London born Turkish Cypriot Soner Kioufi has just completed his first book sharing the ordeal which unfolded in front of his eyes when he was taken by his mother to Cyprus in 1974 when war erupted between Greek armed forces and the Turkish army on the island.
“I start off with introducing my seven brothers and sisters living in a three bedroomed London council house, describing the hard times and how we all stuck together whilst our parents were out working long hard hours in order to support us. I write the book as I remember every detail as if it was just yesterday, and I believe I have successfully achieved telling the majority of the story as an eight year old boy.”
Whenever a report from a war-torn area appears on TV, a host of vivid memories flood into Soner Küfi’s mind. Those memories of turmoil, conflict and violence are recounted in this remarkable book.
It is the true story of a brutal war as seen through the eyes of a child.
In the searingly hot Cyprus summer of 1974, Soner, eight years old and on holiday with his mother and two younger brothers, found himself caught in the middle of a war zone.
The family’s idylic paradise on the Mediterranean island was shattered, first the Greek government engineered a coup d’état, then forces from Turkey intervened to protect Turkish-Cypriot interests and people.
As savage fighting engulfed sleepy villages and towns, Soner and his family found themselves at the very forefront of the horror – and wondering if they would ever return to South London.
“Looking back, some of the horrific incidents we witnessed, and the experiences we lived through, seem scarcely credible,” says Soner, whose Turkish-Cypriot father had stayed at home and had no idea what was happening to his family.
“They showed me, at a very early age, what man is capable of in warfare. They also taught me a lot about Cyprus, its history, its people and its troubles.
“I have wanted to commit the story to print for a long time, and I’m glad I now have the opportunity. If I have one wish for The Green Line, it’s that it will enable people to have a deeper understanding of Cyprus, and share the hope I have for the island’s future.”
Below comment about the book was made by a Greek Cypriot friend:
“I'm Greek Cypriot.
Soner is not, that is apparent in this book.
He's my friend and I've known him since we were at college together but nothing prepared me for this book. The memories he now shares with you are ones that even I have never been privy to.
It's an honest book, neither hyped nor unapologetic, and is a must read for both Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots of our generation.
Cry.... With laughter you will.....
Parts will shock you...
He conjures up some images we, from the island are
all familiar with......some, thankfully not.....”
Maria (Georgiou) Christophi
We’re all going on a summer holiday
Thump! The dry Mediterranean heat introduced itself with a body blow as I climbed down from the Boeing 747. I’d never before experienced such temperatures; then again, I was only eight and my horizons up to that point had been limited to south London’s dull, grey skies. I knew little of the world beyond Tooting or what it had to offer.
The year was 1974, the place was Nicosia Airport in Cyprus and the experiences that were to follow will be branded in my brain for as long as I live.