Address by the General Secretary of the C.C. of AKEL A. Kyprianou to the anti-fascist, anti-racist march on the occasion of the International Day for the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
AKEL C.C. Press Office, 23 March 2019, Nicosia
On behalf of the C.C. of AKEL, I extend a warm greeting of solidarity to all immigrants and refugees living in Cyprus. I address a warm greeting to Cypriot and foreign workers who are waging together the struggle to make ends meet, and in the fight against racism and neo-fascism.
As far as AKEL is concerned, we are sending out clear messages every day. We repeat them on this day too. No immigrant, no “foreigner” is our enemy, but our fellow human beings. A simple and painfully true conversation was posted on social media on the pretext of the refugee question. It said “You are not a foreigner, you are poor. If you were rich you wouldn’t be a foreigner anywhere.”
Cyprus in 2019 confirms in the most tragic way this painful truth. If someone has money and can buy a luxury home or apartment, the government doesn’t just welcome him/her with open arms, but also grants a passport as well. If it is a poor refugee then they are hosted in facilities of dubious quality or handed vouchers for a family to survive and about 250 euros to rent a place to live. If one has money, then all doors are opened to you and you’re called an “investor,” if you don’t have money you’re labelled a “foreigner” – the first, biggest and easiest victim of neo-fascism.
Unfortunately, there are certain forces and circles who have forgotten or want to forget that we ourselves were once refugees; that we were standing in queues to get a blanket, a dish of food and were sleeping in refugee tents. Regrettably, there are people who talk about the “purity of our race and nation” today and in the name of the homeland are promoting the greatest crime: the selling off of Cyprus’ future and its partition. Those who today appear before the people as their advocates and protectors, but at every critical moment side with with big capital and doing the dirty work on its behalf.
This has also been the case in our country.
When it first appeared, ELAM was presented as a force against the establishment. At every critical moment, however, it proved to be the most valuable bastion of support for Mr. Anastasiades and DISY. ELAM tilled the balance of forces in favour of Mr. Anastasiades in the second round of the Presidential Election. It voted willingly all the draft bills that dissolved the Cyprus Cooperative Bank and burdened billions of euros on people’s backs.
Recently we had the revelations about draft-dodging. Those who portray themselves as “super-patriots”, those who are more or less about to launch a raid to get Constantinople back, didn’t even see fit to do their military service. They didn’t even keep guard not even once for their homeland, but they want to liberate it…
They play the same role in Cyprus as their associates do across Europe: thuggery, xenophobia, racism, populism, hatred and violence against the weak. This is what they really are. A part of what they really are like was revealed just last week when the President of ELAM under pressure – due to the revelations about draft-dodging – lost his temper and threatened the waging of “an unorthodox political war” and a response to the accusations in “military terms.” The masks are gradually coming off and the branch of the “Golden Dawn” party is being revealed.
But who are they threatening? The history of this country is written with the blood shed by hundreds of heroes of democracy, who did not yield when guns were being aimed at them, who did not give in when they were being thrown alive into the lion’s den of the battle, who didnt worship fascism when they were being tied alive on trees to be burned. The history of country place is written with our own blood. The shame of our country’s history is written with their own betrayal. We do not forget who they were, we do not ignore who they are. Instead, for years, we have insisted on resisting and exposing them.
By our very nature we stand against racism’s inhumane content. We combat and politically isolate neo-fascism. We cultivate the respect for every person and every culture. We point out that imperialism is the one solely responsible for creating the waves of refugees. Capital is the one responsible for illegal immigration which wants to attack the gains and rights of all working people, domestic and foreign. We insist that the only answer is the strengthening of the organization of the working people. For us, no immigrant is our enemy. For us, no refugee is a threat. That is why we will not cease struggling with the peoples of Europe, the peoples of the world against racism and neo-fascism, for the right of every person to life and dignity!
Long live the friendship of the peoples!
Intervention of Georgos Koukoumas, member of the C.C. of AKEL and the International Relations Department, at the Hearing “Palestine: What’s Next?” organized by GUE/NGL2015-07-1
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