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Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία – Σύμβολα που χτίζουν ιστορία.

Σεπτεμβρίου 27, 2010

 

 

Ενδιαφέρον πληροφοριακό κείμενο. Για όσους δεν γνωρίζουν και για όσους δεν θέλουν να γνωρίζουν.

 

Σημειώνω την ομόφωνη (περιλαμβανομένων και των Τ/Κ Υπουργών) απόφαση του 1963 για την μετακίνηση της επετείου από την 16η Αυγούστου στην 1η Οκτωβρίου.

 

Ο ζεστός Αύγουστος είναι μήνας διακοπών για όλους τους Κυπραίους.

 

Υπενθυμίζω επίσης πως η Ε/Κ πλευρά ξαναθυμήθηκε την ημέρα της ανεξαρτησία μόλις το 1979 – και ενώ ήταν ουσιαστικά πλέον αργά.

Θυμάμαι ακόμα έντονα την πλήρη απαξίωση προς την σημαία της Κύπρου από τους υπερπατριώτες της εποχής. Και το πλέον παράξενο: την σταδιακή τους μετακίνηση σε μια κατάσταση λατρείας της ιδίας σημαίας. Μιας μετακίνησης που σηματοδοτούσε τη συνειδητοποίηση πως ο κλασσικός ελληνικός εθνικισμός δεν είχε υπόθεση, και μετατράπηκε συνεπώς  σε ένα περίεργο και μοναδικό «ελληνοκυπριακό» εθνικισμό. Μια συναισθηματική και πολιτική κατάσταση εξόχως επικίνδυνη, άνευ οποιασδήποτε ιστορικής βάσης και κατά πάσα πιθανότητα υπεύθυνης για την οριστική διχοτόμηση του νησιού μας.

 

 

 

 

 

What’s in a date, a flag and a tune?

 

By Elias Hazou Published on September 26, 2010

 

 

MANY younger Cypriots probably aren’t aware that August 16, not October 1, is the date we should be marking our independence from the United Kingdom.

We love our holidays and, let’s face it, the searing August sun isn’t exactly conducive for parades and public functions. Who would show up? Thus, a long time ago, an assembly of wise men decreed that October 1 would be far more convenient, and, as it was only independence, the date was switched.

This is what Patroclos Stavrou, Under-secretary to President Makarios and a long-time aide to the Archbishop, had to say in an article of his published in Greek daily Eleftherotypia on 1 October 2005:

“August 16th is the anniversary of the declaration of Cyprus’ independence. It was celebrated twice only, in 1961 and 1962. But August is a hot month and a time for vacation. Also, the diplomatic corps, that is, foreign diplomats and attachés to the fledgling Republic liked to go back home in August. For this reason alone, the Cabinet of the Republic, comprising seven Greek Cypriots and three Turkish Cypriots, on 11 July 1963 decided unanimously to establish October 1st as Independence Day. The anniversary of independence, 16 August, remains only as a calendar date, a historical or memorial day. It was replaced by October 1st, which since 1963 has become institutionalised, with the now-established official ceremonies, functions, parades and gatherings.”

But the change of date came back to haunt us, Stavrou went on to explain. The existence of two dates for the same event created a fair amount of confusion among foreign governments, including the Greek government in Athens. Thus, some foreign heads of state would congratulate Cyprus on its Independence Day on August 16, others on October 1, and others covered all the bases by congratulating Cyprus on both dates.

As the celebrations for Cyprus’ 50-year anniversary draw near, maybe it’s time to pause and think about stuff we often take for granted: the flag, the national anthem, dates. It turns out that they shouldn’t be taken for granted at all. Not because we should wear our serious faces and make important-sounding remarks about our country’s history. Perish the thought. No, it’s because these trappings stand on shaky ground: some were never fixed, others are borrowed, and others are still up for debate.

Go on, admit it: listening to your national anthem does send chills up your spine, your innards temporarily swelling up with pride. At times like these, it matters little that the national anthem is actually not ‘our own’ but the one borrowed from Greece. Still, what’s the deal with that? Why are we the only country on the planet – Cape Verde aside – that uses another nation’s anthem?

The story goes like this. During the nascent years of the Republic, Beethoven’s ‘Ode to Joy’ was designated as the national anthem. Anecdotal evidence indicates, however, that an arrangement was in place where the Greek national anthem was played at Greek Cypriot official/state functions, and the Turkish anthem at the corresponding Turkish Cypriot functions.

Then in 1963 Solon Michaelides, in consultation with Archbishop Makarios, composed a piece intended as the new national anthem. Efforts got underway to bring a symphonic orchestra from Greece to play the hymn for the first time in public. The plans were scrapped because of the political situation on the island and the disturbances of 1963-1964. Thus the piece was never heard.

On 18 November 1966 the Cabinet decided to formally adopt the Greek national anthem as our own.

Though Michaelides’ work of art did not become the national anthem, it was not forgotten. Fast forward to May 2004 and the events held to mark Cyprus’ accession to the European Union. As part of the festivities, Michaelides’ piece, still carrying its original title “Hymn to the Cyprus Republic”, was on the repertoire of the then Cyprus State Orchestra.

One tale, which the Mail has not been able to confirm, relates to another candidate for the national anthem. In the very early years of the Republic, President Makarios and Vice-President Dr Fazil Kucuk had apparently agreed on a piece of music written by a German composer. It was called – wait for it – “The African”, and Makarios and Kucuk agreed to adopt it as the national anthem. Apparently, the piece was pleasing to the Cypriot ear as it contained Oriental melodies. It’s not known what became of the tune.

The flag of the Republic of Cyprus has its own chequered history. In 1960 a competition was held to choose the new flag of the Republic. The design selected was that of Turkish Cypriot Ismet Guney.

In 2006 Guney sought payment from the government of the Republic of Cyprus for his flag design, in addition to compensation for its copyright use in 2006. Güney was reportedly promised £20 a year by Makarios for designing the national flag, but he was never paid for his work, according to reports by the Turkish Cypriot media. Guney had hired a Greek Cypriot law firm to take his case, and had stated that he would take his case to the European Court of Human Rights if needed. He died in June 2009.

His daughter, Nilgun Guney, told the Mail that her father’s main objective was to contest the Republic’s use of his flag design.

“He designed the flag on the understanding and in the hope that it would be used for both communities, all of Cyprus. He wanted the Greek Cypriot government to stop using his design until the island was reunified.”

Gyney, who had hired a Greek Cypriot law firm, lost the case. The court accepted that he was in fact the designer, despite claims by the government side that evidence kept at the Presidential Palace was destroyed in the 1974 coup. However, the court dismissed Guney’s demand for the Republic to withdraw the flag.

Back to Independence Day. As we have come to know it, it was not celebrated until 1979. That was the first year that October 1 was celebrated as a national holiday. During the previous 16 years, the occasion was marked by low-key functions, but never with festivities or parades.

“1960, or independence, was regarded as a defeat by Greek Cypriots, who had sought Enosis [union] with Greece. So why celebrate it?” explains Yiannis Papadakis, a social anthropologist with the University of Cyprus.

It is only after 1974 and the island’s division that state symbols came to prominence, Papadakis says.

Greece’s involvement in the events that led up to the Turkish invasion and subsequent partition of the island was a major factor in Greek Cypriots’ gradual distancing from the ‘motherland’.

But there’s another reason, says Papadakis.

“After 1974, the Greek Cypriots wanted to show that the regime in the north was illegal. One way of doing that was emphasising the legitimacy of the Republic, and thus greater attention was paid to state symbols.”

Papadakis, author of Echoes from the dead zone: across the Cyprus divide, elaborates:

“If you think about it, what are we celebrating about, a divided country? Or should this be instead a time for reflection? As far as the Turkish Cypriots are concerned, I am sure that they will participate. But the question is whether they were just invited to come with the roles preordained for them, or whether they actually had any say.»

Hubert Faustmann, Associate Professor for History and Political Science at the University of Nicosia, has a similar take.

“In the beginning, this Republic was an unwanted thing, both for Greek and Turkish Cypriots. The Greek Cypriots had wanted enosis with Greece, the Turkish Cypriots were in favour of partition. For both communities, the independence of 1960 was an imposed compromise.

“Little wonder, then that prior to 1974 there was no emotional attachment to the anthem or national celebrations,” says Faustmann. “After 1960, the Greek Cypriots used the Greek flag, and the Turkish Cypriots the Turkish flag.”

Ironically – tragically some would say – it was only after the disaster of 1974 that a growing sense of ‘Cypriot-ness’ developed gradually, where Greek Cypriots are concerned.

“An odd success story is what you may call it,” adds Faustmann. “Today, you could define Cypriot-ness, or Cypriot-ism as the belief that Cyprus should remain an independent state. But if you delve deeper, you get into all sorts of controversy – should the island be reunited, in what form should it be reunited, or should it be reunited at all? It’s the old Cyprus problem again.”

Faustmann points out that national identity is constantly in flux and that this is true of all nations.

“It changes depending on the context, on experiences, on events. Take the Greek Cypriots. For example, in the late 1960s, enosis with Greece became less fashionable because of the criminal nature of the regime there, the junta.”

So, barring the Cyprus problem, what does it mean to be ‘Cypriot’ these days? When we celebrate our national day, what do we take pride in?

“I guess the prosperity of the Republic is one thing that people are especially proud of. Cypriots enjoy a high standard of living. They live in a modern, safe country. There’s also a fair amount of pride in the fact that the country has been accepted into the EU. Considering the size of the country, they have done pretty well for themselves,” says Faustmann.

 

 

Cyprus Mail.

 

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Αππωμενη permalink
    Σεπτεμβρίου 28, 2010 17:22

    Για τη σημαία και την μέρα ανεξαρτησίας ήξερα. Αλλα εν είχα ιδέα για το πως υιοθετήσαμε τον εθνικό ύμνο της Ελλάδας. (ναι, ντρέπουμαι). Πολλά ενδιαφέρον άρθρο Στροβολιώτη.

    Μου αρέσει!

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