Contribution of Cyprus to the Cause of Spanish Democracy by Michael Economides

October 11, 2019
By

The Volunteer for Liberty, p. 10.v.2, no. 2, January 13, 1938.

Cyprus, a small island in the Eastern Mediterranean, has a population of 340,000. Cyprus, now a British colony, has been under British imperialist domination since 1878. The foreign ruler subjects the people to a life of degradation and misery.

 

COSTAS LAPITHIOTIS  Leader in the working-class movement of Cyprus.

COSTAS LAPITHIOTIS
Leader in the working-class movement of Cyprus.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The people are bled white by excessive taxation and of exploitation by the landlords. The peasant is property-less and works from sunrise to sunset for 8 piastres to a shilling 1 20 cents ) a day.

The most elementary civil rights and liberties are denied to the people. Freedom of political and trade union organization, of assembly, and freedom of the press, do not exist. Strikes are criminal offences punishable by many years of imprisonment.

The people of Cyprus have a feeling of gratitude and admiration towards the Spanish people and the Cypriots in Spain in their struggle for Spanish and world democracy.

MAKE CONTRIBUTION

The people of the islands follow with great interest the course of the war. Many enthusiastic articles were written in support of the cause -of Spanish democracy. The British Government does not allow the collection of money for Spain. This is “in accordance with the policy of non-intervention” pursued by His Majesty’s Government which prohibits support “to either side”. However, in spite of the ban, in the small villages and, towns of the island, collections were made for Spain and the sum of £4000 has been
collected and sent to Spain via London. Further collections are continued in
all the districts of the island.

The Cypriots of London and New York are very active in their support for Spain. Over 60 Cypriots from Great Britain and the United States of America have been fighting on the Spanish battlefields. They are with the British and American Battalions. They have participated in all the major engagements of the war. Among others are Antonis Theodoulou, from Leonalisson, and J. Rapaioannou, from Yermasoyia, who fought with the first English-speaking Company last December at Lopera on the Cordoba Front. At that battle J. Papaioannou, well known in the Cyprus colony of London for his good work on behalf of Cyprus, was wounded in the leg. Now he’s back in London. Although crippled he continues the fight. Panayiotis Katsaronas is known amongst the Cypriots of both New York and London. He was a veteran of the Greco-Turkish war. He was killed on the Jarama on February 13th. He was defending with a machine-gun and when surrounded by the fascists in Company Two (Lieut. Fry’s company), he refused to give up. The fascists riddled him with bullets.

Nicos Perdikos from Rizckarpason, a quiet and steadfast comrade, was killed on the Jarama on the 14th of February, during the counter attack of the British Battalion. Nicos Vasilou from Nicosia wounded at Brunete, Anastasios Anastasiou and Yiacoumis Geoigiuu, both from Ayios Elias, George Dmitrcou from Lapithos, Pantelis Zaeharia from Yialousa, Christos Constantinou from Kerynia, Nicolas Dimitri from Famagusta, Serghios Kossides from Mesaoria, only 17, the youngest Cypriot in Spain, Spyros Fantelides from Kato-Drys and Costak Lapithiotis, a member of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Cyprus, sentenced three times for political activity for Cyprus independence, are among the London Cypriots who continue the fight in Spain.

The American Cypriots are also numerous. The following six, leading members of the progressive Cypriot organization “Pankypriaki” of New York, V. Pattikis, Jimis Joannou, Christis Christodoulou, A. Thomas, Jacovos Kumullos and Georgios Pantazia have fought at Jarama, Brunete and the Aragon. Georgios Pantazis, one of the founders of the “Pankypriaky”, and expert machine gunner, and Christos Christodoulou were killed on the last advance on Saragossa. There was Athanasiades from Bella-Pais who received wounds at Peñaroya while with the 86th Brigade last April, also Captain Nicolaides from Lanarka.

ANTONIS THEODOLLOL  Fighter in the first English-Speaking Company of December, 1936.

ANTONIS THEODOLLOL
Fighter in the first English-Speaking Company of December, 1936.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

World Fight

The fight of the Spanish people for the defence of their democratic liberties and their national independence, is at the same time the struggle of all the colonial peoples and oppress national minorities.

The Cypriots, who have made the supreme sacrifice and those who continue the fight, together with their colonial brothers; the Indians and the Chinese, those from New Zealand and Africa, the Cubans, the Philippines and American Negroes, the Irish, and the hundreds from the dominion of Canada, have known the life of degradation and slavery in a colonial country. It is their firm determination to continue the fight and defeat fascism, so that Spain will never become a colony. The men here represent the expression of the will and aspirations of the colonial peoples throughout the world – a victory for democracy in Spain. These men represent the symbol of unity in the field of action between the colonial peoples and the workers and progressives of aa countries in their struggle against the common enemy – fascism.

 

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