Academics step into book row

Greek academics yesterday accused the government of unwarranted interference with a school history text after last month’s decision to excise a reference to the Cypriot struggle for independence from Britain in the 1950s that had annoyed Nicosia officials. In a resolution published yesterday, the Athens Panteion University’s Political Science and History Department said the offending text in the third-year senior high school book on modern history «conforms with the most authoritative studies and up-to-date research on the period.» The book – which will be sent to schools in September – unfavorably compared the EOKA fighters with Third World anti-colonial movements «whose priority was not only national independence but social progress as well.» This drew complaints from Cyprus’s education minister, leading his Greek counterpart to promise to «restore the historic truth and honor the Cypriot people’s fight for national independence.» The Panteion resolution said history books «must not become tools to serve foreign or domestic policy… History has long ceased to be just nationalist rhetoric and myth.»