The Documentary on OneReturn to The Green Line

As heard on Documentary On One

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It was 1996 and now-retired Garda Sergeant Frank Flood was on a year-long United Nations peacekeeping mission in Cyprus. His job was to help police the 180 kilometre-long Buffer Zone, or Green Line as it was called, which has divided the island since the Turkish invasion of 1974.

It was the summer and tensions between the Turkish and Greek Cypriot sides had been rising for some time. Then, on the 11th of August following a motorcycle rally, Greek Cypriots who had breached the Green Line at small town called Dherynia were met by counter demonstrators from the Turkish Cypriot side.

There were hundreds inside the Buffer Zone when anger exploded into acts of terrible violence, violence which was broadcast live on television as it unfolded.

As the situation deteriorated,  the cameras captured a number of Greek Cypriot demonstrators becoming isolated and being attacked.  Two men were seen being brutally beaten with sticks and iron bars. UN Officer Frank Flood and a garda colleague succeeded in rescuing one of them. Tragically, by the time Frank pushed his way through to the second man, it was too late.

The dead man’s name was Tassos Isaak. Today, Tassos Isaak’s memory is venerated by many in Cyprus where he is seen as a modern-day hero, and a symbol of the Greek Cypriot cause for reunification. Tassos Isaak’s killing was recorded by news cameras filming those events. So too were Frank’s heroic efforts to try to rescue him.

Frank’s deployment ended a few months later and he had not been back to Cyprus in the 23 years since. That was until just a few months ago, accompanied by the Documentary on One. 

This is Frank Flood’s return to the Green Line.

Return to The Green Line is narrated and produced by Christopher McKevitt and produced by Donal O’Herlihy.

© The Listener 2019

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