Speech by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL, S.Stefanou, at the Award Ceremony of the 3rd Bicommunal Photography Competition organised by AKEL – “Left – GUE/NGL”
Saturday 18 December 2021, Chateau Status, Nicosia
We welcome you all to the Award Ceremony of the 3rd Bicommunal Photography Competition organised jointly by AKEL and the Left – GUE/NGL Group in the European Parliament. It is with particular joy and pride that we conclude the 3rd successive Bicommunal Photography Competition, which it can be said has now become a custom.
Through the photographs on display today, we can see our culture – the identity of our people. Photographs captured by dozens of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots with their lenses who have taken part in the competition. Images through different approaches and parts of Cyprus. Images which show that one Cyprus, the mother of all its children, is prominent in the hearts of the common people.
A Cyprus that may not have been given the pages it deserves in the official history textbooks, but which we never forget to project. That is, the Cyprus of its people, as our people live and have lived it for centuries.
It is the Cyprus of various cultures that have passed through our island and left behind a rich cultural heritage which we must protect.
However, there is the everyday life and popular culture of Cyprus as well which has evolved through the years, through the need of the common people to live, work and create. Of the people who may have a different language or religion, but whose sweat shed daily so that the bare essentials can be secured to make ends meet is the same. The worries, expectations and dreams are the same too. The worries and aspirations of working people who have not been infected by the germ of nationalism which our country has and continues to pay such a heavy price.
A people united and in friendship. Cyprus united and peaceful. Without barbed wires of division. This is our own aspiration, the goal of our struggle. We want to see our Cyprus free and prosperous again, despite the pessimistic period we are going through due to the deadlock and absence of any negotiation on the Cyprus problem.
This Cyprus has a specific content. It is a reunited, federal Cyprus, a common homeland of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, free from the control and interference of any third parties. With human rights respected, and so are basic freedoms. In place of the current unacceptable dichotomous status quo, we want to build a future of cooperation, prosperity and peace.
We will continue to struggle for this goal, without yielding. On the contrary, we shall continue to struggle with our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, with whom we are united by common interests for the reunification of our homeland. We will struggle with the whole of the Cypriot people to break perhaps the most severe deadlock in which the Cyprus problem has found itself. We shall continue to struggle at all levels to get the train of reunification back on its tracks.
Rapprochement is an arena of political struggle written in the DNA of our Party. It is a story that begins with the common class struggles waged by Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot workers to confront cruel exploitation and win rights which is continuing to this day with the ongoing struggles to heal the wounds opened by the tragedy of 1974. Wounds opened by the NATO conspiracies executed against our country, as well as nationalism in both communities.
Therefore, with the legacy of our common struggles, we continue our current struggles until the barbed wires around us become blossoms that will spread the scent of peace and perspective for our homeland.
On behalf of the Central Committee of AKEL, I extend our warm congratulations to all those who worked for the successful organisation of the 3rd Bicommunal Photography Competition. I also congratulate all those who participated and especially those whose photographs were distinguished. Finally, permit me to congratulate the jury and the Organising Committee of the competition, as well as the Rapprochement Bureau of the C.C. of AKEL