Monday, January 24, 2011

Boy George remembers Cyprus, Archbishop Dimitrios forgets

"We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented." –Elie Wiesel, Holocaust survivor, former inmate at Auschwitz, author of “Night”.

Gilt-edged occasion: Boy George and composer John Themis with the token of gratitude given them by the Church of Cyprus after the return of the icon, held by an unnamed official with Bishop Porfyrios [photo by 'Daily Mail' 21/01/2011]

For Immediate Release: January 23, 2011

When talking about the Turkish invasion and ongoing occupation of Cyprus and its denial, I am reminded of what   Elie Wiesel once said "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."  In the upcoming days Archbishop Dimitrios as spiritual leader of some 3 million Greek Americans will be attending the annual Holocaust Remembrance Days at the UN in New York and at the marbled halls of the Consulate General of Greece in New York, to make his annual remarks about the human struggle to remember a religious minority that was tormented in a death camp in Poland called Auschwitz and to mark its liberation close to seventy years ago. Meanwhile, another religious minority, not seventy years ago, but today, the Greek Cypriots of occupied Cyprus this past Christmas had Christmas liturgy denied to them, when the brutal tormentors who have raped, massacred and diminished a population in a slow motion Holocaust in Karpasia shut down their few remaining churches on Christmas day. These people have seen their cemeteries desecrated, their churches turned into houses of prostitution and their religious and cultural artifacts stolen by the tormentors and sold on the black markets to the highest bidders.

This week a glimmer of hope was raised for our people when world reknown celebrity Boy  George returned a stolen icon and made press around the world by  breaking the silence and condemning the Turkish occupation of Cyprus . This week Archbishop Dimitrios has a choice: to continue to remain silent about those who awarded the Turkish Minister and racist Bagis, and thus try to remain a silent neutral, or to be a good man and to help the tormented. We must continue this week to send protest letters to Archbishop Dimitrios to remind him to find it in his heart to remember Cyprus, for the sake of our people Archbishop Dimitrios "We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."

This week is filled with irony whilst Boy George is returning the stolen icon and the Archbishop Chrysostomos of Cyprus is honored by the Patriarch of Moscow and all Russians Kyrillos for his efforts with the Prize of the International Foundation for the unity of Orthodox Christian Nations, the Patriarchate and his Archons headed by Archbishop Demetrios honored racist Bagis who does not recognize the Republic of Cyprus and whose country is responsible for the desecration of our occupied churches and violations of religious freedom of our enclaved Greek Cypriots.

Below follows  A Big Thank You to Boy George from distinguished Greek-Cypriot journalist and researcher Fanoulla Argyrou and related news links of interest. Please forward to all you media contacts.

--Nikolaos Taneris, Press officer, Cyprus Action Network of America (CANA)

A big thank you to Boy George

The news that popular singer Boy George has returned a looted icon he had in his possession after buying it in good faith from a shop in King’s Road in London almost 26 years ago, after being informed by the Church of Cyprus of its real origin and fate, is highly appreciated by the Greek nation. George’s decision to return the looted precious icon to the Church of Cyprus has once again brought to the front line news the barbaric Turkish crimes committed since and after the two bloody Turkish invasions of Cyprus in 1974.

A bulk of barbaric crimes, murders, rapes,  bombardment and executions in cold blood also included  the destruction and looting of hundreds of Christian churches and religious places in occupied Cyprus where in the process thousands of priceless icons and other religious artefacts have been systematically looted. And smuggled out of the island ruthlessly sold in the black market. They even tried to sell some of these in reputable Auction Houses.

Readers are referred to “The Guardian” report “The rape of northern Cyprus ”, of 6th May 1976 which published horrific details of the desecration, looting and vandalism of our occupied churches in the occupied by Turkey part of Cyprus . The article referred to an ITV (Independent Television) documentary of those days. It said “As UNESCO suppressed an expert report on Turkish treatment of the churches of northern Cyprus , a TV team slipped away from surveillance and brought back grim evidence of looting and desecration for ITV’s This Week Tonight, Thames TV correspondent John Fielding reports…”

Readers are also referred to Michalle A Vu’s report published in “The Christian Post”, 28 April 2008 titled “The last church standing in occupied Cyprus ”. The following are extracts:  “… According to the Republic of Cyprus , in the span of three decades under Turkish control, more than 530 churches and monasteries have been pillaged, vandalized, or destroyed in the occupied areas. “ I cannot say that the destruction of churches is encouraged openly by the Turkish government. All I can say is that it is taking place in the area that is under direct control of the Turkish military, and I leave you to make your own conclusions from that “. (Statement by Andreas Kakouris ex Cyprus Ambassador to the United States to CHRISTIAN POST. See “Bloody Truth” pages 360-365 and downloading of the whole book  is absolutely free).

According to statistics of the Republic of Cyprus : “… About 133 churches, chapels and monasteries have been converted to military storage facilities, stables and night-clubs, a further number of 78 churches have been converted to mosques, Agia Anastasia church, in occupied Lapithos, was converted into a casino hotel, while Sourp Magar Armenian monastery, founded in the medieval period, was converted into a Cafeteria…” (Christian Post).

“This is not a Muslim-Christian issue… I don’t think the Cyprus problem has ever been a religious issue between the Greek and Turkish Cypriots… If the Turkish government hadn’t given the ‘green light’ on the destruction of churches and artefacts, they have not given the ‘red light’ either…So it is, either directly taking place or with their blind eye or whatever you want to call it. But they are responsible for what is taking place there”. (Andreas Kakouris to Christian Post. See “Bloody Truth” pages 360 – 365).

Looting and Smuggling

“Michael Van Rijn, the self-confessed art smuggler who worked undercover for Scotland Yard, has never been shy about his dubious activities in the art world. His claims about the millions he made through his links with the Yard are typical of his passion for causing embarrassment… Michael Van Rijn plans to use his website to reveal years of undercover operations for Scotland Yard and others. He wants his disclosures to embarrass the British Museum , Sotheyby’s, Christies and other leading art dealers as well as the security services.… A dentist’s son from Amsterdam , who owns several houses around the world,  admits smuggling icons out of Russia , Cyprus , Greece and elsewhere. “ I have made millions…”, wrote “The Times” of London on 29 January 1990.

Michael van Rijn, a self confessed art smuggler indeed… has also been a very close associate of A. Dikmen, the Turkish smuggler, who stole the famous Kanakaria frescoes from occupied Lithrangomi in Cyprus . In his autobiography Michael van Rijn describes vividly how large amounts of antiquities from occupied Cyprus were loaded on vehicles of the Finnish UN contingent in Cyprus and transferred  to the free part of the Republic of Cyprus from where they were, in the process smuggled out of the island (After a long and hard legal battle led by the Church of Cyprus (court case took place in America) the latter won the return of the Kanakaria frescoes to Cyprus…”. (All these have been covered in detail in my book (but unfortunately exhausted only to be found in libraries) “Conspiracy or Blunder?” issued in Nicosia 2000 published by Refugee Association “Adouloti Kyrenia”).

“ … Haven’t you heard that the 2000 year old Christchurch in Cyprus , St. Barnabas Church, has been robbed? Haven’t you heard that 35 icons were stolen, 11 of them were found in Kythrea, that 11 were retrieved in Ankara airport while being smuggled out and that the rest are lost? Haven’t you heard what’s happening in Varosia ( Famagusta )? Haven’t you heard that figurines belonging to the Catholic period and kept in the Archaelogical Museum have been stolen and smuggled to London ?

What about the icons in the other churches: the mosaics, the private collections the illegal digs? Haven’t you heard of these? Why have they stopped the digs started before 1974 at the city of Gastria , which belongs to the geometric age? Do you know what has happened since then? The “government” (refers to the occupied regime) has issued permits  to certain businessmen from Turkey to set up a gypsum factory there. The tombs were destroyed and plundered”. (‘Perishing Cyprus in the Turkish Cypriot Review’ by Mehmet Yasin. ‘ Olay’ April 1982 – from Public and Information Office publication “They make a desert and they call it peace”). (Quoted in my book “Conspiracy or Blunder?” pages 93 – 96).

A big thank you to Boy George who through his commendable decision to return the stolen icon to the Church of Cyprus (obviously not able to return it to the actual Church of origin due to the continued Turkish invasion and occupation of that part of our homeland) has offered immense service to our cause in promoting to the eyes of the world the ongoing Turkish religious crimes committed in Cyprus since 1974…

God Bless you George.

Fanoulla Argyrou


Related News Links of interest:

Friday, January 7, 2011

Protest award to racist Turk Minister Egemen Bagis

For Immediate Release: January 5, 2011
by Cyprus Action Network of America:

CURRENT STATUS:  The current, Minister for European Union Affairs and Chief Negotiator of the Republic of Turkey , the racist Mr. Egemen Bagis was awarded by the  “Order of Saint Andrew, Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate” this Greek-American group representing the Ecumenical Patriarchate awarded the Turkish official “commending him for his efforts on behalf of religious minorities in Turkey .”

The award was bestowed on the representative of criminal Turkey in Brussels on November 16-17, 2010 days before the EU assessment on Turkey’s human rights record and was attended by Archbishop Dimitrios of America and Greek-Cypriot immigrant Panicos “Peter” Papanicolaou the “Supreme President” of the Cyprus Federation of America. Mr. Papanicolaou walked out of the room in protest during the honoring.
The Greek-American organized conference in Brussels the capital of the EU was titled, ironically “RELIGIOUS FREEDOM: TURKEY ’S BRIDGE TO THE EUROPEAN UNION: INTERNATIONAL ARCHON RELIGIOUS FREEDOM CONFERENCE”

For Greeks to bestow an award commending Mr. Egemen Bagis for “religious freedom” is to make a mockery of all that religious freedom and human rights stand for, it's akin to Jews awarding a Nazi Minister “commending him for his efforts on behalf of religious minorities in Hitler’s Germany .” 

Mr. Egeman Bagis, 39, is one of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's closest advisors. Since 2009, he has served as Turkey 's Minister for European Union Affairs and is the country's chief negotiator in EU accession talks.  Bagis refuses to recognise the Republic of Cyprus . In a very recent statement ( 6.1.2011) provocatively said the government of Cyprus “does not constitute a state” and that Turkey says to the world that the Greek Cypriots “ cannot constitute a state, not even a race”!. Bagis  repeatedly and in detail publicly denied Turkey ’s responsibility for the Armenian Genocide, in a recent interview to Spiegel in Germany he made reference to the possibility of throwing Americans off of Incirlik airbase in Turkey in retaliation for any possible recognition of the Armenian Genocide by the US Congress. When the parliament of Sweden in March 2010 recognized that  Armenians, Assyrians,Syrians, Chaldeans and Pontic Greeks - had suffered genocide, Bagis with bravado expressed “disappointment” and threatened Sweden with economic and diplomatic retaliation for basically recognizing also the truth of the genocide of Pontic Greeks by criminal Turkey. Bagis was quoted in the Turkish Press in calling for efforts in Sweden against the recognition of the resolution that recognized the genocide of Pontic Greeks, the Turkish Cumhuriyet cited Bagis, the Turkish diplomat reminded what happened in Swedish parliament: “Shame on us what happened in Swedish Parliament. Our brothers for whom Turks cast ballots passed the resolution which smeared us. It’s unacceptable.”  

During Christmas liturgy in occupied Cyprus Turkish occupation forces desecrated  Greek Cypriot churches by attacking Priests during Christmas liturgy and forcing Greek-Cypriot worshipers out of their churches ultimately padlocking shut the church on Christmas Day. These barbaric crimes against religious freedom by Turkey in occupied Cyprus have been answered by official letters of protest  and condemnation by the Cyprus Government, the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs,the Archbishop of Cyprus, by European politicians and numerous other organisations worldwide but also by none other than the “Archons” the same group that awarded the Turk Bagis in a press release on their site titled “Order of St. Andrew Condemns Religious Freedom Violations in the northern Turkish-occupied part of Cyprus” (1-4-2011)

Protests to Turkey’s crimes against religious freedom on Christmas Day in occupied Cyprus also came from The U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), in its report titled “Cyprus: USCIRF Faults Turkish Cypriot Authorities for Closing Church on Christmas” (1-3-2011)

In the wake of these Turkish Crimes against Religious Freedom , Mr. Bagis in recent days has made racist statements to the Turkish Press, openly denying the existence of the Greek-Cypriot nation, as well as calling for the EU to “punish” Greek-Cypriots following the next round of negotiations if the “spoiled Greek-Cypriots “ again say no to Turkish demands. These remarks together with his history of Genocide denial  shows that Mr. Bagis is an anti-Greek-Cypriot racist emboldened by Turkey’s cycle of impunity for its past crimes of Genocide and its ongoing HOLOCAUST of the Greek-Cypriots that began on July 20, 1974.

The story of how the Archons bestowed an award for religious freedom to the racist Turkish Minister Bagis would have basically gone by unnoticed, except by the Turkish  press, had it not been for a report in the Greek language daily Ethnikos Kirix, A FULL MONTH AFTER THE AWARD, the story came out on Ethnikos Kirix on December 23rd, two  days before Christmas Day, and was followed up with stories in the Greek-Cypriot dailies Simierini and Phileleftheros. Widely quoted in this late story is the protest of Mr. Philip Christopher President of PSEKA and Panicos “Peter” Papanicolaou the Supreme President of Cyprus Federation of America.  Had it not been for the Ethnikos Kirix and the follow up press in Cyprus , this story would have remained in the ghetto of Astoria and the four walls of Cyprus , reported during Christmas week when most news items are quickly not spotlighted. This week  distinguished Greek-Cypriot author and researcher Fanoulla Argyrou discussed this story on major Greek-Cypriot media, and wrote about it in London community newspapers TA NEA and Eleftheria, the story was also posted on the popular human rights website Agora-dialogue.

We still do not know why it took the officials over a month to report this case through Ethnikos Kirix and why a strong and public protest was not delivered there and then in Brussels together with the walk out of the room. But we agree with Philip Christopher’s demand as quoted in Ethnikos Kirix:

The President of the International Coordinating Committee for Justice for Cyprus Mr. Philip Christopher in a statement to the “National Herald” (23 December 2010) said: “We ask of Archbishop Dimitrios and the board of the Archons of the EP to tell us who and with what criteria come up with Awarding  Minister of Turkey , Egmen Bagis”. Mr. Christopher also expressed his strong disapproval to this decision. 

Thus far there is no explanation for who made the decision, but sources have informed us that a “a wealthy powerful man who can move waves in America ” made the decision…..

Call, write, email the Archbishop Dimitrios of America and the Archons the following statement “We ask of Archbishop Dimitrios and the board of theArchons of the EP to tell us who and with what criteria come up with Awarding  Minister of Turkey , Egemen Bagis”.
Please take the time to personalize your letter, and as always please be polite and courteous.

8 East 79th Street, New York , NY 10075-0106• Telephone: (212) 570-3500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (212) 570-3500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting             (212) 570-3500 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (212) 570-3500      end_of_the_skype_highlighting       • Fax: (212) 570-3569

The Order of Saint Andrew
Archons of the Ecumenical Patriarchate

8 East 79th Street
New York, NY 10075
Phone: 212 570 3550 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              212 570 3550      end_of_the_skype_highlighting          Fax: 212 774 0214


Saturday, January 1, 2011

Alexander Downer exposed: a report from Cyprus Indymedia

Below is an article produced by a member of the Cyprus Indymedia collective specifically for publishing on the Australian Indymedia site on the destructive role that former Australian Foreign Minister Alexander Downer is playing in Cyprus in his current role with the UN.

Alexander Downer on the Global Scene
Radical and Mainstream Press: a Convergence?

Source: (06/11/2010)

Cyprus is under military occupation being subjected to ethnic cleansing, genocide and illegal settlement and is now in grave danger of being plunged by the Imperialist powers into another round of mayhem, war and murder.

The "final solution" that our island is being threatened with, is the setting up of a new Apartheid State (just like South Africa and Israel) comprised of two ethnically identified zones replete with a Bizonal Race Law that will be the highest law of the land determining every feature of the entire structure of the new republic: from the Race Law that will govern the Constitution all the way to property rights, electoral quotas and education, civic administration, commerce, etc. All these are to be determined by the new Race Law. Alexander Downer is at the head of the Bizonal Race Law choir in recent years, using overt and covert manipulations to actualize the above Imperialist agenda.

Our population is recently becoming more aware of his personal role in all this, and pressuring the politicians to do something about it. Giant scandals have errupted on the island and on the regional/global diplomatic scene with Downer in the epicenter: leaked documents; back-room deals; sleight of hand; political extortion and political favouritism... all of these methods that are routinely used by organized crime seem to be on agenda now.

Daily newspapers on the island are full of stories detailing Alexander Downer's role in fixing our country on the path of destruction through his special powers as a United Nations representative here. The Parliament has even been pressured by popular anger into opening an investigation of whether Downer has been violating the codes of professional ethics and protocols that are supposed to be observed by diplomats such as him.
The article by a mainstream newspaper below, and the links following it, give a flavour of the turmoil that has errupted in Cyprus with Al Downer in the center of the scene.

Cyprus IndyMedia has been on the forefront of these popular mobilizations against Downer, having helped to spread and popularize the "Persona Non Grata" slogan. Our most recent publication, here,
"Alexander Downer ~ Αλεξάντερ Ντάουνερ"
is simply a creative extension of that campaign. Very few words, indeed, but they convey the bitter sentiments of a betrayed and slaughtered people well enough.

As a group of activist journalists and editors, the Cyprus IndyMedia Collective has been on the forefront of the struggle to unveil the fact that the local United Nations mission in Cyprus is fully entangled with the Foreign Policy arms of the UK/US alliance, and operates as an extension of the United States' CIA, Pentagon and State Department. We were targeted by these forces in the year 2004 when we revealed more of their connections, resulting in another major scandal here in Cyprus:

"Government Admits Investigation Against Indymedia and Petros Evdokas Initiated by US Intelligence"

This was the original article that triggered the illegal actions against us:
"Spies, Murderers, and Creeps
- Management of the 'free dialogue' on the Annan plan"

Some more on that case:
Update on our Political/ Legal situations

Our people are awakening again, and forcing all the political parties to deal with a new reality: self-organized patriots, socialists, anarchists, feminist greens, independent communists and autonomists are re-mobilizing the population to resist the Bizonal Race Law regime that the Imperialists are trying to enforce on our tiny country.

Alexander Downer shall pass, just as the offending air from a bad fart passes on, eventually, no matter how foul. But two forces will remain. What remains is the willingness of our local ruling class and its politicians to do anything to serve global Imperialism. Also what remains is the will of the self-organized people to oppose them, and to struggle for new and old definitions of equality, freedom and liberty.

These two forces will remain, and will fight it out, eventually, on all fronts, and by all means necessary.

"And don't speak too soon
For the wheel's still in spin
And there's no tellin' who
That it's namin'.
For the loser now
Will be later to win
For the times they are a-changin'." - Bob Dylan

Petros Evdokas,
Volunteer, founding member,
Cyprus IndyMedia Collective


AKEL: Downer grilling akin to ‘public tribunal’
By Stefanos Evripidou Published on October 21, 2010

PARLIAMENT IS set to scrutinise the role of UN Special Adviser Alexander Downer and his team today in what AKEL boss Andros Kyprianou has labelled a “public tribunal” that will harm the national interest.
The motion to discuss the leaked UN documents referred to in the recently published book “Simademeni Trapoula (Marked Cards)” was tabled by DIKO, EVROKO and EDEK deputies Andreas Angelides, Rikkos Erotokritou and Marinos Sizopoulos respectively.

The documents are believed to contain the private email correspondence of the UN negotiating team with property experts and others, written during the period when President Demetris Christofias and former Turkish Cypriot leader Mehmet Ali Talat were discussing the property chapter.

While the UN has not publicly commented on its internal investigation into the documents, in private, officials have let it be known they consider the documents stolen property.

Ruling party leader Kyprianou warned on Tuesday that any effort to create friction with the UN during a critical phase of the negotiations would be “harmful to the national interest”.

If complaints exist about the role of UN representatives, these should be discussed through diplomatic channels and not by setting up “public tribunals” in parliament, he said.

Chairman of the House Institutions Committee, Erotokritou, yesterday hit back, saying that Kyprianou’s statement was an “insult to the legislature, an attempt to gag parliament and undermine democratic institutions”.

“The purpose of the meeting is to safeguard the institutions of the President of the Republic, state officials, politicians, journalists and even top priests from the improper characterisations and improper actions of Mr Downer and his team as revealed in the so-called Downer documents, which have not been denied,” he said.
Erotokritou suggested that the AKEL leader had confused his history, adding, “Whatever his beliefs and wishful thinking, the Cyprus Republic is a fully functioning state where the separation of powers is clear”.
He also indicated that Kyprianou was “protecting and covering for Mr Downer”, describing this as an “irresponsible political act to cover the actions of Downer instead of protecting the institutions and people from neo-colonial mentalities”.

Angelides accused Kyprianou acting in a way that was “irresponsible and detrimental to the Cyprus cause”, hinting that he did not respect the wishes of the majority.

Kyprianou responded yesterday saying that his positions were known and “anyone can judge whether or not they are improper”.

He added: “Right now, our priority should be how to handle the issues in the best possible way for Cyprus.”
According to Erotocritou, all parties bar AKEL are in favour of having the discussion today, meaning that if deputies from the ruling party propose a postponement, they will be outnumbered by eight to three. The EVROKO deputy confirmed that House President Marios Garoyian has also asked for a postponement. If deputies from his party DIKO follow suit, this takes the vote to six to five.

The three authors of the book in question, Achilleas Aimilianides, Michalis Kontos and Giorgios Kentas have been invited to the committee to discuss the UN documents



Further Links about the current situation:
‘Downer inquisition’ to go ahead
Al. Downer: " I have explained, contrary to conspiracy theories which suggest that the UN has a secret plan to impose a solution on Cyprus..."