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34 Pages

Reconciling the past

Sites of memory and acts of public remembrance
WithJohn Burke

On 1 October 2014, the Republic of Cyprus officially celebrated its ­54th year of existence and independence from British colonial rule. To mark this anniversary, in the traditional President's message to the Cypriot people, Nicos Anastasiades offered reflection on the national and economic issues facing the island. In approaching the contemporary commemorative practices embedded within the construct of Greek Cypriot society, the oft repeated quote of William Faulkner that 'the past is never dead, in fact, it's not even past' seems particularly apt. At the 'Peace and Freedom Rally', this duality of memorial focus was reinforced and collectivised through the repeated chanting of the names of the occupied towns, through the distribution of material items such as leaflets and t-shirts, and through the speeches of the delegates in attendance. The use of a wreath with its connotations and connections to funereal practices reflects a Cyprus, through its people and places, lost through conflict and partition.