On 3 March 1957 –while Cyprus was still a British colony and the Greek Cypriots were fighting for freedom and self-determination- one of the best-known Cypriot fighters was facing his fate: Gregoris Afxentiou, the vice-chief of EOKA (acronym for National Organization of Cypriot Fighters), a militia organization which undertook a guerrilla war against the colonial authorities. The British troops were engaged in a prolonged battle against Afxentiou and his battle group. They were hiding in a hide-hole in Macheras forest, near a Byzantine Greek-Orthodox monastery. The British would probably not manage to locate the hide-hole if a local person wouldn’t show them the spot, for a significant amount of money of course. After hours of battle and unsuccessful calls to Afxentiou to abandon fighting, the later ordered his comrades to exit the cave and surrender. Afxentiou continued his armed resistance and he made it impossible for the British soldiers to eliminate him, even to get close to his hide-hole’s entrance without getting killed. After several unsuccessful efforts, the British decided that the only way to eliminate Afxentiou was to burn him alive. To this end, a helicopter poured many gallons of petrol into the cave and the British soldiers set fire. Afxentiou was burned alive, having a lot of foreign reporters –who had gathered in order to cover what the British thought that would be “an easy victory against terrorism”- witnessing his heroism and the British brutality. Even after his death, the British soldiers hesitated to get close to the hide-hole’s entrance. To them, he was a dangerous terrorist. However, to his own compatriots, he is thenceforth an eternal symbol of resistance and struggle for freedom.
57 years later, on 2 March 2014, NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen convened the North Atlantic Council in order to discuss “Russia’s military action in Ukraine”. After the meeting he stated that “what Russia is doing now in Ukraine violates the principles of the United Nations Charter. It threatens peace and security in Europe. Russia must stop its military activities and its threats”. Apparently NATO rejects Russia’s activity in Crimea and argues that there is a breach of the international law. This allegation was also repeated by US officials, including President Obama himself. At the same time though, NATO profoundly sets totally different criteria when it comes to other incidents of foreign military activity, such as the Turkish invasion of Cyprus in 1974 (which it silently approved), or Serbia’s air bombardments in 1999 (conducted by NATO itself). Incidents like these, like many others of this kind, are vested with legitimacy, while Russia’s activity in Crimea is considered as illegitimate. Therefore, according to NATO, there are “good” and “bad” military activities.
Even some Western media have discussed the role of the West (especially the United States) in the “spontaneous revolutions” of 2004 (the so-called “orange revolution”) and 2013-2014. Ukraine has been a field of Western interference, especially through the funding of controversial organizations such as NGOs that mushroomed under vague circumstances and neo-nazi gangs. At the same time though, the government of the United States along with some “willing” media are trying really hard to put the blame of the current situation on Russia and de-legitimize Moscow’s efforts to safeguard its absolutely legitimate interests in Crimea. Naive observers may believe these biased statements and reports. However, the Turkish occupation of Cyprus and NATO’s bombs against Serbia are there to remind the world some juicy historic details. Just like the reporters, who were there when a whole British battalion was unsuccessfully fighting against one man (who was supposed to be a terrorist just because he fought for his country’s freedom), before deciding to burn him alive.

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