It can be described as something analogous to Archbishop Iakovos’ march in Selma, Alabama in 1965, which was immortalized on that iconic cover of Life magazine.
It was in Selma, as you will recall, where Iakovos met Martin Luther King and accompanied him on a protest march to the state capitol in Montgomery during the difficult years when African-Americans were fighting for their human rights.
It was then, as Iakovos later confided in me, that he received so many threatening messages that he had to hire an armed guard.
The historic journey of Archbishop Demetrios to the occupied areas in Cyprus is different from Iakovos’ act, yet there are similarities.
The trip highlights the human right of Greek Cypriots to live freely in their ancestral homes. Scenes from the Archbishop’s trip deep into the occupied lands – a visit was made possible thanks to the mediation of the U.S. Ambassador in Nicosia John Koenig, who accompanied him for reasons of security – are very touching and memorable.
Like the photo in which he embraces a proud elderly woman, a woman whose sad eyes, clenched lips, and uncompromising posture say much. It seems the old woman is bearing all the sorrow and misfortune that struck Cyprus 40 years ago.
But the compassionate expression of Archbishop Demetrios also speaks volumes, conveying the message that the Greek- and Cypriot-American community will never forget their plight.
The visit to the Greeks who stayed behind in the occupied North is further proof that the power of love towards the underprivileged and those afflicted for any reason is more valuable than all the gold in the world.