Evagoras Pallikarides, A symbol of the struggle : Evagoras Pallikarides, Family Home - Museum, Tsada - Paphos
Council of Historic Memory of the EOKA Struggle 1955-1959
Ministry of Education and Culture
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Evagoras Pallikandes was born on 27 February 1938 in his mother's village of Tsada in the district of Paphos. His father was from the village of Larnaka tis Lapithou in the Kyrenia district Pallikarides was the fourth of five children, and had two brothers and two sisters. He went to the village primary school and later attended Ktima Primary School (1944-1950). From early childhood he began to display the characteristics that would accompany him for the rest of his brief life, dynamism, leadership, creativity, a love for his country and a flair for literature. He spoke little, and was studious, contemplative and generous spirited He continued his schooling at The Greek Gymnasium at Paphos between 1950 and 1955 and as a final year student in the first term of 1955-56. At the end of the third year of high school, on 1 June 1953, the eve of the Coronation of the new British Sovereign Queen Elizabeth II, at the age of fifteen, he was a leading part of the vigorously anti-British demonstrations. He lowered the Union Jack from its flagpole at the stadium, an act that triggered the first dynamic confrontation between the Greeks of Cyprus and the British colonial powers, since the revolt of 1931. This was his first revolutionary act, and laid the foundations for his subsequent course in the struggle. In April 1955 he joined EOKA and was at the forefront of demonstrations, the distribution of declarations, the writing of revolutionary slogans and the blowing up of British targets. On 17 November 1955, during a student protest. he attacked two British soldiers who were beating a fellow pupil and managed to release him from the hands of the soldiers. He was later arrested and charged and the date of his trial was set for 6 December 1955. Certain that he would be convicted and sent to prison or to a detention camp. he escaped to the mountains on the eve of his trial and joined the first rebel groups in Paphos. On 16 December the British placed him on the wanted list. During his rebel action, which lasted one year, he took part in attacks against British guards, police stations and camps and was involved in ambushes and explosions. With a sense of daring and self-sacrifice, and often risking his own life to protect his fellow fighters, he became a shining example of the fighting spirit, and always declared that he would never surrender but would fall 'on the battlefield". In parallel with his involvement in the struggle, he also continued to write poetry as he had done since his earliest school years. On the evening of 18 December 1956. while moving arms and other equipment from one hideout to another, he was ambushed by a British military patrol, which was acting "on information received. At the time of his arrest he told the British. "I am Evagoras Palhkarides and I am fighting for my country. While under arrest at Limni, on the northern coast of Paphos, and at Ktima, he suffered harsh torture. When his family were allowed to visit him ten days later, the signs of the illtreatment and the wretched conditions under which he had been kept were evident. Among other things, his eyesight was severely impaired. About a month after his arrest, on 22 November 1956. the British Governor of Cyprus Field Marshal Harding, had set into force an Emergency Law", which, among other things, provided for the death penalty for anyone who merely "carried or possessed a firearm". On 5 January 1975, the hero was charged with possessing and carrying a gun and 88 bullets and on 12 January he was taken to Nicosia Central Prison. The hearing was held on 14 February and the case referred for trial at the "Special Court" on 25 February The trial was nothing more than summary proceedings. Pallikarides did not hesitate to plead guilty as charged and stated: "I am aware that the court will impose the death penalty. All I want to say is that what I did, I did as a Greek Cypriot, who desires only his freedom. Nothing more. This statement of his left his counsel no room to mount a defence The judge announced his ruling, saying: "The law provides for only one sentence: the death penalty. I therefore sentence you to death". In the sixteen days that followed until his execution, Pallikarides impressed everyone with his resignation and his unwavering faith in the cause for which he had given his life. Also impressive was the moral strength with which he assured his family and fellow prisoners "When I die I will go up to God and ask Him that I may be the last man to be hanged". His proud life led him to the gallows at the age of only 19. He was the youngest of the nine men who were hanged in the course of the struggle. His conviction and execution caused an international uproar and condemnation of the British colonial powers. This led to the quashing of the death sentences of another 26 men who had been sentenced to be hanged. The life and death of Evagoras Pallikarides made him a symbol and a role model for the youth of Cyprus during the remaining years of the EOKA struggle for independence, and his name continues to this day to inspire writers of poetry and prose. His death deprived the Greek nation of a man of ideals and true love for his country, an inspired leader and a future poet. In June 1997 the Council of Minister decided to expropriate the family house of Evaqoras Pallikarides. The Council of Historic Memory of the EOKA Struqqle 1955.1959 undertook to restore the buildinq and convert it into a museum dedicated to the hero of the struggle for liberation The work was completed and the Minister of Education and Culture, Mr. Ouranius Ioannides opened the Museum on 9 June 2001. The first room of the house presents a traditional mid-20th century village house depicting the period during which Pallikarides lived his brief life. The second room presents the life and struggles of the young hero of Greek liberty. Through the hero-poet´s photographs letters and other writings visitors are able to gain true understanding of the moral and spiritual majesty of his personality. The aim of the Council of Historic Memory of the EOKA Struggle 1955-1959 is to make the Home Museum of Evagoras Pallikarides a centre of cultural activity. To this end, an amphitheatre has been built, capable of seating up to 250 persons. The Managing Committee of the Evagoras Pallikarides Home-Museum which is chaired by he President of the Tsada Village Council and whose members include the hero s family and follow freedom lighters will run the Museum. 1)Evagoras Pallikarides with fellow freedom – fighters outside their hideout in the Paphos mountains. 2)I will climb the highest hill And take the tallest path Until i find the steps that lead To freedom´ s Promised Land. 3)Evagoras Pallikarides family home-museum Tsada-Paphos.
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