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New Left Review I/96, March-April 1976


John Solomos

‘Report from Cyprus’—A Comment

As a Greek Cypriot, I found Christopher Hitchens’ ‘Détente and Destabilization: Report from Cyprus’ in nlr 94 interesting. However, I feel that the section on the Left parties is very weak, for the following main reasons.

1. On p. 64, Hitchens attacks the attitude of akel (Progressive Party of the Working People of Cyprus) towards eoka, on the basis that it didnot conform to the Leninist position on national self-determination. This seems to me to ignore the distinction between eoka and the struggle for independence. eoka was in essence a fascist organization, whose policies were not only anti-British but derived from a mystical idea of a recreated Hellenic past in which both Communists and the Turkish minority would be wiped out. It is not just an accident that eoka carried out a consistent assassination campaign against both Turks and Communists, and that Nikos Sampson planned in the early sixties a ‘final solution’ to the minority question. I think that because of its nature no socialist organization could have given support to eoka. Hitchens himself mentions that George Grivas was leader of the notorious murder squad ‘X’ (chi) in the period 1945–6 in Greece. What certainly is true, however, is that the abstention of akel from the struggle against the British was wrong and ignored the possibility of launching a socialist movement against the colonial power.

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