WHILST as a Scottish soldier, doing my two years’ so-called British military “National Service”, and posted to a camp in England in the midst of a Christmas Guard, I collapsed into the snow with Asian Flu, and found myself rushed to the nearest military hospital.

Whilst there, I came close to being transferred to a military prison, for fighting in the hospital ward. This was 1956/7 and the so-called emergency in Cyprus was in full swing.

Two soldiers who had returned from the then-British colony of Cyprus joined me on our hospital ward. They were boasting about how they, and two others, had raped two local Greek Cypriot 15-year-old schoolgirls. The circumstances were that whilst on curfew patrol, their platoon was advancing down a street, seeking out some local terrorist, or freedom fighter, as I would say.

As this happened 67 years ago, let me quickly fill you in on Cyprus, and its rebellion against British imperialism. The island had for years tried to gain independence from Britain, and as this seemed impossible, they began a union with Greece. This was more successful, resulting in Greece giving moral support and broadcasting a propaganda radio service that was so helpful to the freedom fighters that the British jammed the broadcasts. It is worth noting that they never jammed the Nazi broadcasts during WWII which were treated with ridicule and scorn and became almost entertainment.

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Returning to our Anglo/Brit rapists, the young girls had hurried of the streets when the curfew siren went off, entering a small disused house. Seeing them do this, and seeing them in this vulnerable position, they went in and committed multiple rapes, supposedly with their officers’ knowledge.

My verbal attack on those boasting thugs developed into a physical confrontation, which was broken up before it became a fight.

War crimes, and similar even to the torture chambers that the British had, have since been exposed. One of my relations was a military policeman in charge of such a place, and told me some horror stories about the place on his return to Rothesay – where the only local crime is when somebody is late in taking back a library book. I can’t divulge more, as he has since died, but suffice to say his military service disgusted him. Meanwhile, back in Cyprus, things were about to change.

In a big shock for English imperialism, Greece sent Colonel Georgios Grivas to lead the resistance fighters of Cyprus. This man had led the Greek resistance fighters in the recent world war, jumping out of bushes to machine gun down those bad Germans, and was hailed as a freedom fighter. At the end of the war, he had a medal pinned on his chest by England’s King George VI himself. He was now going to carry out the same tactics with the Brits – but with one difference. The English-controlled British press now dubbed him a terrorist.

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Methinks the word “hypocrisy” seems appropriate. Or something stronger.

Despite the English navy surrounding the island of Cyprus, this magnificent freedom fighter got in to take command from his lair in the Troodos mountains, and interestingly – like Bonnie Prince Charlie before him – was never betrayed.

Under the leadership of Georgios Grivas, and diplomacy of Archbishop Makarios, Cyprus got its independence. This was a big climbdown for English imperialism, but if you defeat them, they get revenge. So, some years later, they gave Turkey the nod to invade Cyprus, to divide it into the Turkish and Greek areas. This was almost similar to their tricks in Ireland, which are slowly but surely being unraveled and the Irish nation will become one country again, with no ties to English imperialism.

In my opinion, however, the mess caused in Cyprus will take longer to be resolved. I see that our Westminster overlords who know that Scotland will be independent sooner or later have started their rampage of industrial sabotage and revenge by getting Grangemouth (below) closed, destabilising our future economy, and throwing hundreds of Scottish workers on the streets. This is despite that facility again, posting profits of more than £100 million this year.

It pays to watch how their dirty tactics play in other countries, now free from their grip, as those tactics and dirty tricks have all been tried before. Our job is to pre-empt each move, and have plans ready to put into action our own recovery plans. Recovery from years and years of Westminster mismanagement, and constant theft of our wealthy economy. We owe it to future generations to demand an independent Scotland, Nothing less will do.

Iain Ramsay

Celtic League (Alba)

RATHER than “shutting the door on debate”, as Susan Smith wrote (Letters, April 5), the Equality Network engaged publicly and at quite some length in the debate on the Hate Crime Bill back in 2021.

We opposed the amendment that Ms Smith mentioned (which was voted down by a large majority of MSPs). In our briefing on it for MSPs, we pointed out that it was unnecessary – misgendering someone would in any case not be a crime under the bill (as this week’s events have confirmed). But we also said that by singling out the misgendering of trans people, and writing into the bill “this particular thing is okay to do”, the amendment would have added on to the face of the bill a specific encouragement to be offensive and unkind to trans people.

Imagine if it was proposed to pick one of the more offensive racist things that could be said without actually committing a crime, and then to pass a law that specifically said, “It is not a crime to say ...”. That would not change what is and is not criminal, but it would be an unacceptable blot on the statute book, and might encourage more racism.

There is too much deliberate unpleasantness already, on these and other subjects. Rather than encourage it, it would be better to be a bit more generous towards other and diverse people.

Tim Hopkins

Equality Network