By ENDY D. ZEMENIDES
The vote to approve the “bailout”/legalized bank robbery terms for Cyprus was scheduled for Sunday, but then postponed to Monday. Then on Monday, it was postponed to Tuesday. On March 19, Greek Cypriots threw a wrench into Germany’s plan to treat every southern European economy as a guinea pig during this euro crisis.
Perhaps it was fate that this vote – and the overwhelming rejection of the Troika’s terms – occurred on March 19th. Half a world away, one of Cyprus’ greatest champions – Andrew A. Athens – was being laid to rest. The scenes of protest and then celebration in Cyprus reminded some of us of the protests in Daley Plaza organized by Mr. Athens, or the 1999 protest in Washington, D.C. where over 3,000 people formed a human chain around the Capitol building to mark the 25th year of Turkey’s occupation of Cyprus. Analysts compared this vote to the 2004 rejection of the Annan Plan, which Mr. Athens fought against. From 2004 to his passing, Mr. Athens traveled several times a year to Washington, D.C. to lobby against any solution that resembled Annan.
These and other efforts led to him being celebrated as “Andy Nicosia” in Cyprus. And on the day when Cyprus said goodbye to Andy Nicosia, all Greek Cypriots knew that he was there with them, once again standing defiantly against injustice. Could anything have been more fitting than the fact that the news of the Cypriot Parliament’s vote reached the mourners immediately after they gave their final farewells?
In 1994, Mr. Athens supported the “DALARAS SINGS FOR CYPRUS” tour in the United States. One of the most moving songs during that tour was “Λογαριάσατε λάθος”, and the last verse in the song captures the spirit of yesterday’s vote, the spirit of the 2004 “NO” to the Annan Plan, and the spirit of four decades of Andy Athens’ advocacy for Cyprus perfectly:
Λογαριάσατε λάθος με το νου σας εμπόροι
δε μτριέται πατρίδα λευτεριά με τον πήχη
κι αν μικρός είναι ο τόπος και το θέλει και μπορεί
τον ασήκωτο βράχο να τον φάει με το νύχι
Τούτη η δίψα δε σβήνει τούτη η μάχη δε παύει
χίλια χρόνια αν περάσουν δεν πεθαίνουμε σκλάβοι