Friday, May 23, 2008

Simple Beauty in a Chaotic World

Notes from Cyprus

The coast line North coast Paphos is becoming so overbuilt with seaside hotels and villas that one hardly ever looks anywhere but the road which is actually a good thing as they have the highest per capita accident rate in the world. Considering this, both the mind and the eye do a double take when the blue green of the Mediterranean suddenly appears framed by lush green plantings – a ribbon of color between the continuing beige of even the luxury hotels. The building this swath of color takes your eye to is noteworthy in its’ simplicity and its’ pure whiteness against the incredible blue of the sea and the sky.

It is the AEOKA MUSEAM and its’ centerpiece is the fishing Trawler that returned George Grivas, the militant super Hellenist and military leader, to Cyprus after years of exile. His mission was to set up a strong military and terrorist fighting force that could return the island
to the Greeks.

Hellenism is still a major issue here even after joining the EU. It is not surprising to see more Greek flags flying that those of the Republic of Cyprus. School children are still taught that Turks are evil and stupid. This indoctrination continues though compulsory military duty.

Inside the building is the boat. Now beautifully painted a shiny white with green trim, interesting because green is the Muslim color, it far from resembles the storm tossed purposefully inconspicuous gun runner working fishing craft it once was. It is about 40 feet long and some 12 feet wide. In 1955 she dropped Grivas and 5 others near the village of Chlorakas just north of Paphos which was then in the boondocks. They and 8 others were caught in January of 1955 and the Walls are covered with the Greek version of their trials etc.. No British versions allowed.

Just outside the rear of the building standing on the shoreline is and over sized statue of Grivas in full military regalia. Behind the statue is a stunning monument of gold and silver rods reaching for the sky with a horizontal crosspiece that parallels the horizon.

Even early on a Saturday morning there are many people here, mostly Greeks. They are all dressed up, young and old; grandfathers holding their grandchildren’s hands. They walk slowly around.

It is as quiet as a church.

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