: Why did all these had to happen? Why did no one deal with those who were lost for so many years?
The dead have the laurels, the missing have the wheres and whys on the bitter lips of their loved ones, the wounded and the prisoners the scars and the wounds…
All those who passed alive amongst molten iron and bullets, that heard painful whistling by taking the mortars, without ever bravo, are not looking for praise of poets, nor monuments at the entrances of military camps. They do not look for money, or medals, or favours from the absent state. The only thing they asked for, somewhere between the lines which were not written, the stories which were not said, is the truth. So that the coming generations will know it. So that it is a sign for tomorrow, those that will follow to avoid new betrayals, and the whys, the whys which are haunting their restless evenings in the fever of the nightmare and the wounds in the soul. The wounds which do not count as wounds of war. The whys, the unanswered whys of the tragedy.
The game of war is difficult. The uprooting of refugees bitter and heavy. Death even more bitter and heavy. But most bitter and heavy is the ignorance about the father, son, brother, your loved one.
I see all which they did not manage to live... We called them missing, while we knew that they are heroes. And we continue to forget it and live our lives indifferently, while each week we bury the remains of the bones of these heroes. Murdered by the Turks in 1974, we "murder" them also today with the now usual indifference of the Cypriot society and the Cypriot state.
We leave alone the elderly parents, if they did not leave with the grief, the siblings in front of a small box, which is too small to fit their sacrifice. We leave them alone in an almost empty church to attend in silence, accompanied by the unprecedented pain, the honours which a bankrupt state formally delivers, to listen to the wooden and meaningless language of the political obituaries and not words that heroes deserve…`
On the 23rd of August Saturday I will go to the funeral in Larnaka of another `missing person` one of my readers helped to find – we had gone to Lysi and had shown the place to the officials of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee and when they exhumed, they found the remains of this Greek Cypriot `missing` person… And on Friday this week on the 15th of August, there will be the funeral of 34 `missing` Turkish Cypriots from Tochni – 32 of them from the first bus taken from Tochni to Palodia and killed and later buried in Gerasa and two of them `missing` from 1963-64 from Tochni – killed and buried in a well in Strovolos, Parisinos area… 34 funerals all at the same time in a special cemetery built for them and a museum where the remainder of their clothes will be exhibited… The funeral will be in Vouno and I cannot even conceptualize what sort of pain there will be on the outskirts of the Pentataktilos while the Turkish Cypriot relatives
would bury their `missing` in this new cemetery.
And on the 7th of September, I will go to another funeral in Aradippou, to bury the remains of the brother of Takis… We had gone twice to show to the officials of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee, his possible burial site close to the Saint Hilarion, on the mountains – Agios Pavlos Lapithou area… Finally they had exhumed the place we had shown and they found the remains of Giorgos Ttooulou, the brother of Takis… Giorgos was doing his military service and was about to finish on the 14th of September 1974… Then the war came and on the 20th of July 1974, on this spot we had come to at Agios Pavlos Lapithou he was killed as Turkish planes opened fire and a branch of a carob tree had hit his throat… One of his friends who was the son of a papaz had prayed and they had buried him where he had been killed.
Takis had never stopped searching for his brother and he had come at Agios Pavlos Lapithou many times to find the exact spot where he had been buried… And it was due to the efforts of Takis that the remains of his brother have been found…
40 years after his brother will come back to Aradippou, in a small coffin to be buried where he had been born… And I will go to lay flowers next to his coffin on the 7th of September in Aradippou…
A few weeks ago I went to see Takis and his wife in their home in Aradippou. His wife Eleni had cooked katimeri for me – everywhere were pictures of Giorgos… They had a lovely house and in the yard, another house, the house that had belonged to their mother… Their mother Theophania had waited for the return of Giorgos until the day she died in 1992, three years after her husband Stavros' death in 1989.
So the hot, painful, sorrowful summer continues but today is Sunday and I must rest in my garden, look at the trees, the flowers, the turtles, the cats and take some pleasure from life in order to get ready for more funerals coming up in the following weeks and months…
Photo: The small coffin of Philippos Pantazis...
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 24th of August, 2014 – Sunday.
Sunday, August 17, 2014
Tel: 00 357 99 966518
00 90 542 853 8436
It is summer, it is blazing hot, it is time for holidays, weddings and funerals… It is time for reflection about the past and the future… Sitting in the centre of a hot sea, close to the Middle East while everything is practically burning, there is not much prospect for a starry future… All around us there is fire: Libya destroyed, Egypt destroyed, Palestine destroyed, Syria destroyed, Iraq destroyed, Lebanon destroyed – our geography in turmoil, tears and pain as death takes over all around us… The land of Aphrodite looks up towards new prospects of `gas and oil` but has it ever brought any happiness to anyone around us in this geography?
People have `theories` about how the `gas and oil` will bring about `a solution` and I certainly hope with all my heart that they should prove right… And yet, almost every week, I go to funerals nowadays, from Karpaz to Troulli to Limassol, to Larnaka… After a lapse of forty years, relatives of `missing` are burying their `missing persons` found in ditches and wells in Ornithi, in the shade of pine trees in Synchari or in makeshift shelters under the hot, burning soil of Messaoria… I go to weddings but weddings aren't enough to take away the sadness of the funerals of the `missing`… On the 15th of August 2014, Friday, we will have the funeral of a busload of `missing` from Tochni… More than 30 of them will be buried in Vouno, on the skirts of Pentataktilos… Soon there will be more remembrances, more tears, more bad memories from the past, our recent bloody past and I try to find a way out of this turmoil by reading, travelling, cooking,
watching crime serials and movies and playing with my cats and turtles…
I travel to Poland with a broken heart, terribly tired of the `Karagozi` games of politicians who seem to drag the `negotiations` for a `solution` that they see `fit` for us… I go with my husband to stay in a castle built in 1855, the hotel of one of our friends who had been inviting us all these years but we never managed to go until this summer when we decided to have a go at it… It is in Karnity, about two hours away from Gdansk or once upon a time Danzig where the Second World War started… The castle was built by an Englishman whose family probably had taken part in the Crusade and the land was taken by Crusaders to be passed on to that family… 1855: The castle saw the First World War, the Second World War and came to our days intact… Next to the castle our friend got flocks of deer, he has chicken, he plants his own potatoes, he has his own sheep and storks come to build their nests with their red beaks and legs on top of electric posts
and trees trimmed especially for them to accommodate their big nests… He has created a `survivor camp` type of game area and of course, there is the lake, just next to the castle and the horses…
We take walks in the forest where there is a small cemetery left over by the 19th century owners of the castle… I get close to the deer and feed them with fresh leaves… We sit by the lake while I read my books and we play creative, environmental card games with the grandchildren of our friend… We take a trip on canals connecting the lakes and on the boat as we pass through thousands of water lilies, we watch swan families and ducks and other birds and fish, enjoying the sun and the water…
On the terrace of the hotel, an old German couple arrives as it starts raining and we sit under the umbrellas drinking espresso and tea, talking. This whole area had belonged to Germans but after the Second World War, they were expelled from their homes… The old man tells me that his wife had been born here and had lived here until 1958 when they were forced to leave their homes… Now, every year, they come and rent a house and visit her birthplace, look at where she grew up, take long walks in the forest trying to capture memories that never left her heart… Even though she had been living in Germany for the past 56 years, her heart belongs here and she comes as often as she can to breathe the air and feel comfortable where she was born at… Germans have almost become extinct and we see that when we visit `The German House` in Ostroda – there are only 900 Germans left and `The German House` has German lessons for kids and they even have a
football team and they display their cups and medals proudly…
We move to Gdansk – Danzig – to explore city life leaving behind the so green forests and storks and deer to find a charming city that looks like Amsterdam… We walk in the streets, eat ice cream, cook chicken and read and all day long listen to street singers playing `The Four Seasons` of Vivaldi on the accordion or hard rock or heavy metal or romantic songs on Dluga Street… Dluga Street is elegant – the whole city was almost destroyed during the Second World War and rebuilt but we can still see remnants from the past… I try to heal my heart from the curse of our past and remedy the wounds by listening to the chime of the city clock with a melody, by watching the beautiful people of Poland and all the other countries walking down the street, discovering the Long Street and Billy's restaurant where they serve Humphrey Bogart Salad with Halloumi, watching the pirate ships pass by with tourists and buying souvenirs for our home and for our
friends – tiny ships in bottles, a beer opener in the shape of a sailor, a tiny seal smiling, silk scarves with rainbow colours, ladybugs jumping up and down, shot glasses with the seal of Danzig… Everywhere are flowers, flowers on balconies, flowers on lamp posts, flowers in street markets – we go to visit street markets where they sell meat, fish, chicken, clothes, shoes…
It is summer, holiday time, time for weddings and funerals… So we come back to more weddings and more funerals – my pain is nothing compared with the pain of the relatives of `missing` who are getting back the remains of their loved ones, arranging funerals, saying goodbye to them… Back in Cyprus, straight to work and meetings with relatives, investigating, visiting possible burial sites, going to funerals, laying flowers, trying to find a way to survive in this sticky heat with so many stories untold, so many stories exploited, so many stories that punch nails to my heart…
Photo: The beautiful deer of Poland at the Castle Zamek Karnity where we stayed...
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 17th of August 2014, Sunday.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
Tel: 00 357 99 966518
00 90 542 853 8436
`I was always dreaming of my father and when I woke up, I would be shocked and sad that it had only been a dream… I was only 14 when he went `missing` and all the years I was growing up, I was seeing him in my dreams and waking up and realizing that it was just a dream would make me so sad… But then God sent me a son who is the spitting image of my father! I am so happy just watching him… My father was exactly like my son – the way he walked, the way he talked, the way he looked… I thank God for sending me this gift… At least I can console myself like this…
I remember when my father would get out of the bath and getting dressed, I would go and play with his arms, he was a very strong person… My mother would say `Leave your father alone to get dressed peacefully` but my father would say `No, let him stay and let us play…` I remember those moments…
My father was such a kind person, he was helping everyone whether they were Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots. You know this because you spoke to many Turkish Cypriots from our mixed village… And I wait and wait and wait – 40 years have passed and I still wait for his remains to be found…`
We drive on a dirt track climbing up a steep hill near Athienou as the son of a `missing` person tells me these things… There, up on the hill is a small church called Ayia Marina but the reason why we are here is not the church but the scenery from top of the hill – there is a mist so it is not very clear but despite this we can see the whole area at an angle of 360 degrees! We can see Larnaka and the Pentataktilos, we can see Athienou and Melousha and Archoz… There is no vegetation, no trees, only barren hills…
`I bring all my friends here to see the view` he explains…
The sun is setting and we must get back before it falls completely dark… We get in his car, my husband and I, to go back to his house – his wife has cooked and we sit down to eat as his friends arrive…
Earlier I was at a funeral, feeling sad and moved…
Now I am trying to unwind and relax under the stars as the breeze from the sea, not far away, comes to caress us and feel us a bit chilly…
At the funeral was a woman, the wife of a `missing` person, Maroula Plarkou who had been taken to the church in a wheelchair… She had waited and hoped till the last moment that her husband Andreas Plarkos would come back to her alive – the way he had gone from home… I have been speaking with her daughter Yiota for many years now and she had asked me not to publish anything in POLITIS but only in YENIDUZEN, the Turkish Cypriot newspaper because she feared for the health of her mother… We were searching for information about her father and I had found all the details about how he was kidnapped and taken to Assia to be killed there… I had written in YENIDUZEN and my readers had called to give details… I had gone to meet people from the area he had disappeared and had learnt more details and wrote it all up but only in Turkish, not in Greek, in case the woman in the wheelchair, Maroula would find out and would feel even more devastated… I
respected the decision of the family and had done all I could to trace the steps of those who had kidnapped him, finding out the names of the kidnappers and learning all the details…
His remains were found in an area one of my readers had shown us and now he was being returned to his family for burial…
The woman in the wheelchair is devastated and the church is fully packed. Nestoras Nestoros, the Greek Cypriot Member of the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee delivers a speech, talking about Andreas Plarkos…
We hear the speech of Yiota speaking to her father, now laying in a coffin… Although I cannot understand Greek, I understand almost every word she utters: She is speaking to her father that she has been missing for 40 years – it comes from her heart… She says:
"Our beloved father,
Words are too poor to describe our feelings.
The memories we have of the few years that God made us worthy to live with you are few, but only good and valuable for us. You were an exceptional father and husband and you only offered us love and affection.
How much you liked to take us to trips in Cyprus, to the sea, for swimming, to the cinema and even with you to work, the "arapouthkia" (dark kids – arapcikları) as you affectionately called us and how much we were enjoying all of these!
But it did not last for long. Suddenly, one day in September, 40 years ago, everything changed for us. We were lost and this was destined to be forever. We were expecting you to come back as always to our home, to hear your footsteps, your voice, but in vain. In our children's soul there was hope and expectation that soon you would return and the nightmare would end. So slowly we were growing, with the hope nested in our soul.
How much we would have liked to have you beside us during our school years but you were not! How much we would have liked to have you beside us at our wedding, the birth of our children, our joys and sorrows, the easy and the difficult, all these years, but you were not!
Daddy, how many years it has been since we said that word! How many years we were deprived of you! How many things we have not lived together! How much strength was necessary all these years, for mother, our mother, who from one moment to the next she became both mother and father. She stood next to us and we brought us up with the always undying hope of your return.
You did not meet your six grandchildren, dad, but they know so much about you, because we were talking to them about you, because they also always asked, wanting to know about you.
We learned and still learn about you, how good a man you were, how patriotic you were, how you loved relatives and friends, what a sociable man you were. Through our research, all these years we were learning that we are helping our fellow citizens in need. Not even our mother knew because you were this man who helped quietly.
We, you children, were always making efforts to clarify your fate through various ways, without our mother knowing, who always wanted to hope and did not even want to hear nor to experience what we are experiencing today. At this point it is worth thanking the Commission and the Office of Missing Persons, CMP, and Mr. Nestor Nestoros, its representative, our friend Katy Mangerdjian, the Team of the Anthropology Lab for the very human way they approached us, the National Guard, the friend of the family MEP Eleni Theocharous for their valuable contribution to our efforts, as well as the T/Cy journalist Sevgul Uludag who helped us in our efforts and who is with us today with her husband. Finally, we thank the parliamentarians, mayors, Chairman Committee on Defence and Education of the Parliament and all of you.
In all the difficulties we went through, relatives, uncles, aunts, cousins, stood by our side, by our mother, supported us and embraced us and we thank them wholeheartedly for what they offered us.
They are all here today, in your hometown, Troulloi that you so loved, relatives, friends, your godchildren, your acquaintances even from abroad (Nottingham, London), and who we thank, who with their presence commemorate you.
Thanks also to the muhtar of Troulloi, the Community Council of Troulloi and the church of Agios Mamas. We also thank the community of Livadia for their support all these years.
As for the few, those who occasionally tried to tarnish your memory, let God forgive them.
We thank God who has listened to our prayers and made us worthy to have you today, even after 40 years, even for the ultimate farewell, to honour you and to give you a funeral as you deserve, like every missing person deserves.
Our beloved father and husband,
your soul can now rest.
Be sure that from today your candle will burn and will remain lit, like the hope which kept you alive in our memories these 40 years. We are so proud of you!
Blessed is the path you are traveling today, which we were all travelling for 40 years.
Have a good trip! Long live your memory.
May the soil which will now cover you be light.
Your wife, your children, your grandchildren and all the relatives."
I go to lay flowers under his coffin and hug his children. I take the hand of the woman in the wheelchair, his wife, and speak to her… I go out and people come to say hello, to ask about their own `missing` persons.
We all live, love, eat, sleep, wake up, work, laugh and cry… We all feel sad and happy in different moments of our lives… We are all human after all, even though we don't acknowledge our humanitarian side and focus more on our ethnicity… We need to move away from this mentality and realize that we are only on this earth for less than 100 years and we will all go under the soil, we will all be buried, dead, lying in a coffin or wrapped in a sheet… If we can't find our humanity while on earth, when shall we find it?
Photo: Maroulla Plarkhou at her husband's funeral...
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 10th of August, 2014 Sunday.
Sunday, August 3, 2014
Τel: 00 357 99 966518
00 90 542 853 8436
Two psychologists, one Turkish Cypriot and one Greek Cypriot from the Cyprus Missing Persons' Committee speak to Oncel Polili, a young lawyer and activist who wrote the report entitled `Human rights concerning `missing` persons and their families in north Cyprus`… Ziliha Uluboy who works with relatives of `missing` Turkish Cypriots and Katy Mangerdjian who works with relatives of `missing` Greek Cypriots talk of their experiences for the report prepared by the Turkish Cypriot Human Rights Foundation. This report, as well as ten other reports concerning different aspects of human rights were sponsored by the EU with a view of mapping human rights in the northern part of our island.
I know both of these psychologists, Ziliha and Katy and I want to share with you some of their observations about their work… You may read the full report at http://www.ktihv.org/index_ENG.htm
Ziliha Uluboy in summary says:
`The mourning period of someone who died forty years ago starts when the remains are found. Most of the families of the `missing` persons experienced forced migration. In addition to this, one or more members of their families disappeared. Naturally, the families are gravely affected by this situation. Particularly the older ones that happened to know the `missing` relative when he/she disappeared have been experiencing serious mental problems. Especially I often came across with the mental problems of parents, siblings and older children facing post-traumatic depression, stress disorder and somatisation and individuals had to live with these so many years without having any psychological support. Also, the children at a young age whose fathers disappeared have been experiencing psychological problems. The ones who were at a young age when their father or mother disappeared do not have any memories with them as they cannot remember them. They always
lived as if the `missing` person would always come. There are children of the `missing` persons who first saw their parents in the Anthropology Laboratory on the Green Line. They touched their father or mother for the first time, there. This issue is a traumatic situation. Other families say "I do not remember him/her like this" when they see the bones and this is another traumatic situation. However, on the other hand, this situation has beneficial aspects for the families of the `missing` persons in terms of reaching the truth partially. It is an important issue for them why, when and how the `missing` person was killed. The anthropologists of the C.M.P can give verbal information on the physical traumas during the time of death, such as; whether the person was shot, had a physical shock or buried with other people, so these can contribute to learning the truth to some extent and this can be beneficial. The process of finding the `missing` persons
being too long has increased the time of the traumatic period for the families of the `missing` persons. They could not mourn and reduce their trauma.
Particularly, the families of the `missing` persons whose families disappeared between 1963-1964 had great difficulties. The authorities provided little or no aid to those families. Although 11-12 years passed from 1963 to 1974, the families of the `missing` persons have never accepted their death. The division of the island in 1974 was a serious trauma for the families of the `missing` persons. The families migrated from their original houses and they had an opinion that the disappeared loved ones would not be able to find them if they returned there.
As most of the `missing` persons were men, I often observed that the children of the `missing` persons grew up being deprived of the father figure. However, they never accepted their father as dead. The children of the `missing` persons have always lived with the hope that their father would return. The children of the `missing` persons have experienced problems at school. Their friends were talking about their fathers or their fathers were taking them from the school. As I listened to one child of a `missing` person, he said that he was deeply influenced by the fact that when everyone was talking about their mothers or fathers on the first day of the school, he had nothing to say about his father.
Another child of a `missing` person was upset by the headmaster's unfair slap on him and he went to the headmaster and asked if he had a father would he slap him again? This indicates how this child was affected negatively… In my view, some children of the `missing` persons related all the negative experiences they had with the disappearance of their fathers. Another story that really affected me is the story of a child of the `missing` person who is 50 years now. He was interested in hunting and every time he went hunting he was wondering if his father was under that soil he was walking on and this feeling was affecting him deeply. This is a serious psychological trauma and it is really difficult to live with such a feeling.
A common story I have listened to from many children of the `missing` persons is that, as they were at a very young age when their mothers or fathers disappeared, they did not remember them and when someone passes by, they suspect if this person is their father or mother and they lived with that feeling for so many years. Not only the ones in Cyprus but also the ones who went to Turkey to study lived with that feeling.
The families of the `missing` persons have been deeply influenced by not being able to learn the truth. The authorities had to conduct investigations and inform them about the truth. The relatives of `missing` always question why they started searching and identifying the `missing` persons after such a long time and not much earlier…
In this period, the burial sites are being discovered, excavations are taking place and the identification of the `missing` persons is continuing. This is a pleasing situation for them.
However, after this process, they are expecting to learn the truth and the punishment of perpetrators. It is not enough to finish this issue in their lives just by the discovery of the `missing` persons. Some families of the `missing` persons know the name of the murderer and even know this person. However as nothing was done during all these years, they feel injustice and they do not feel safe psychologically.
The authorities have not been conducting any research for many years resulting in prolonged painful situations. Some family members died without ever finding that their families were found. Some family members are too old now and after such a long period, some old people quite simply cannot deal with finding their loved ones due to their old age.`
Psychologist Katy Mangerdjian dealing with the Greek Cypriot relatives of `missing` persons says in summary:
`The families of the `missing` persons have been facing post traumatic disorder, which is the outcome of their experience after all these years. After the notification that their relative is found their trauma comes to the surface after 37 years. The mourning period starts here, the trauma can manifest itself as nightmares, grief, sadness, stress and memories from those days. Viewing of the remains of their loved one is the peak of the grief and the emotional pain. This is not what they expected to see. Eventually, the funeral with the religion customs and rituals and the burial of the remains brings the closure of the whole situation. Only when a funeral takes place, hope of their loved one being alive, comes to an end. 4 years ago at the beginning of our work, it was very difficult for the families to accept that their loved ones were dead because we had no funerals or remains. However, after the families experience some realities such as funerals and
see the remains, people begin to realize that their loved one might be dead. It is very human to keep hope alive until the end. Sometimes we meet families that even after the funeral cannot believe that their loved ones had been found and that their agony of not knowing has come to an end.
Research found that, parents were affected the most, secondly the wives, children and finally siblings. Most of the wives did not get marry again, although the average age was 20 – 35 years old, as they carried a hope that their husbands were alive.
The children who were very young at the time of their mother's or father's disappearance were affected as deeply as the ones who remembered them and making it very difficult for them to accept. However, all of them admit to experiencing a feeling of emptiness. Furthermore, Greek Cypriot society had many orphans, resulting in these orphans were being stigmatized especially from school peers, who sometimes can become very cruel especially at a young age.
When the families of `missing` persons see the remains of their loved ones at the anthropological laboratory, they are in agony and they ask many questions such as "what information do you have about the circumstances he/she was last seen, was our relative tortured, was he captured alive, did he die immediately, who gave the information". Sometimes they can get answers to some of the questions. But most of the time they do not get answers because we do not have the information. In most of the cases, anthropologists can observe the physical traumas on the bones and how this trauma occurred.
They are angry about this and they want justice. I have seen very few people that have forgiven the murderers. When justice is not awarded people are cognitively imbalanced. I can feel for them, that they expect at least an apology. In other countries even after many years have passed, war criminals have been prosecuted in international courts. We have not seen something similar in our country…`
Photo: Children were traumatized with the loss of their fathers or mothers...
(*) Article published in the POLITIS newspaper on the 3rd of August, 2014 Sunday.