Cyprus National Day
April 1 is a significant date in Cyprus's recent history: it commemorates the Greek Cypriot insurgency's beginning against the British. It started in 1955, and it was the way of saying enough to British rule on the island.
The Russo-Turkish War, also known as The War in the East, reconfigured the European map of the late 19th century. This warlike conflict occurred between 1877 and 1878. It originated from the Russian Empire's intention to gain access to the Mediterranean Sea and liberating the Slavic countries from Ottoman rule.
At the end of the war, the Treaty of Berlin determined the winners and losers. And so it was that the United Kingdom leased the island of Cyprus, which was finally annexed as part of the British Empire at the end of the First World War.
But one day, the Cypriots decided to say enough. It happened on April 1, the exact date the insurgency began. This date is also known as "EOKA Day" (Ethniki Organosis Kyprion Agoniston) and has its roots in the concept of "Enosis". Union with Greece had been the longing of many, especially in the 19th century, when the Ottomans ruled the region.
In the early morning of April 1, 1955, a series of explosions occurred in Nicosia, Larnaca, Limassol, and British military installations. These attacks caused damage to the central government buildings. On this day, the EOKA had its first death. Modestos Pantelís, from Liopetri, died by electrocution to cause a power cut in Famagusta so that EOKA units could act. The war had started.
The objective of EOKA was to achieve unification with Greece through armed struggle. As we well know, this finally did not happen. This is how a guerrilla war was established, which targeted British military bases throughout the island. The warlike conflict lasted for four years, with diverse and unequal confrontations, given each party's extreme power. The Cypriots demonstrated a deep yearning for independence. It was reflected in the patriotism and courage of each of those who entered the fray. Finally, on August 16, 1960, there was a ceasefire, and Cyprus became an independent country.
April 1 is a day that invites reflection. It is a day to understand and appreciate what freedom means. Independence is not just a pretty word. It is the expression that best identifies any human being.
It is a suitable day to remember those who fell in the confrontations that ensured independence. This is how special religious services and tributes are held in different cities of the country. Many businesses and shops are closed on April 1, considering this important date for Cyprus.
SourceAndreas Varnavas, A Brief History of the EOKA Liberation Struggle