Leader’s words mark historic anniversary for local station
IN THE AFTERMATH of the 1974 coup, famous words rang out from a ham radio station in Paphos. July 15 is an important anniversary for Radio Paphos, which was the first broadcaster to inform the island that deposed President Makarios III was still alive.
On that day in 1974, the Cypriot National Guard and EOKA-B launched a coup to overthrow President Archbishop Makarios III.
The presidential palace in Nicosia came under artillery fire from tanks, while Makarios was greeting a group of schoolchildren from Cairo. The presidential guard fought for several hours until the rebels stormed the building and set fire to it.
Makarios fled to the safety of Kykkos Monastery and mulled over his options.
At that time, Nicos Nicolaides was a CyBC technician in Paphos and was unaware that his life was about to change forever.
Fotis Nicolaides, the middle of three of Nicos’ sons, was only nine at the time and remembers his father’s story.
“My father was a technical whizz and could fix anything,” he told the Cyprus Mail.
“He was so good with electronics, he even built his own amateur radio broadcasting equipment, which he used from time to time.”
He continued, “My father was astounded when he heard about the Greek junta and the coup. He wasn’t sure if the President had been killed.”
State media broadcast Makarios’ demise at the time, as it was presumed the President had been assassinated.
“My father had the idea to broadcast a message to other patriots across Cyprus, to stand up to the Junta.”
Nicos Nicolaides went to the head of Makarios’ support base in Paphos, Mikis Tembriotis, who gave the idea his blessing. Many people came that day to broadcast on the airwaves of The Free Radio of Cyprus, as my father called it.”
The radio was set up in Nicolaides’ workshop, and broadcasts were made in Greek, English Arabic, French and Spanish.
Makarios, still in Kykkos, heard these messages on a small transistor radio he carried with him, and took the decision to travel to Paphos to broadcast to the nation he was still alive.
The deposed president found a safe-haven in the Cathedral in Paphos; and Nicolaides and other amateur journalists met with him, and recorded his message. Makarios spoke in Greek and English, and the Free Radio of Cyprus repeatedly broadcast the message continually for hours, to bring hope to the people and spur them into action.
Armed volunteer guards surrounded the workshop in the now named Nicos Nicolaides Street, offering their loyal service.
Israel picked up the message, and sent it to the BBC for conformation that the voice was indeed Makarios’. This was verified and the speech was broadcast later in the evening of July 15, by CyBC in Cyprus.
The coup d’état, had installed Nicos Sampson, as the de facto President of Cyprus, following the deposition of Makarios.
Nicolaides son explained the implications of this broadcast,
“This was very important, the international community believed Makarios was dead and governments were on the verge of recognising Sampson as the new President,” stressed Nicolaides. “Because of my father and those who helped him, this didn’t happen.”
Samson was only President for eight days, and failed to gain diplomatic recognition during that time. Glafcos Clerides was sworn in as acting President soon afterwards.
Nicos Nicolaides died of a heart attack in 1995 but not before overseeing the Free Radio of Cyprus evolve into a successful local radio station, Radio Paphos.
The Nicolaides family are hoping to obtain official museum status for Nicos’ workshop, which still stands today, full of equipment and memorabilia, used to broadcast more than thirty years ago.
16 luglio 2008
Cipro 1974, la voce di Makarios da una stazione amatoriale
Il 15 luglio del 1974, durante il colpo di stato che rovesciò il governo cipriota e diede avvio al processo che culminò con l'occupazione della parte nord di Cipro e la sua attuale divisione, l'Arcivescovo Makarios abbandonò il suo rifugio nel monastero di Kykkos (dove oggi c'è la siua tomba) e andò a Paphos per trasmettere da una stazione radioamatoriale, The Free Radio of Cyprus e annunciare al mondo di essere ancora in vita. Il messaggio fu ascoltato in Israele, ripreso dalla BBC e poi dalla Cyprus Broadcasting Corporation. Da quella postazione autocostruita nacque poi l'esperienza di Radio Paphos, che prosegue a tutt'oggi. Ricordo benissimo l'insegna della stazione dalla mia visita, dieci anni fa a Paphos, che tra parentesi ha un piccolo, ma ricchissimo, museo archeologico. Per chi come me il neogreco lo legge pochissimo e male (cinque anni di classico gettati alle ortiche), ecco un pezzo dal Cyprus Mail in inglese e i due link al materiale, questo e questo storico dal sito di Radio Paphos. Uno può sempre usare la traduzione di Google e vedersi le fotografie che sono piuttosto interessanti.