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    Queen Elizabeth and the anti-British hysteria

    By George Koumoulli



    The organization of a concert by the British Bases for Queen Elizabeth’s Platinum Jubilee at the ancient Kourion amphitheater on June 2 caused resentment and revulsion from far-right circles and organizations whose leaders seem to be illiterate in political science. And this anti-British delirium tends to grow, although the proceeds from this event will go towards the financial support of two Cypriot charities, “Little Heroes” (who rejected this noble gesture) and “One Dream, One Wish”.



    The pattern of all these organizations and far-right parties is that Queen Elizabeth “approved” the hanging of nine EOKA fighters. In fact, the Independent Student RAMPART of the University of Cyprus stated in a publication “They celebrate in EOKA Cyprus, the killer queen”. All those who hold the Queen jointly responsible for the laws passed through the House of Commons and Lords are completely unaware of the role of the monarch, who in a modern constitutional monarchy, such as that of the UK, is symbolic and ceremonial and politically neutral. They do not know that a veto by the Queen, that is, her refusal to adopt a law, would be tantamount to torpedoing democratic institutions and that for this reason she always acts on the basis of the wishes of the Prime Minister elected by the people. As the famous constitutionalist Sir Ivor Jennings says in his classic book “The British Constitution”, “The Queen always acts on the advice of the Prime Minister” (p.79). By the way, the last time a monarch was vetoed in the UK was in 1708 by Queen Anne when the constitutional monarchy had not yet been established for good.



    Bearing in mind that the criticism of the planned events for Queen Elizabeth is one of the “ultra-Greeks”, why should we judge the UK’s relations with the Greeks over the last 70 years and not broaden the time horizons? Who liberated Greece? Certainly the Great Powers, but especially England. At the head of the Allied forces at Navarino and the initiator of their victory was the English Vice Admiral Codrington, who was imbued with philhellenic sentiments. Moreover, in this Battle Britain had the largest fleet. The Greek Revolution broke out at a time when the national liberation movements were drowned in blood and if the Great Powers, led by England (admittedly in the context of serving their own interests) did not intervene at a time when the Revolution had been completely suppressed, it is almost certain that the struggle of the Greeks to create their own state would fail. There would be no Greece today without the mediation of England. The Greeks would either be exterminated by Ibrahim, or would be Islamized to survive. Therefore, as Greeks, we should respect more the symbols of England. The Greeks, to their credit, show due respect, recognition and gratitude: to give just two examples, they named the most central square of Athens “Kanigos Square”, while in the courtyard of the University of Athens there is the statue of William Gladstone.



    It is also regrettable that the anti-British hysteria is reinforced by insults and slanderous defamations that are poured out of the lips of EOKA fighters, in full knowledge of their untrueness. We are told periodically that in the detention centers they were tortured, malnourished or starved. Some even liken them to camps… Concentration! Either they have no idea what the concentration camps were or they lie brazenly. Undoubtedly the detention centers were not holiday camps. The living conditions were not luxurious, but they were quite comfortable. On this issue, I believe Mr. Dionysis Malas is considered an authority, as he was in the detention centers of Kokkinotrimithia and Pyla in the period 1956-59. So Mr Malas tells us that there has never been torture in detention centres. Then, the family of each prisoner was compensated with 5 pounds if he was a bachelor or up to 40 pounds per month if he was married (the exact compensation depended on the number of children) which was about the average salary at the time. And there was a Prisoners’ Committee that was responsible for managing the kitchen. This committee ordered the various shopping and was responsible for cooking on the basis of the principle of “7 shillings per person per day”. Mr. Malas jokingly points out: “We ate meat 6 times a week when the average family of Cyprus ate meat only every Sunday”.



    Cyprus needs, at the critical stage that is now our national problem, friends, many friends, and not enemies. The British have taken an important step towards reconciliation by giving compensation of one million pounds to 33 EOKA members for the torture they have suffered, while at the same time expressing their regret. “We must not forget the past – and indeed we have to learn from it. But the most important thing is to look to the future,” the English government’s announcement concluded.



    Let us emulate the example of France and Germany. In less than 100 years, these two countries, from cruel enemies, after countless wars between them, have turned their animosity into an excellent working relationship. The dense network of ties, institutions and common policies that bind the political elites and societies of France and Germany today is in the interests of the entire EU.



    *Opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of CypriumNews.

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