In Cyprus in the 60’s, the love between Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots seemed more than a movie script, since especially at that time, the relations between the two communities were tense.
More than that, however, coexistence and marriage between Muslims and Christians seemed far-fetched. The story of the “forbidden” love between Hassan Mustafa and Charalambia (Hambou) Bournouxouzi-Christodoulou, begins in the 50’s.
Hassan, the father of the then 10-year-old, told him that he would go to work as a “mystic” (worker) to his Greek friends in the village of Androlykou and that from that time they would be his parents. Hassan’s T / C father explained to his child that the only difference between the two families is that they say “Christ” and “Our Lady”. “God is one! They call him Christ and we call him Allah “. In the years that followed, relations between the two communities intensified and conflicts were on the agenda.
Hassan and Charalambia, after knowing each other for some time, made the “big mistake” and fell in love. Hassan and Habou Makarios’s brief conflict and intervention As years later, Hassan’s friend Panikos Chrysanthou said, the Greek Cypriot villagers of “Hambous” did not find it easy to accept that a Christian would love a “non-religious”.
The conflict between T / C and E / K of the villages of Drousia and Androlykou was getting close, since the residents of Drousia and fellow villagers of Hambous, went armed with bicycles and other agricultural tools to take it back. Then the police and the army (it was mixed at the time) intervened and so the armed conflict was averted at the last minute.
The news quickly reached the Presidential Palace and Makarios (the 1st president of Cyprus Republic), -according to Giannakis Taliotis, a resident of the village- took a stand on the incident.
Makarios had specifically said: ” Christ will be poor or Muhammad will be rich, if these two shepherds in Akamas get married? “Leave them alone
After the Turkish invasion and specifically in 1975, the Turkish Cypriot inhabitants of Androlykou left the village and left for the “north”.
The only one who did not leave his village was Hassan, as he could not leave his beloved wife.
Panikos Chrysanthou had characteristically stated: They lived alone in a deserted village, which was turned into a vast paddock. “It was a kind of exile because they loved it. Images of the Virgin Mary were always hung on the wall of their house. “My wife is a Christian,” said the Muslim Hassanis. “Man believes what he believes.”
The years passed and in 2007 Habou was hospitalized seriously ill at the Nicosia Hospital. Panic, one day, had taken Hassan himself to the hospital to see his wife and revealed the couple’s shocking conversation shortly before Hambu “left” forever. “Hassanis spoke to her very discreetly about death. I was in front.
He said something like this to her: “Oh woman, let me ask you something and do not misunderstand me. We do not know who will die first, it may be you, it may be me. Our son told me that you told him that if you die, you want to be buried in your village. Is true; Let me know! ” Hambu replied that it was not true. “Where you will be buried, I want to be buried too,” she told him. “Together in life together and in death”.
All she asked of him was to have a Christian funeral for her. Hassanis promised her that! ” Hambu had died, but the church in the village and the priests refused to give her a regular funeral. “Her fellow villagers had denied her. “When Hambu died, they refused to hold the funeral. “She is not a Christian,” they said. Proof that she did not baptize her children “, Panikos Chrysanthou had said.
Hassan was determined to persuade the church to hold the funeral properly, as he had given his beloved wife a promise of life. He reached the Archbishop of Cyprus Chrysostomos, with whose consent Habou was buried in the neighbouring village and buried in Androlykou, by Hassan himself.
He built a small space right next to the Muslim cemetery of Androlykou, blocked it and buried it there. “He made her a jig and a cross. And he gave the order, when it was his turn, to bury him next to Hambu and to put in his grave the Muslim stone – ruhuna fatiha “.
Panikos’s friend had been instructed to place a Cypriot flag between the two graves, something that happened in June 2014 when Hassan “passed away”.
In the community of Androlykos there is the only cemetery in Cyprus, in which a Muslim Turkish Cypriot and Christian
Article originally published in Greek by the “Μηχανή του Χρόνου”. Testimonies and info retrieced from ΚΥΠΕ, Πανίκο Χρυσάνθου and Cyprus Times Photos: ©Panicos Chrysanthou/ Art Images.