Νῆσός τις ἔστι

 

“We are all prisoners of knowledge. To know how Cyprus was betrayed, and to have studied the record of that betrayal, is to make oneself unhappy and to spoil, perhaps for ever, one’s pleasure in visiting one of the world’s most enchanting islands. Nothing will ever restore the looted treasures, the bereaved families, the plundered villages and the groves and hillsides scalded with napalm. Nor will anything mitigate the record of the callous and crude politicians who regarded Cyprus as something on which to scribble their inane and conceited designs. But fatalism would be the worst betrayal of all. The acceptance, the legitimization of what was done–those things must be repudiated. Such a refusal has a value beyond Cyprus, in showing that acquiescence in injustice is not ‘realism’. Once the injustice has been set down and described, and called by its right name, acquiescence in it becomes impossible. That is why one writes about Cyprus in sorrow but more–much more–in anger.”
From Hostage to History: Cyprus from the Ottomans to Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens

 

... Cyprus remains a moral issue as well as a purely political mess. And it becomes constantly easier to comprehend the full extent of Greek Cypriot distress. For a moment, see it through their eyes...
  They [the Turks] invaded in two separate waves. They camped along the Attila Line, holding 36 per cent of Cyprus. They have not budged since. Worse, they have relentlessly filled northern Cyprus with mainland emigrants, squeezing all but a handful of Greeks from their territory. Peace plans have always visualised a measure of Turkish withdrawal. But no peace talks have got anywhere... Who can wonder, then, that the Greeks fear not merely permanent division along the Attila Line but, at some suitable future moment with some suitable future excuse, a further Turkish push to swallow all of Cyprus? Will world opinion be any more help then than it is now?
  British and American observers, examining this thesis, may find it too doom-fraught. Turkey, from their standpoint, is a quavering giant, shot through with political dissent and dominated more by inertia than dreams of conquest. None the less, they must see how the facts support the Greeks... for all the intricacies of Cyprus, the essential issues are (as we have said) moral ones. Can a country invade another under the West’s nose and get away with it? Is might right?...
From “Words Won't Shift Turkey” (Editorial), The Guardian, 30 August 1977, p. 10.

 

“Now, on these cobblestones, it is better to forget;
Talking does no good;
who will be able to turn the opinion of the mighty?
who will be able to make himself heard?
Everybody dreams alone and doesn’t hear the nightmare of the others.”

“Yes, but the message bearer is running
and, no matter how long his road, he will bring
to those who sought to bind the Hellespont with chains
the terrible message of Salamis.”

Voice of the Lord over the waters.
Νῆσός τις ἔστι. There is an island.


       George Seferis, “Salamis, Cyprus”, November 1953
       Translated by Pavlos Andronikos