Tuesday, 1 April 2008

EOKA’s struggle for Enosis

EOKA (Εθνική Οργάνωσις Κυπρίων Αγωνιστών, National Organisation of Cypriot Fighters), under the leadership of Giorgos Grivas-Digenis, began its struggle to liberate Cyprus from British colonial rule and unite the island with Greece with a series of bomb attacks targeting government installations on 1 April 1955. The text below is from the leaflet disseminated in Cypriot villages and towns by the organisation to coincide with the beginning of the campaign:

With God’s help, with faith in our righteous struggle, the support of all Hellenism, and the help of Cypriots, WE START OUR FIGHT TO RID OURSELVES OF THE BRITISH YOKE, having as our motto that which our forefathers left as a sacred heritage, ‘WITH YOUR SHIELD OR ON IT’.


From the depths of the centuries, looking down at us are all those who glorified Greek history in preservation of their freedom, the soldiers of Marathon and Salamis, Leonidas’ 300 and the fighters of the Albanian epos. Looking down at us are the fighters of 1821, who taught us that freedom is only won with BLOOD. All of Hellenism is watching us, anxiously and with national pride.

Let us show with our actions that we will surpass them.

The time has come to show to the world that, even if international diplomacy is UNJUST and COWARDLY, the Cypriot soul is brave. If the conquerors do not want to grant us our freedom, we will take it ourselves with our own HANDS and BLOOD.

Let us show to the world one more time that Greeks will not tolerate slavery. The struggle will be difficult. The tyrant has the means and numbers.

We have the SOUL. We have JUSTICE on our side. That is why we will WIN.


Look at the result of your work. It is a disgrace that in the 20th century people have to shed their blood to win their FREEDOM, this holy gift for which we fought on your side, while you claim you fought against fascism and Nazism.


Wherever you are, listen to our voice.





Anonymous said...

Wow. Thanks for translating and posting this historical document.


john akritas said...

I wouldn't want to take the credit for translating the leaflet. I found it fairly well translated here:

which looks at the Cyprus emergency from a military strategic/guerrilla warfare point of view; though I did tweak the translation here and there.

I like this quote from the article:

'[As] Bernard B. Fall said in the Naval War College Review, Winter 1998, The Theory and Practice of Insurgency and Counterinsurgency:

"Remember that the British fought in Cyprus, and seemingly had everything in their favor. It is an island half the size of New Jersey. The Royal Navy, which can be trusted to do its job, sealed off the island from the outside. There were 40,000 British troops on Cyprus under Field Marshal Sir John Harding, and his opponent, Colonel George Grivas, had 300 Greeks in the EOKA. The ratio between regular troops and guerrillas was 110-to-1 in favor of the British! After five years the British preferred to come to terms with the rebels."'