CYPRECO Paid Tribute To “The Immortals”

On Friday, April 1st CYPRECO of America presented with outstanding success a special commemorative program at the Stathakion Cultural Center in Astoria, New York to commemorate the 56th anniversary of the launch of the liberation struggle of the Greek Cypriots against British colonization in Cyprus, Under the title, “To The Immortals” -Those Who Believed That Freedom Is NOT Given, You Must Fight For I. In attendance were His Eminence Archbishop Demetrios of America  and Guest Speaker was the Minister of Health of Cyprus Dr. Christos Patsalides who represented the Cypriot Government .P roducer and Host, Elena Maroulleti  acknowledged the presence of a freedom fighter, Mr. Andreas Karacostas who was among the youngest to enlist in the struggle at the age of almost 16 and who operated with the code name “Vounisios” and was captured by the British and after his unsuccessful attempt to escape he was kept in high security imprisonment for 2 years until the end of fight in 1959.

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The truly moving event was praised by all present and was organized under the auspices of the Consulate General of Cyprus in New York, the Cyprus Federation of America, the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus-PSEKA and the federation of Hellenic societies of Greater New York.  Special messages on the anniversary of the EOKA struggle were conveyed by Ambassador Aghi Balta, Consul General of Greece to New York, the Presidents of the Federation of Hellenic Societies, of PSEKA and the Cyprus Federation of America, Mr. Elias Tsekerides, Mr. Philip Christopher and Mr. Peter Papanicolaou

The event was supported with narration, poetry, music and patriot songs, and paid tribute and revived the history of the freedom fighters of Cyprus who despite all odds, limitations and difficulties rose up on April 1st 1955 against the aggressive British superpower and fought on all fronts for the liberation of their country.   Hundreds of Cypriots lost their lives; many in combat, others were executed, while others were convicted by specially appointed British Courts and promptly hanged”, she further stressed.   The struggle known as EOKA which stands for National Organization of Cypriot Fighters lasted for four years until 1959 with the freedom of Cyprus and the declaration of the Cyprus Republic which was officially signed on August 16, 1960.

Peter Papanicolaou, President CFA and Elena Maroulleti, President CYPRECO - Photo by: Kostas Beis

The cultural part of the program ended with patriotic songs by the Archdiocesan Youth Choir and the recital of three poems by the heroes Evagoras Pallikarides and Kyriacos Matsis.  Pallikarides who was also known as the “poet of the struggle” was executed by the British by hanging.  He was the last to be hanged and he was only 19 years old.

Archbishop of America Demetrios expressed his congratulations and most sincere thanks to CYPRECO and congratulated the Minister for the very “inspiring” speech, the Cyprus and Greek federations and PSEKA for placing the event under their auspices and all of those who attended including the many dignitaries and officials.

His Eminence then thanked Mr. Andreas Karacostas for his contributions to the EOKA struggle.  The Archbishop then offered his own unique memories from the 1955-59 Greek Cypriot fight for independence, noting that along with other Hellenes he wanted to go to Cyprus to fight, however since that was not possible he participated in other movements in Greece that promoted the struggle.  He stressed that it is impossible for him to relay the sorrow that he felt when the executions or killings of the young men of EOKA were announced during that time, however he said despite all these sad events, t”he heroes of Cyprus were conveying with certainty the message through their sacrifices that it was impossible that their struggle will go to waste and indeed he concluded this struggle was justified after all, however with many lives being sacrificed”.