REVIEW by Willard Manus
problems are as far-ranging as the island itself.
A divided country-part-Greek, part-Turkish-Cyprus must also
cope with the power Athens, Ankara, Washington and London exerts over
it. In addition, it sits in the shadows cast by the sinister countries
of the Middle East.
There is a world of literature dealing with the embattled island, ranging
from U.N. documents to the works by politicians, journalists and historians.
Now another book must be added to the list: CYPRUS: A VIEW FROM THE DIASPORA,
written by George Gregoriou, a political-science professor at William
Paterson University of New Jersey.
The author was born in Cyprus in 1936. His family was militant and nationalistic;
his father was interned by British colonial authorities during the 1931
insurrection. The family emigrated to the USA in 1950 but continued to
support Cyprus struggle for independence, a stance that inspired
Gregoriou to write this book.
Despite its title, the author confesses that he has aimed his
work at Greek Cypriots. I am under no illusion that another book
on Cyprus is necessary to convince the powers that be in London and Washington
to change their policies on Cyprus...this is not my intention. I have
tried to offer an analysis of the Cyprus problem by keeping close to the
historical record, without mincing my words. The events in Cyprus and
the actions of the enemies of the Greek Cypriots speak for themselves.
All I have done here is to record these events, from the arrival of the
British in 1878 to the turn of the 21st century.
What the Greek Cypriots suffered due to British colonialism, the
American hegemony in Greece, and the Western geopolitical strategies in
the Eastern Mediterranean, is a matter of record. But I also deal with
certain forbidden subjects, particularly the political forces
in Greece and Cyprus responsible for the events leading to the de facto
partition in 1974 and the Anglo-American policies outside and inside the
United Nations to legitimize the facts on the ground created by the Turkish
occupation of northern Cyprus.
Gregoriou is a writer on the left; his orientation comes out of a lifetime
of devotion to progressive politics. He believes that most mainstream
theories about Cyprus are ideological claptrap, and admits
that his work is colored by his experience in the struggles against fascism
in Greece and American imperialism in Vietnam.
It would be wrong, though, to associate his work with dogma or propaganda.
Gregoriou writes coolly and objectively, avoiding emotionalism and jingoism.
He backs up what he says with logic and fact, and can summarize complex
ideas in succinct, readable fashion. Its a rare gift in an academic.
Gregorious book is a kind of MRI of Cyprus illness. Some readers
wont like what it reveals, especially those who back the political
and charitable organizations which bring pressure on the U.S. government
to revise its pro-Turkish stance.
believes the U.S. State Department is rigidly opposed to a united and
independent Cyprus, as it would undermine its imperialist policies in
the eastern Mediterranean, policies it learned from Britains divide-and-rule
philosophy. Diaspora Cypriots and Greeks can hold rallies, make speeches
and back politicians, but it wont do a damn bit of good, Gregoriou
says. The USA will never change the way it thinks and acts.
CYPRUS is divided into four sections: Introductory Essays (including an
overview entitled A View From the Diaspora); British Colonialism
and Resistance (1878-1960); The Republic of Cyprus in Crisis (1960-1974);
and Occupation and Diplomacy (1974-2000). Such topics as EOKA and its
place in history, the collapse of the Zurich settlement, and the road
to partition are dissected and analyzed, with much space given to the
internecine battles between EOKA leader Grivas and Archbishop Makarios.
Gregoriou denounces both of them for having skirted around the historical
antecedents forcing the Zurich settlement. The two nationalist factions
were held hostage to the EOKA mythology, without examining the political
and military implications of an undertaking initiated by both factions.
Gregoriou adds, If the EOKA struggle was an adventurist interregnum
in Cypriot history, for which the Greek Cypriots paid a heavy price, this
cannot be swept under the rug...the majority of the Cypriots, including
the Turkish Cypriots, were excluded from the anti-colonial struggle.
This failure was a major factor in the tragedy that befell the island
MP, Social Democratic Movement, had this to say about CYPRUS: The
author attempts to get to the bottom of things and seeks the dialectical
relationship between the internal political life and international politics.
The events taking place are intended to serve primarily the policies and
interests of the American and British. For fifty years Gregoriou has been
in the same trench, the same struggle, but with new thoughts and a much
sharper and critical eye. The difficulties, problems and obstacles ahead
do not lead the author toward despair. On the contrary, they lead him
where history is made, in the potential of a people manifested in their
history, legacy, and civilization. The way out, he states, will not come
from Washington or London. It will come from the people of Cyprus.
(Smyrna Press, Box 1151, Union City, NJ, 07087)_