Washington, D.C. by Apostolis Zoupaniotis
Cyprus Ambassador to the United States Euripides Evriviades has been presented the prestigious King Legacy Award for International Service by the Committee for the International Salute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., A Man for All Nations.
Receiving the award, Evriviades said ”I am deeply honored and profoundly moved by the Committee’s decision to bestow this unique award to me,” adding that ”Dr. King has proven in practice that the word is mightier than the sword.”
”His message is endowed with a clarity as powerful as his purpose. And, as a message crafted for every race, for every conflict, for every injustice, it is endearing, enduring and universal not only geographically but also in time and space,” he noted.
”As an Ambassador and recipient of the award, it is both my mission and my mandate to follow the path of Dr. King in seeking communication over combat, consensus over confusion, and cooperation over conflict in our common strife to work for security over instability,” Evriviades said.
He noted that ”as the Ambassador of Cyprus, I share the painful reminder of the destructive force of hate. The legacy of colonialism, extremism, a coup d’etat and foreign aggression, split my country in two.”
”After more than thirty-one years, almost half of Cyprus’ territory remains under military occupation with many human rights violations that come with any occupation. The refugees, the missing, the enclaved, the destruction of our cultural and religious heritage, and the systematic colonization of the northern territory of the country, continue to epitomize the tragedy of Cyprus.
Such artificial division cannot last,” he said, adding that ”it must not last.”
Evriviades said ”it is the division of my country that has forged a new type of segregation and neo-apartheid.”
”My homeland must regain its rightful place as a reunified nation whole and free,” he added, noting that ”we reject foreign masters and overlords,”.
”We will struggle against them with peaceful means to the bitter end. Until our dream also becomes a reality,” the Cypriot ambassador assured.
He said ”any solution must safeguard first and foremost the interests of the people of Cyprus as a whole, regardless of their race or religion.”
”Cyprus must be a place where human rights are respected and flourish, where everyone prospers economically, culturally, socially, where people are judged, as Dr. King would have said, neither by their ethnic origin nor ‘by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”’, Evriviades noted.
He said that ”in joining the European Union, Cyprus, is bound by certain fundamental rules and principles having to do with human rights, the rule of law and non-discrimination. We are a signatory of the European Convention, which sets out the very principles that Dr. King fought for.”
In award ceremonies earlier last week, Committee Chairman Henry H. Brown lauded Ambassador Evriviades for his “hard and dedicated work for peace and non-violence” throughout his distinguished nearly 30-year diplomatic career and for his contributions in making “the King dream a reality”.
The International Salute to the Life and Legacy of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., A Man for All Nations, is an annual event, instituted in 1992. Each year, the event committee recognizes the leadership and contributions of individuals and groups that have positively influenced the national and international community.