Imagine sitting comfortably in your home after a hard days work. You stretch out on the couch with a warm cup of coffee. As you set your coffee down on the table next to your toast, a midday snack, you grab today's newspaper. Opening it to the first page, you take a deep breath... and relax.
Suddenly you hear screaming in the streets. Sirens begin to ring. You look out of your window and crowds are beginning to run down the street. That's when you see it. Hundreds of Turkish soldiers invading... ordering an immediate evacuation. You drop everything, find your family, and leave your home.
36 years later, a photographer sneaks his way around your city of Famagusta. The streets are deserted except for the occasional stray cat, which still looks lonely and out of place in this ghost town. The photographer takes pictures of deteriorating buildings and dusty roads, until he stumbles upon a little house... your house. He focuses his lense to peer through a window and into the living room. In this living room he sees a dusty couch, a broken coffee table, what looked like could have been a comfortable family room so many years ago. He focuses his camera on the table. All that is left is the remnants of what looked like use to be toast, an empty coffee mug, and an open newspaper with the date August 15, 1974. The day you, as well as thousands of people, lost your home, your stores, your life the way it once was.
When the Turks invaded Cyprus in 1974 the took Famagusta, a booming city with golden beaches and busy city life. This place brought in the most wealth for the island from tourism and was home to thousands upon thousands of people.
The Turks evacuated the city and drew a line of barbed wire and Turkish soldiers around it. Still to this day no Greek Cypriot has crossed that line to get back to their home city. The city is a dying ghost town today.
There has been no progression to the situation today, and the future does not look promising. So many residence of Famagusta, who are now parents and grandparents, will never be able to take their family back to their home city. They will never see their old shops and beaches. One woman who was a little girl when the invasion occurred said all she could think about for months was her diary she left under her bed, never to be seen again.
It's sad to think that we can do nothing. As much power our country has, we can easily give back the city to the Cypriots. But complicated by political issues with both Turkish and Greek alliances, we are doing nothing. I hope one day these families can see their home again and rebuild their city. I know too well after studying abroad that there is no place like home. But I get to see my home in just a couple of weeks. I couldn't imagine not being allowed to go home for 36 years... 36 years, that is... and counting.