The Australian War Memorial played host to a momentous and poignant occasion as dignitaries, members of the Cypriot community, and distinguished guests gathered to solemnly commemorate the 49th anniversary of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974.
The ceremony served as a poignant reminder of the lives lost and the enduring impact of the conflict that occurred nearly five decades ago.
Gathered beneath the solemn arches of the memorial, attendees united in a spirit of remembrance and reflection. Moments of silence were observed, and wreaths were reverently laid to honour those who lost their lives during the Turkish invasion and other conflicts worldwide.
This collective act of remembrance served as a poignant tribute to the sacrifices made and emphasised the crucial pursuit of lasting peace and reconciliation.
The dignitaries present at the ceremony included Bishop Bartholomew of Charioupolis; H.E. the High Commissioner of the Republic of Cyprus in Australia, Mr. Antonis Sammoutis; The Deputy Spokeswoman of the Government of the Republic of Cyprus, Mrs. Doxa Komodromou who Represented the Republic of Cyprus; Colonel Ioannis Fasianos; the Pan-Australian Justice for Cyprus committee (PASEKA) President and President of the Cyprus Community of Canberra, Georgia Alexandrou; the President of Justice for Cyprus ACT, Nectaria Volis; the President of the Greek Orthodox Community & Church of Canberra, John Loukadellis; Jim Andriopoulos, Vice President of the Hellenic Club of Canberra, and Ms. Jane Hardy, Assistant Director of Europe’s political branch DFAT were also in attendance.
The Australian War Memorial served as a fitting backdrop for this commemoration, symbolising the shared values of remembrance, peace, and unity between Australia and Cyprus. The event reminded everyone of the enduring impact conflicts have on communities and nations alike, reiterating the necessity of promoting peace and stability worldwide.
The Australian-Cypriot community came together with deep reverence and a sense of unity, ensuring that the memories of the past remain alive and relevant in the present. The commemoration aimed to foster a collective commitment to promoting peace and stability, with attendees sharing a common hope for a peaceful and prosperous future for Cyprus.
As the ceremony concluded, attendees expressed their gratitude to High Commissioner Antonis Sammoutis and all those involved in organising the event. The solemn occasion served to strengthen the bonds between the Australian and Cypriot communities, demonstrating the power of remembrance to bridge cultures and promote understanding.
Following the ceremony, a special event was held at the Hellenic Club of Canberra, where the President of the Cyprus Community of Canberra and PASEKA, Georgia Alexandrou, delivered a moving speech, calling for justice for Cyprus.
The occasion was further enriched by a beautiful concert performed by Cypriot musicians, Marios Charalambous and Giorgos Timotheou, which deeply moved the distinguished guests, including the Greek Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Mr. George Papakostas, and the Israeli Ambassador to Australia, H.E. Mr. Amir Maimon.
In her remarkable speech, Mrs. Komodromou passionately stated, “We owe it to all those who fought and sacrificed for freedom and democracy to continue the fight for a free and reunited Cyprus, where all legal residents can live and prosper in security and stability.”
After the event, a heart-warming exchange of gifts between the Cypriot representative and the community members took place during a delightful dinner at Filos tavern, further fostering unity and friendship.
The historic event at the Australian War Memorial serves as a testament to the enduring spirit of commemoration, reconciliation, and friendship between Australia and Cyprus. It is a reminder that, despite the passage of time, the memory of the Turkish invasion of Cyprus lives on, urging us to strive for lasting peace and justice in the world.