Thursday, February 22, at 5:30pm, Room 211, Wishcamper Hall, USM Portland
The famous filmmaker, Michael Cacoyiannis (Zorba the Greek, The Trojan Women, Electra) is a proud Cypriot. When Turkey invaded the island during the political upheaval in July of 1974, he rushed to the island to document those his- toric events. The resulting film was “Attila 74: The Rape of Cyprus.”
The Hellenic Society of Maine will show the film at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 22 on the USM Portland campus. Following the 11⁄2 hour film HSoM board member, George Spatoulas, will lead a discussion after a quick break for refreshments.
The surprise invasion occurred after years of wrangling and political maneuvering that involved not only Cyprus but Greece, Turkey, the USA and other countries. The triggering event was the Greek junta’s attempt to depose the Cypriot president, Archbishop Makarios, as part of a plan to reunite the island with Greece.
Once Turkish troops landed on the island, thousands of Greek Cypriots were killed or fled south to displaced persons camps. Supported by only a cameraman and a sound engi- neer, Cacoyiannis traveled across the island in those early traumatic weeks interviewing political leaders as well as countless victims and refugees. Thus this documentary is clearly from the Cypriot point of view.
Both Greeks and Turks — who had been living co- mingled for centuries — lost homes, land, and businesses when the population was separated. Today, more than four decades later, the island remains divided with a Turkish sec- tion in the north and the Greek section in the south, with the line cutting right through the capital of Nicosia. Talks aimed at finding a solution continue to fail right up to this year, stalling on the key issues of governance and reparations.