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Address by the General Secretary of AKEL S. Stefanou at the event on the 100th anniversary of the “Anagenisis” People’s Movement of the Left Local Club of Deryneia


15 October 2021, ”Zappeion’ Palace Hall, Deryneia

“Let’s set up a school for the adults”. This was the invitation-challenge issued by Eleftherios Iakovos Montanios, the teacher from Deryneia with a mind far ahead of his time.

That challenge was taken up and fulfilled in practice. The inhabitants of Deryneia started building with the teacher the “Omonia Reading Room”. From the time when everyone gathered at school to have the teacher read the news from a newspaper to them with a lamp, they now found themselves at the forefront of an initiative that even they themselves hadn’t quite realized how radical, innovative and progressive it was.

It was right there in the “Reading Room” that the light began to burn for the progressive movement in Deryneia. At Christmas, Easter, Sundays and during holiday periods, workers and peasants became a busy hub of activity that built, learned and created. Lectures, events, books, dancing, sports. And then theatre. In the 1930’s, what woman would dare to act on stage? And yet. Women took to the stage of the “Reading Room” and acted.

In front of the eyes of the inhabitants of Deryneia a whole world was opening its doors, and they never tired of discovering it, of learning and conquering it.  Little by little the “Reading Room” grew, another room was constructed with the voluntary work of its members. A radio was bought so that they could learn the news about Cyprus and around the world.

There, in the “Reading Room” the farmers of the area organized themselves to fight for their problems. From there, elected members of the Local Club, hearing the appeal issued by the Central Committee of AKEL, volunteered to enlist to fight against Hitler-fascism. Inside, they all volunteered a day’s work to build the Club’s big hall.

It was from there that the wind started blowing, opening doors to people’s consciences to read, learn, question; to get to know the world through theatre, poetry, books, through knowledge.

One hundred years later, the “Anagenisis” Club is not just a memory of some glorious history of the past. It is both present and has a future because it continues to have the same powerful presence, with continuous actions to make its own contribution to solving social problems, with cultural and sports activities, with voluntary work, with the same and greater zeal. This is how your Club proves that a century later, it still has a reason to exist.

Everyone might now be able to go to school, learn to read, write and play music, to act and go to theatre elsewhere, to engage in sports elsewhere too, but “Anagenisis” is not just keeping the tradition of a Club with a rich history and contribution alive. Through its actions, it is constantly reviving the ideas of solidarity, social activism, volunteer work and pioneering action. This is because where there is a vision, conditions, tradition, volunteerism and an appetite for action, Local Clubs can find their way and their fulfill role in today’s world.

Congratulations on the organisation of today’s event. Warm congratulations for the activity and contribution of “Anagenisis” Deryneia to all the militants, members and friends of the Club of the People’s Movement of the Left, the continuators of a long and rich journey of which you all deserve to be proud.


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