Children’s Bayram and St. George’s Day on 23rd April 2012

On Monday it will be a Bank Holiday here in North Cyprus. It is Children’s Bayram (Ulusal Egemenlik Kucuk Bayram) which I understand is celebrated both in North Cyprus and Turkey. It is also St. George’s Day.

Yesterday I accompanied my partner, in campaigning and definitely not crime, and Pembe to her daughter’s concert, the start of the celebration for Children’s Bayram. Imagine if you will a nursery school putting on a concert. I was amazed how well rehearsed and indeed well behaved these beautiful children were. There were children of Turkish, English and of course Turkish Cypriot parentage taking part. The hour long programme was varied and on occasion extremely amusing, especially when the performers caught sight of mum or dad in the audience, paused and gave mum or dad a very enthusiastic wave. The proud mums and dads were busily filming and photographing their offspring. The atmosphere vibrated with love and caring. One little boy did take part in the proceedings with tears streaming down his little face the whole time, but you know it just added to the poignancy of the whole performance which brought a lump to my throat.

I clapped along and tapped my feet to Turkish songs, Rock around the Clock, yes sung in English, so what you might think but remember, Pembe’s daughter Tara, who in our opinion was the star of the show (bias you understand!) started this nursery school at the age of 2 and a half and now is one of the tallest at the ripe old age of 4 and a half years old. The younger ones did their acts, followed by the older ones. There was a rousing rendition of the Hokey Cokey and I was so moved I almost stood up and sang Auld Lang Syne.

Seeing these children gave me hope for the future of North Cyprus, their natural acceptance of each other, their obvious caring for each other, isn’t this how life should be?

My biggest regret is that I did not take my camera, but I do have a photo of Tara at the Silent Peaceful Candlelit Vigil, our youngest campaigner that day, but you know what they say, like mother, like daughter, little Tara is a chip off the old block. Sorry Pembe, you are not that old.

Pauline Read

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