A young Turkish Cypriot woman holding a rifle in 1964 Cyprus – a stark photograph of troubled times, a face without a story.
Last weekÂ Lebrecht photo library was contacted by the Australian nephew of the young woman. Â He was stunned to imagine that his aunt, now in herÂ early sixties and battling cancer, was once young and armed. Lebrecht photographer, Brian Seed, who took the picture was unaware that Aysel, 16 years old and four months pregnant, had just learned that her husband had been kidnappedÂ in a neighbouring Greek village. She grabbed the village mukhtar’s rifle, determinedÂ to defend herÂ home, find her husband and avenge his kidnap. This photo captures a pivotal moment in her young life and in the history of Cyprus.
AyselÂ never saw her husband again.
Her nephew Adem, whose father emigrated to Australia,Â travelled to Cyprus for the first time last year to meetÂ theÂ family he had never met before.Â His auntÂ hadÂ somehow foundÂ Brian’s photoÂ and Adem tenaciouslyÂ tracked down the source online.Â HeÂ wrote to Lebrecht: ‘Showing my father the image online, he teared up remembering his childhood on the war torn island. It makes me appreciate how lucky I am to have been born in Australia, and to have been raised with such a privileged upbringing’.
Brian Seed who is now in his eighties told him: ‘I did arrive in one town – possibly that of yourÂ aunt – early in the morning. There were two bodies laying in a doorway and houses seemed to be empty’Â He sent over another of hisÂ photographs of child refugees crowdedÂ into the back of an open lorry.Â They are now trying to ascertain if one of those little boys was Adem’s father.
(photo credits: Â BrianÂ Seed/Lebrecht Music & Arts)