October 31, 2006

Stravaraland Memories - Part 2

If, by chance, you did want to watch some TV on Good Friday in the '80s, you'll remember how the Great Northern Leader, Rauf Denktash had instituted a propaganda gimmick that aired on that illegal TV station that showed better, albeit pirated, films around 11 at night every Friday. The gimmick took the form of an 'intermission' during which an elderly man would fill us in on the Denktash version of events in Cyprus. The guy was actually unintentionally funny with his glaring mistakes in Greek while trying to introduce fake dilemmas about the version of events we already knew to be the truth. The movie was typically good though, bearing in mind that the competition was state-run CyBC that still showed a few second rate movies, and tons of Lolek & Bolek, bad local theater and of course that Soviet Wolf trying to roger a rabbit.

So, to recap, we had: Omonoia - constantly winning and, of course Spyros K on top!

But another, equally crucial component of life in the 1980s in Stravaraland were the slogans. Back then, the Third World obsession with rallies (syllalitiria) was very much alive, kicking and thriving. Eleftheria Square was typically the venue of popular choice and busload upon busload would descend from all parts of free Stravaraland to demonstrate against one thing or another or for the politician whose flavour dominated the day. Some of the biggest ones (that I personally attended) were typically the ones on July 20th, which drove home the long-term struggle ideal. The other big ones were typically when there were free elections, I guess 1983 was the first such instance.

During these rallies, the staple slogans took shape and reverberated in the atmosphere, only to be repeated in our homes and daily lives courtesy of that insiduous purveyor of local propaganda - CyBC. An essential component of understanding the Stravaraland political problem comes from repeating these slogans and how they evolved over time.

Let's get re-acquainted with some of these all-time classics. I will continue with how these changed in the '90s, but for now I'll limit myself to the ones I recall straight off the bat from the 80s. If people recall any more of these classics I would be much obliged if they could let me know as I am compiling a database - lest these be forgotten.
NATO - SIA - Prodosia
EOK - NATO - To Idio Syndikato
Foniades Twn Lawn - Amerikanoi
Den Xechnw
Ta Synora Mas Einai Stin Keryneia
Pote Pia Fasismos
Ti Tous Kanane Tous Fournous oi NAZI
H Kypros Einai Elliniki
Oloi oi Prosfyges Sta Spitia Tous

Others were not slogans per se but expressions of our collective demands and preconditions to any solution of our beloved political problem. These included:
Dizwniki, dikoinotiki omospondia (Bizonal, Bicommunal Federation)

Treis vasikes eleytheries (three basic freedom) which were, as best I remember: egkatastasis, metakinisis kai idioktisias - freedom of movement, residence and property ownership.

The amount of land to be handed over to the northern stravaralanders had to be limited to around 20-24% of the island, which of course would be way more than their fair share considering the pre-1974 census figures; plus a little extra, because we're right, always have been and always will be. It's easier to leave the waiter a tip when you command the moral high-ground.

The central government would be strong and federal, as opposed to weak and confederal.

Of course, at times the slogans were incompatible with official policy as well as inapprpopriate. But, as part of the bonding spirit of the rally, these could and should be overlooked.

Life changed at a slightly faster pace after 1988 and in the '90s but there you have it: a diary of a schoolkid growing up in Stravaraland in the 1980s. And what this schoolkid remembers is Omonoia, Spyros K and The Slogans...

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos


Anonymous m said...

I think the problem is that although people and society have more or less advanced in Cy, the politicians - for the most part - remain the same and are glued to those traditional posisitions, unable to look a ahead or beyond their big nose!

31 October, 2006 14:10  

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