Opening of the 23rd Congress of AKEL by the member of the Political Bureau of AKEL Nikos Ioannou
2nd July 2021, AKEL C.C Press Office, Nicosia
Today we are all here. Our elected delegates, our veterans, the young generation, our friends from the wider spectrum of the Left and the people of the arts and letters of the Left. All of you. Thousands of comrades and people too, although not with us physically, are following our Congress and their thoughts are with this Congress.
As of today, from this Congress, the “Freedom” Stadium, the counterattack will begin so we can prove that we are not the seed of chance. To prove that we were and will be the child of necessity.
Our roots run very deep. They are nourished by the sacrifices made by our comrades in the great class and strike struggles.
Our roots are very deep and are refreshed by the sacrifice of our heroes who fell fighting for democracy and freedom.
The embrace of our Party is not only open to the Greek Cypriots of this island. Our Party also embraces the Turkish Cypriots and the Armenians and the Maronites and the Latins. Our roots do not separate people and divide. Only cemeteries separate us.
With a critical and self-critical stand, with a sense of responsibility towards our history, without deviating from our principles. With respect for the contribution our parents and grandparents made, with anxiety – concern for our children and the future of the Party and the country we will find our way. We will not yield, nor will we stray. We are and will remain pioneering fighters.
Five years from today AKEL will be celebrating 100 years of life and struggle. We only have one pledge to make: to fight to raise higher the honored red banner so that it can fly proudly as it should and as it deserves.
Dear guests, Leaders or representatives of Parties,
Your Excellences Ambassadors,
Dear friends, representatives of mass organizations and agencies,
We warmly welcome you all to the 23rd Pancyprian Congress of AKEL. Your presence honors our Congress and AKEL. Thank you for your presence.
Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, it was impossible for comrades from fraternal Communist, Workers’ and left-wing parties and movements, which are accustomed to being here today with their physical presence at every AKEL Congress. They have sent video messages and thus, thanks to technology, the ties that exist between our parties, their timeless solidarity with the struggle that Cyprus and its people are waging for peace, reunification, progress and prosperity, will be reaffirmed.
Dear Turkish Cypriot compatriots,
We welcome you with joy to our Congress. The barbed wire that bleeds the soil of our common homeland must become a thing of the past. In the face of the nightmare of partition, we respond with the common struggle for peace and reunification. We join hands and insist on fighting for the Cyprus we dream of. A united, federal, independent, sovereign and demilitarized Cyprus, the home of all its children.
Our dear comrades, honored veterans,
Your own work, struggles and sacrifices lifted AKEL high. Your example fills us with awe, emotion and a sense of duty. We owe you to endure, we have a duty to prove ourselves worthy, so that we can succeed in fulfilling the burden of responsibility today to strengthen AKEL, to raise it to the position it deserves. You can be sure that we will devote all our energies towards this end.
We warmly welcome to the Congress the youth of EDON, the most militant, the most enthusiastic and the purest part of our People’s Movement. The reservoir that generates hope and strength for the future of AKEL, for the future of Cyprus.
We warmly welcome all Congress Delegates, who represent the party as a whole. We are sure that they will honor their status and that these three days the discussions focus solely on how to take AKEL forward, how to turn the page for Cyprus.
The 23rd Congress of our Party is convening in very critical conditions for Cyprus and the whole world. Imperialism is provoking new cycles of conflict and bloodshed, displacing millions of people. The economic crisis that has shaken the global economy has been followed by the coronavirus pandemic crisis that has further exacerbated economic and social instability. Once again, it is the people who will be called on to pay the bill. This is the challenge and duty of the forces that are resisting and struggling this call. To be at the forefront of struggle dynamically, to repulse the new onslaught that is coming, to become the voice of those who have no voice and the force of the weak.
In Cyprus, partition is knocking on our door. The rivers of blood that were shed to prevent fascism and the Turkish Army from passing, is rushing through the consciousness of each one of us with a single question in our mind: Will we sign the condemnation of this land? No. A thousand times no. AKEL will definitely not.
As long as AKEL exists in this place it will fight for peace and reunification in our small country.
As long as this tree spreads its leaves, the struggle for a better future will grow stronger.
AKEL owes it to our country and people to stand strong as a bastion of resistance in the face of a government that has taken control of everything. Today, when Greek Cypriot lips have been found to utter the idea of a two state solution; today, when the government ruling forces are trying to convince us that it is okay for the many to struggle to survive and the few to get rich at the expense of an entire people; today, when they are baptizing privatisations as “reform” and “modernisation”; today, when they want us to hand over unconditionally what our parents and grandparents have gained with their struggles, blood and sweat, today AKEL must and can stand up, step forward, play a leading role to bring change and give a perspective for Cyprus.
That is why we will discuss during the Congress in a comradely, constructive, frank, free and democratic manner about our own affairs. We will get to the bottom of things, we will look at the realities and we will examine our weaknesses and mistakes. We shall discuss how to make AKEL what it was, what it is: a force from the people, for the people.
AKEL’s Congresses have never been gatherings for sensationalism, nor arenas of personal rivalries. The AKEL Congress is a platform, the highest platform, for reflection and dialogue to take place boldly and honestly. It is a cradle of decisions which we must set in motion to be implemented in practice from the day after the Congress closes.
A Congress that will reaffirm the roots, character and ideology of a Party that has a long proud history and goes even further.
AKEL is the birth of necessity, born out of fierce class struggles, of great social struggles.
It is the rage of those who had nothing and fought for everything, the strength and pulse in the thousands of mouths that demanded life and dignity, that shout that fascism will not pass, and that fell in the front line of battle for independence, freedom and democracy.
It is the strong voice of all Cypriots who envision and struggle for the Cyprus of tomorrow.
Today we are here to strengthen this voice with our soul, our thoughts, our minds and our work.
We are here to make the human river of thousands who look to AKEL bigger so it can chart paths, show the perspective, strengthen the hope, bring better days and the change that the country needs so much, to move forward, and to light up the future of our people.
Long live the 23rd Congress!
Long live AKEL!