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Tony “Night Eagle” Angastiniotis

 

Afrika (Cyprus Newspaper)   10/22/07 

 

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     A couple of months ago I attended a conference in Bosnia-Herzegovina. The topic was “Plurality in Europe”. I had no prior contact with either the organizers or the participants of the conference but for the basic information I received through my electronic post along with the invitation. The participants, mainly academics and theologians, came from various European countries, the United States and Canada. One of the main purposes of the conference was to address the positive role religion can play in enhancing the peace process in a conflict area. At the conference I represented the peace process in Cyprus and the Genocide of the Native children in Canada.

     I had no intention to fuel fires at the conference. But I was left with no other option. Some speakers, people who claimed to support a colorful Europe, were actually demonizing one of the colors. How can you support the coexistence of all colors but with one exception? How can you say, “I accept all the colors of the rainbow but one”? “The main threat in Europe nowadays is neo-communism” was the argument advanced not by a few of the speakers. Catholics, Protestants, Muslims and Hindus, can coexist in perfect harmony but with the evil Communists, not in a thousand years.

     I was rather astonished. When it was my turn came to speak I asked if they believed that it would be reasonable to throw the communists in the lake of fire, for I could and still cannot see any other way by which the communists can be “eliminated”. A friend next to me wore a red t-shirt baring the old Soviet logo, CCCP. Later, during a break, the chair of that session, a scholar from the US, told him that this was tantamount to wearing the Nazi swastika. I took a step towards him and looked deeply into his eyes. “No”, I said to him, “it could have been worse, it could have been a t-shirt bearing the flag of the United States”. It’s been years since I last saw a person foaming, but it was the first time I actually enjoyed seeing a person steaming from the ears. I went to my hotel room and laughed with my soul.

     The counter-attack came in the final session. The panelists removed their swords from their carriages. One of them spoke about the time he was imprisoned and tortured by the communist regime. Another spoke about Stalin and the tyranny imposed on people under communistic regimes. They spoke truths. But only half-truths. One after the other commented on my earlier remarks, sometimes with sarcasm and not a little irony. The space around me was narrowing. "You little vagrant" I said to myself, "you came hundreds of miles away from home and now you are trying to take these great academics down single-handed?"

     At the closing of the session I took the platform to defend my position. I stood upright and next to me I saw those who identified with my argument. Not many. On my right there were 500 Indian tribes and the 50,000 native children that disappeared in Canada’s residential schools. These schools were run by priests and theologians as the ones standing before me ready to crucify me. Theologians are experts in crucifixions. To my left stood hundreds of Cypriots that saw and continue to see their basic human rights being trampled upon. We are never alone even if sometimes those next to us are invisible.

     "Yes, Russia’s communism did all that you say, but CIA did similar things when it backed with millions of dollars bloodthirsty dictators like Pinochet in Chile. They financed the fascists in Cyprus to exterminate communists. Yes you were imprisoned by communists, just as in Cyprus, in Turkey and in Greece the communists were imprisoned, tortured and murdered. It was not just a "cold war" – it was a bloody war. If I must demonize communism I must also demonize the American way of life… and death. I must also speak about the church that for centuries under the inquisition made worse crimes than those Hitler did in Europe and later on the Europeans in the American Continent. "

     As I went on to explain Canada’s genocide, thousands of little Indian children marched before their eyes showing the wounds marked on their bodies as they were tortured to death. No theologian stood up to defend their church. They knew I was speaking the truth and they could see the blood tripping from their hand as I was talking. There were tears in my eyes as I looked at them and asked, “Where did you bury our children, what have you done to our people”.

     If the US Senate wants to condemn the genocide of the Armenians I have no problem, but it must also recognize and condemn the genocide of the Native Americans. History cannot change but it can certainly teach us. Personally I have been taught by history that we are all one, like leaves from the same branch. We are all connected, no matter what race, color or political and religious convictions. Like the rainbow, it is impossible to separate the unity of the colors, you can only distinguish them. We are all responsible for one another and we must acknowledge the past to walk united into a better future.

Tony “Night Eagle” Angastiniotis -from his website http://fcms.emu.edu.tr/tony/  Email: peacewalk@hotmail.com

Peace activist, journalist and documentarist. Turning point to his career was in 2004 when he produced the controversial documentary “Voice of Blood” exposing crimes committed by his own community, Greek Cypriot, against the Turkish Cypriots in 1974. What was for some an act of acknowledgment and apology to promote reconciliation, for others was an act of treason.

His book “Trapped in the Green Line” has become one of the most popular books in the north side of the island for the encouragement of peace. Circulation of the book in the south side was not possible through main stream distributors and bookshops. Tony often slandered by local media without given the equal opportunity to defend himself. His documentary was never shown by any TV station in the South and he has been a recipient of many death threats by Greek nationalists. Today he is teaching “Peace Journalism” at Eastern Mediterranean University in Famagusta and is a writer in Afrika newspaper.

His Work today is more focused on bringing awareness about the Genocide of 50,000 native children murdered in the Residential schools of Canada. Tony demands the opening of the mass graves and a reasonable compensation to be given to all survivors of the Residential Schools.

Tony is a member of the United Cherokee Nation and was appointed Clan Chief by the Elders on the 10th of October 2007, and considers this position the greatest honor a person can receive, but also a great responsibility not to be taken lightly. His spiritual believes are rooted in the Cherokee spiritual ways known as the White Path. His native name, Night Eagle, was given to him by his spiritual mother and elder of the Cree nation, Morning Star.

      If you like what you read above, visit this Website from Cyprus to read more from Tony “Night Eagle” Angastiniotis. ~ Stone Woman

Other articles by Tony “Night Eagle” Angastiniotis- [ Like the Rainbow ] Trail of Tears ] Morning Star ]

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