Wednesday, November 2, 2011

I will not forget

The Island of Cyprus was invaded by Turkey in 1974, and to this day the island remains divided. During the invasion, Turkey took about 35-40% of the island and forced any Cypriots (people from Cyprus) to leave their homes. Within a few weeks, 160,000-200,000 people were refugees in their own country. There are people alive today that still remember where their homes are, but they are now occupied by other families that migrated in from Turkey. The picture above is a representation of the area that Turkey currently occupies, and the words above are Greek and read "I will not forget". To this day, there is a huge Turkish flag that has been created by Turkey on the side of a mountain overlooking Nicosia (the capital of Cyprus). The image is visible during the day and lights up at night. This is an enormous reminder to all the people in Cyprus that they have been robbed .
In class, we have been learning of the atrocities carried out in Rwanda in 1994 by the Hutu people against the Tutsi people. The stories are heartbreaking to hear of entire families wiped out by neighbors and friends. We watched a DVD that showed how President Paul Kagam authorized the release of prisoners that had taken part in the genocide. Not only were these prisoners released, but they went back and lived in their houses. Some of these criminals were the ones who had murdered their neighbors. The film displayed the miraculous healing that the church is facilitating. People are finding forgiveness, and through that forgiveness, they are finding freedom and, remarkably, reconciliation. The process is heart-wrenching for both victim and victimizer, but the results are divinely beautiful.
As I think about growing up in Cyprus, there is so much hate and bitterness. The people feel wronged and they are entirely right. They were robbed and they know it. I feel like that is what makes the issue so hard to solve. The people will not let go of their right to be victims. I see what is happening in Rwanda and I pray God would work in the people of Cyprus. So many people do not know God there, and I see how it is hurting them. I have had to consciously apply the gospel into how I think of the Turkish people. It feels good to be on the "poor victim" team, but the hate and bitterness that comes with it are not what God has for us. How Jesus changes our perspective is beautiful.

See, from his head, his hands, his feet,
sorrow and love flow mingled down.
Did e'er such love and sorrow meet,
or thorns compose so rich a crown.

Were the whole realm of nature mine,
that were an offering far too small;
love so amazing, so divine,
demands my soul, my life, my all.


  1. Good thoughts and application Aris. (How typical of "man" to put that flag there to taunt the Cypriots day and night- shocking but not surprising.) Very neat to add in the lyrics from the classic hymn as well. Amazing to ponder that the One Who had the most reason to feel betrayed (by the very people He had lovingly created!) "humbled Himself and took on the form of a servant." What an example of ultimate laying down of our rights. As impossible as it may seem, we have that power available to us to forgive and love and show grace, even when it isn't "deserved." How easy that is for me to claim as I haven't been deeply wounded by another. May I endeavor to apply this principle even to the insignificant "offenses" I face every day.

  2. It was really good to read this post and get an insight into your culture. I have some friends who have been to Cyprus, have lived there, or are planning to go there. Many times we are not aware of what certain countries have been through and the hurt and bitterness that still lies in them due to the wrong that has been done to them and how it carries out in their lives to them. I think that awareness of this issue will help others know how to reach out and maybe slowly bring about some resolution in the lives and hearts of the people.


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.