Cyprus: Bi-communal Committee for Culture holds first event

Cyprus: Bi-communal Committee for Culture holds first event

Nicosia, July 29, 2015/ Independent Balkan News Agency

Review Hari Stefanatos

In support of efforts to reunify Cyprus and with the vision of peace and prosperity that will pass through culture, Androulla Vassiliou and Zehra Sonya, the representatives of the bi-communal committee for Culture, welcomed guests at Tuesday`s first event of the Committee.

The bicommunal musical group “Kyproyenia” performed traditional Cypriot music with a modern twist in the event entitled “Under the Moonlight” at the Othello Tower in the Turkish occupied town of Famagusta.

The event was attended by the leaders of the two communities on the island, President of the Republic Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci, the negotiators in the Cyprus talks,  representatives of political parties, foreign diplomats, including the UN Secretary General’s Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide and Lisa M. Buttenheim, Special Representative and Head of the United Nations Peacekeeping Force in Cyprus (UNFICYP).

Vassiliou and Sonya said that the two communities have been living apart for 41 years and referred to the bitter past and joint future that Cypriot musicians can have, both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots.

Vassiliou said “we have certainly gone through hard times and great turbulence”, making a reference to the people on both sides who lost their lives, while thousands of families were forced to leave their homes and properties. “Let us consider the magnitude of the disaster and the horrifying experiences of other European citizens due to conflicts and wars but still decided to leave behind the terrible experiences of the past and to look ahead, cooperate by building a common future of peace and cooperation”.

She stressed that what Cypriots, Greeks and Turks of Cyprus, must do, is to grab the opportunity and work together towards a common future, especially for younger generations who are forced to leave their homeland for a better future in a new country.

Vassiliou said that the people of Cyprus should lend their support to the two leaders, and they on their part should use “the power they have from the majority, should move boldly and decisively on the road they have mapped out. They should close their ears to the voices of division, hatred and discord and move on the path of peace, cooperation and progress”.

Zehra Sonya on her part said that the only reasonable way forward, bearing in mind the island’s geographical position, is not war, but peace, and everyone must work towards this end with all their hart. In this regard, she said, the effort and will of the two leaders is very important. And it is our duty to support them, to contribute towards this direction and to make the desire of the people for peace known.

“The time has come to put an end  to this island being a utopia and living peacefully together, happy, with prosperity should be a reality”, she added.

The Committee for Culture, she said, believes that federalism can be made possible with the expansion of the federal culture, making it a way of life. The cornerstone of this culture is to live peacefully without culture being a divisive element, to build tolerance, making multiculturalism a lifestyle.

The 14th century monument was restored by the Technical Committee on Cultural Heritage. Structural consolidation and conservation work began in May 2014 and finished this year.

The project was funded by the European Union in cooperation with the UNDP – Partnership for the future and cost €1,025 million.

Source: CNA