November 09, 2006

Stravaraland Memories - Part 3

It must have been the shock of a lifetime for Spyros K to lose the 1988 elections to a man unknown to most CyBC-informed Cypriots, George Vassiliou - the upstart candidate supported by AKEL. Moreover, the new president was a capitalist with a leftist background and a successful entrepreneur involved in market research into the demand for American products in the Middle East. Vassiliou had no active political experience, although the family did have a significant history of Trade Unionism and agit-prop.

Such an upheaval after 9 years of Spyro rule, preceded by 19 years of Makarios rule, (MAKARIOS ZH, as the mountain-tops of free Cyprus screamed up till the late '80s) must have been as close to a political revolt as Stravaraland had witnessed. I cannot begin to imagine the shock in Spyro K's camp.

Vassiliou wanted to solve the Cyprus problem "...yesterday" and even initiated talks with the Fat Man of the North. Of course, back then, Rauf was unmovable and his predictable response was to repeat Ecevit's mantra that the problem was solved in 1974, and there was nothing to discuss other than the possibility of reparations for land and property the two sides had exchanged since 1963.

But Vassiliou did begin to introduce certain elements of justice to the system. The establishment was under attack. By a different establishment maybe, but under attack nonetheless. Despite protests, Vassiliou started the new University of Cyprus. He somehow managed to submit an application to enter the EU, despite AKEL's opposition and sloganeering.

Moreover, he introduced new troops to the stale political scene. Young but clever troops. One of them, Andreas Theofanous, now pretends to be the thinker behind Tee Pee's policies towards eradicating all fake dilemmas. Another, George Lillikas, might well become a successor to Tee Pee and is a faithful general in the long-term struggle to preserve The Republixx. Judging by their careers, of course, one could question Vassilious's choice of neophytes, but on second thought, maybe he ought to be commended for selecting natural born political chameleons.

The economy, despite being badly hit by the first Gulf War, managed to grow. There was optimism in the air. The rallies started to wane, MAKARIOS ZH mountaintops were turned into artificial ski slopes and CyBC lost its hegemony, to be challenged on both television and radio fronts. Omonoia was losing games and championships, but as the Presidency was secure there was no need to waste money on football. In general, there was more openness in the air.

In 1989 the Berlin Wall fell, the invasion in Hungary was finally called an invasion by most communist parties in the rest of Europe and perestroika and glasnost were catch-phrases on their slow way to Stravaraland. Of course AKEL failed to rise to the occasion, or perhaps it assessed the psyche of the cypriot laos and simply got rid of a few voices of reason to create a monolithic party that would have the stamina to one day bring true communism to the island.

But scheming Spyro was not going to let them keep him out in the cold. Better Glafkos with our support, than Vassiliou and those commies in power. A lot of Clerides supporters at the time were even more extreme hard-liners, but he'd already written his "Deposition", (which should have been entitled: "Makarios' blunders and how I told him they could be avoided") so there was no real danger of him making any more trouble.

So in 1993, with some help from Vassiliou's ego, Clerides takes control. This was no mean feat, considering his age and the fact that he persisted after so many unsuccessful attempts. It proved to some older gentlemen that retirement does not come in one's 60s! In fact, life may well begin at 70. Hope, after all, dies after all else is lost.

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

5 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I literarly consumed this post. You reminded me of the time when 'there was optimism in the air, when there was more openness in the air.'... So true.

Thank you for this post. My congratulations :)

09 November, 2006 20:47  
Anonymous Μαριάμπας said...

"Deposition", (which should have been entitled: "Makarios' blunders and how I told him they could be avoided")

ΘΕΪΚΟ!!!!!!!!!!!!!

10 November, 2006 11:56  
Blogger drakouna said...

I agree with Μαριάμπας kai prostheto "Deposition" (or "how to make yourself look like a φοινιτζιά")

10 November, 2006 12:18  
Blogger Giorgio said...

Koumpare Noulln, eksixases dkio polla snmavtika kommadkia tis istorias mas in the 90s. Eva, meta to gulf war pou egami8ikev n oikovomia stn Kypro arkepse o polemos sti Serbia tze o TeePee mazi me to Lazaridi ekavovisav to Milosevits va piaei ta rialia to serbwv tze va ta shiovosei sti Kypro. Add to that money laundering from Russian Mafia tze mia xara ntav n oikovomia mas meta. Allo snmavtiko gegovos ntav n ka8odos twv Rossidwv takkopouttwv sti Kypro. Tziame pou o Kypreos egamav kouvtomoutsouves filippivezes tze ekliev to fws va mev 8orei ti fatsa tous, eshiovostikav oi takkoi pou to prwnv avatoliko blog tze edwkev o Kypreos me ta moutra sto gamisi tze eksipetsistiv n billa tou... Pistefkw oti oi Kypreoi upoferav parapavw pou tiv agamia para tous laous pou zousav stn mizeria katw apo koummouvistiko ka8estos... Auta for the 90s... pe tze yia to xrnmatistirio (sikostou mava mou... ela re la.i.kn mou...) tze meta avigi to megalo Kefaileo EU/Solution/TeePee tze o 8eos mazi mas...

13 November, 2006 20:14  
Blogger Noullis said...

Kame lliyin ypomonh Gio tziai e e erkountai.

13 November, 2006 23:10  

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