Rauf Denktaş – A Great Man – Greatly Missed
I had the honour of being invited to attend the commemoration ceremony for the late Rauf Denktaş at the Girne American University, Millennium Conference Centre. For the future the GAU Rectorate have emphasized that there will be scientific productions held outside of the political life and struggle of the Founder President late Rauf Denktaş via several of activities like workshops, photography contests, seminars, conferences and documentaries and also the conference to be held in the Spring Semester of 2012-2013 academic year which will be international.
Being at the event brought back so many memories as it would have done for so many thousands of people around the world and I recalled what I had written in a local newspaper at the time of the sad passing of Rauf Denktaş, which was as follows:-
“ Rauf Denktaş – A Great Man – Sorely Missed
He was truly a great man who was passionate about his desire to see his people treated with respect and given what everyone deserves, freedom and the right to live a life without fear of persecution.
Not only was he not unafraid to say no to injustice but he was a friend to all that met him. One of my fond memories was to recall seeing him talking with small children at an Ozanköy Flower show some years ago. His passion for capturing beauty through the eye of a camera is legendary. This great man had time for all who approached him and he had a great liking and was so supportive of his English peoples and he treasured so many memories of having them as friends and sharing times with them.
Another enduring memory is when I was at a small dinner party and he came to be with us and enjoyed Fish and Chips and then talked to us about his life and experiences.
So his time had come and he is no longer with us to point the way to that brave new world that we all want. Thank you Mr Denktaş we pray for you and hope your legacy and challenges are carried in the hands of other courageous and dedicated people and that they will see your dream finally fulfilled.
As I write these final lines I recall writing a few lines in the St Andrews Church Remembrance Book recently and it gave me much comfort and I hope that the outpouring of grief and love from his English friends will give comfort to his family and his Turkish Cypriot people. His generation were very proud of having one big family of all peoples that wanted to live in peace together.
May he rest in peace knowing that the day is coming when his dream will come true.”
So it was a time when life for me turned a full circle with so many memories of the past when I had read about and watched this great man being interviewed on TV and the message he gave was so very clear. He was unafraid to speak out against injustice and continued throughout his life to try and make the world see the injustice they were perpetrating against the Turkish Cypriot people.
Another year has passed and the mistakes of the past have still not been rectified or admitted but it does not matter because North Cyprus is what it is, it is a thriving and developing country that others choose to ignore. The dream of freedom by Rauf Denktaş and so many others like him, has been achieved and will continue and for this we should be truly thankful and keep their memories in our minds forever.
By Chris Elliott