SOCIETY

Elders support Cypriot documentary

Archbishop Desmond Tutu, chairman of The Elders group of eminent global leaders, is expected in Cyprus on Tuesday, February 8, along with fellow Elder Dr Gro Brundtland, where they will attend the exclusive premiere of ?Cyprus: Digging the Past in Search of the Future,? a documentary film which the independent group of sages helped bring to fruition.

This unique film project began a year ago with two Greek-Cypriot and two Turkish-Cypriot teenagers who wanted to know more about the people who went missing during Turkey?s 1974 invasion of the divided island. They got in touch with three Elders committed to Cypriot reunification and reconciliation — Tutu, former UN special representative Lakhdar Brahimi and former US President Jimmy Carter — and with them visited the sites where excavations are taking place to uncover unmarked mass graves in Strovolos and Kyrenia. The young filmmakers, whose bus journey to the site was recorded by their film crew, also visited the Committee on Missing Persons? (CMP) Anthropological Laboratory in Nicosia.

The 36-minute documentary shows the quest of the teens for the answers that may ultimately allow them to find closure.

According to a report in the Cyprus Mail?s Sunday edition, one of the youngsters counts 16 members of his family among the missing. Another probes a CMP worker searching for bones knee-deep in the mud, discovering that she too has a relative still missing. Yet another walks out of the lab, where the group is allowed to observe the examination of an unidentified skeleton, and, visibly moved, grabs the others and makes them promise never to let anything like that happen again between the two communities.

In a note regarding the upcoming screening in Nicosia — which will be followed by a special screening at London?s Parliament on Thursday, February 10, attended by prominent members of the Cypriot diaspora — Tutu said: ?The experience of meeting four wonderful young people, two Turkish Cypriots and two Greek Cypriots, who have formed close bonds of trust and friendship, fills me with hope.

?We made a difficult journey together as you will see in the film. It is not easy to face the terrible truths of what has happened on this island. But our young friends, and many other Cypriots, are doing so with courage and compassion. I hope that this film will assist the process of healing.?