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Greek CommunityEventsNever Forget the Cyprus Invasion Photo Exhibit Opens at Queens College Rotunda

Never Forget the Cyprus Invasion Photo Exhibit Opens at Queens College Rotunda

Hellenic News of America
Hellenic News of America
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By Catherine Tsounis

Visiting the Hellenic American Project Library, at the former Queens College Law School at R:015 65-21 Main Street Queens, opened a world of primary sources on Greek American life. Prof Dr. Nicholas Alexiou, Director, gave us a personal tour. Everything you want to know on Greek American achievements is in the hands of Prof. Alexiou, a legend, and his staff.

Ioannis Koutakis, whose professional name is Grammaticus Macedon, was setting up a historical photo exhibit on the tragic Cyprus invasion of Türkiye in 1974. A moment in history ignored as the Azeris’ invasion of the Armenian Republic of Nagorno-Karabakh War in September 2022.

“Mr. Nikos Christodoulides, President of the Republic of Cyprus, was my student at Queens College,” said Prof. Alexiou. “President Christodoulides is the force behind the unique exhibition of the Cyprus Invasion that will open Thursday, June 20th at the Rotunda of the Morgenthau Library, Queens College. Unseen photos of thousands of Turks landing in Kyrenia, before the watching eyes of Cyprus soldiers, is extraordinary.” The photos of the Turkish troops resembled Greek soldiers. I was told that they were Islamized Greeks with Greek DNA.

Cyprus exhibit, Rosenthal Library Rotunda, Queens College. Photo; C. Tsounis

One photo showed Cypriot prisoner of war without clothes Professor Alexiou believes “the naked Cypriot soldier in a POW camp is a violation of Human Rights. We never hear about this violation of human dignity. The 2,500 missing Cypriot prisoners of war have never been heard from. There is no closure for the family. Children are the youngest victims of the Invasion. They have suffered war trauma.” I sympathize with the missing POW’s family. My late father, George Tsounis, was a POW, missing in action during WWII for ten months. Many of my friends suffered as youngsters suffered war trauma WWII and the Civil War in Greece. War catastrophes never leave a person.

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Photo; C. Tsounis

Professor Alexiou and his Assistant Grammaticus Macedon inspired us to attend the June 20th Photo exhibit of “NEVER FORGET 1974-2024: Honoring the Memory of Cyprus’s Struggle Against Illegal Occupation” at the Rosenthal Library’s Rotunda, June 20th.

The program consisted of the following persons: Prayer by Rev. Protopresbyter Gregory Stamkopoulos; Master of Ceremonies Philip Christopher, president of PSEKA and the Pan-Cypriot Association of America; representative of Permanent Representative of Cyprus to the United Nations, Maria Michail, Mr. Michalis Firillas Consul General of the Republic of Cyprus in New York; Kyriakos Papastylianou, president of the Federation of Cypriot Organizations of America; Nicholas A. Karacostas, Past Supreme President and Chairman of the Board of Trustees; Savas Tsivikos, the supreme president of AHEPA and prominent persons of the community.The ladies of the Cypriot American organizations involved in the event, hosted a reception of Cypriot foods. For more information, contact [email protected].

Mr. Paul Kotrotsios, CEO of Hermes Trade Expo and Founer of the Hellenic News of America, traveled 31/2 hours one way from Pennsylvania. He brought the Thessaly delegation to Hermes Expo that included Dimitrios Tsetsilas, Deputy Governor and Dr. Dimitris Stavridis Director General of Thessaly region. Thessaly had catastrophic floods in September 2023, destroying villages. They empathized with the Destruction of Cyprus.

Dr. Fevronia Soumakis Adjunct Assistant Professor. Queens College, CUNY. Dept. of European Languages and Literatures, said “We are keeping Greek heritage and the pain of the Cyprus illegal invasion alive.” An eyewitness to the invasion recalled “ I was five years old when the Turkish troops landed in Kyrenia. My grandfather hid me in the cellar.”

I spent the summer of 1974 raising funds for the Cyprus Relief Fund at the Transfiguration of Christ Church in Mattituck, Long Island. My neighbors were mostly from Kyrenia in our GreekAmerican summer colony. They lost their homes and friends in the invasion. My elderly neighbor, Mrs. Varnava Contos, was in Kyrenia, witnessing the Invasion. Tragic, the continuous disappearance of Greek culture in the former Byzantine Empire.

Prominent persons who attended with Mr. Paul Kotrotsios (4th from left) and Prof. Alexiou (6th from left). Photo; C. Tsounis

Congressman Benjamin Rosenthal, who represented our neighborhood in Bayside, was a strong advocate for the Cyprus cause. Philip Christopher, my classmate at St. Demetrios Greek American Parochial School in Astoria, became an international leader and is the most famous alumnus of St. Demetrios Day School, a beacon of Greek American education.

International radio anchorman and journalist Dimitris Filippidis of HellasFM supports St. Demetrios School, an educational institution that has nurtured international leaders like Philip Christopher. As a human rights advocate, Christopher should be the face of a financial fund to support St. Demetrios School. Cyprus and Greece are closely connected, and what happens to Cyprus will adversely affect people of Greek descent worldwide. Congratulations to the organizers of this historic photo exhibit.

The copyrights for these articles are owned by the Hellenic News of America. They may not be redistributed without the permission of the owner. The opinions expressed by our authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Hellenic News of America and its representatives.

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