December 30, 2006

That [pseudo] Bridge Too Far

And a Happy New Year to all. Keep the Stella Artois flowing and don't forget our demands regarding that famous little footbridge.

Four bloggers drinking at Plato's, car borrowing, sozouma from Leventis, baby induced zombificaion; Stravaraland has it all.

And a Happy New Year to All.

December 25, 2006


This was the title of the banner that the APOEL supporters put up last Wednesday during the game after HAPESHIS cancelled a goal in the last minute that would have meant a loss to rivals Omonoia.

Now football and politics are intextricably linked in the politics of the Banana Republic. The following text message was circulating among the faithful by the next day:


Let me attempt a translation for the annals of history:

The underground of fascism has struck again. They are deciding for us, like the true descendants of EOKA B'', who will win this year's championship- those hated guys from APOEL. Let's begin our resistance as of tomorrow by voting for all the AKEL candidates. We react in, and with, unity! (Send the SMS everywhere)

Now in a mature country this would be a tasteful joke. In Stravaraland this might actually have meant the 2% increase in participation that Mavrou wanted to be elected mayor in Lefkosia! Absolutely amazing that people were actually forwarding this....

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

December 22, 2006

Avanti Popolo, Alla Riscossa...

You'd be singing as well if you had received a bucketdload of telegrams

So Near and Yet So Far

Although I think "so far, so good" is probably what he's thinking.

December 21, 2006

Which North?

No, I'm not going to comment on the Government Spokesman's comment:
Invited to comment on yesterday's statements by German Minister of Foreign Affairs Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Pashiardis said that the government does not attribute any political dimension to Steinmeier's reference to a "Northern Cyprus."

"We do not have any doubt that the German Minister's specific reference is a mere geographical definition with no political implications whatsoever," Pashiardis noted.

December 20, 2006

Illiterate and Libellous

Someone's not paying enough of attention when reading newspaper articles at Police Headquarters. The following paragraph is from a Cyprus Mail story on rampant youth drunkenness in Limassol:

“If you hear some of things going there, it’s out of control. When parents stop giving their kids money they’ll end up exploiting themselves to get their [drug] dosage.”

Yes, it's a quote from someone who sees the potential worsening of a situation already out of control.

The article, however, prompted the police to get a bit overzealous. They claim that their own interpretation regarding whoring for drugs is unfounded. Maybe they can read the paragraph a bit slower or get someone in who is capable of reading and comprehending what this collection of words, embedded in a larger collection of words, actually means.

But why is the police trying to impress upon us that part of the problem which the newspaper does not claim to exist does, in actual fact, not exist?

And having completely misread the article can they really get away with referring to the Cyprus Mail's editor as having acted in a "frivolous" manner?

Moral Fabric Intact

This by way of the Cyprus Mail:

A Turkish Cypriot man was arrested yesterday on the charge of illegally operating a casino in the bi-communal village of Pyla.

The suspect was identified as Sercan Suleyman, alias Kisa. He was taken into custody by Oroklini police.

According to Larnaca police, the establishment had been sealed on a number of occasions in the past, but the suspect persisted in operating it.
Earlier this year, authorities said they would not allow Greek and Turkish Cypriot businessmen to open a members-only casino in the village, after reports of such activity emerged.

Because the Larnaca district village falls within the buffer zone, it comes under UN jurisdiction.

December 16, 2006

Blocking ...Chapters

Angelic When Asleep

Yes, we know that budget related sessions are usually quiet, but when some MPs doze off, the rest tend to keep extremely quiet and sneak off for a drink without so much as leaving a note.

December 14, 2006

One apodimos, two votes

As a good apodimos I am going to be around for the next mayoral elections. I have been voting abroad for the last few years but that does not prevent me from voting for the local mayor where I grew up in Banana Republic, plus also for the mayor of my grandfather's occupied town. Of course, neither the mayor of the occupied town nor the mayor of the free one can do anything for me. Nevertheless, I will show up (after picking up the grandparents) and vote for the candidate that will piss off the Establishment the most. You see, CHANGE as promulgated by the current Presidency, has only managed to change the politicians but not the politics of the land. Given as it is that true change will not likely come in these mayoral elections or in the next Presidential elections, we might as well do our utmost to show to the Establishment that dissent will not die, however much mud is willingly thrown around. My protest vote will be there, testament to the hope (and deposit to the will) that things can (and will) get better...

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

December 12, 2006

The Art of Diversion

For around 45 out of the 50 last days, the main article in Fileleftheros involved some issue about the upcoming decision about the continuation of the Turkey-EU talks and the negotiations about the proposed punishments for Turkey. There is typically a very high correlation between the lead article and the column entitled Άποψη (View) that gives the newspaper's views about current events. Lots of views were aired from this column about what the government should do.

On the day after the said decision was taken, that is today, 12/12/2006, The View analyzes the electoral campaign for Sunday's mayoral elections. Talk about The Art of Diversion...

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

December 09, 2006

The Case for Unilateral Demilitarization

We were informed this week that

"THE HOUSE Defence Committee has agreed to spend £40 million on the purchase of Chinese arms."

Is the road to greater military build-up the correct one for Stravaraland? What is the purpose of buying more guns?

The argument is that we can defend the land in case of foreign attack. Now this means in case Turkey pulls another 1974 one.

Now if Turkey does decide to pull another 1974 one, how long will our army last? I give it 24 hours if they are willing to go all the way, 48 hours if they want to minimize "collateral damage".

On the other hand we might be maintaining an army so that we may eventually get back what is rightfully ours. I think that is also unlikely to happen because the danger of losing what one currently has is much greater than getting anything back.

Therefore, What is the purpose of maintaining an army when it will prove useless in defence, and no-one will dare use it in attack?

I think there is no purpose, in fact a unilateral demilitarization will force Turkey to eventually withdraw its troops from European soil, it will give confidence to the T/C that the G/C are not out to get them, it will save the country lots of money, it will generate a much cleaner internal political scene both due to no rousfeti and no mizes, it will save the resources being spent on the "crazies" (who are actually the most sane) who do not want to take part in this mockery and, most importantly, it will forever eliminate the threat of Turkey pulling another 1974 one.

Am I wrong? Only rational arguments please!

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

December 08, 2006


As a Stravaraland citizen pointed out via e-mail, the port 'offered' by Turkey would merely have made things easier if Cyprus were to decide to buy oil from that country. The Finns are not impressed with the proposal , while the Guardian points out that Turkey may well have cunningly taken a leaf from the 'divide and rule' handbook.

I have no idea if we have a press officer at the Cyprus High Commission in London, but if we do, perhaps he or she could give the Guardian a buzz and ask them to clarify exactly what they mean by 'Greek Cypriot supporters' of the Republic of Cyprus in paragraph 10 of this article. Are we talking Republic of Cyprus F.C. here?

Meanwhile, you could do worse than taking a look at this piece and maybe even participating in an ongoing lively discussion.

Of course, Lillikas tells us that he was aware from the outset that no one would take the Turkish offer seriously. So why all the fuss about him hopping on a 'plane? Why fly anywhere to begin with.


Please excuse any inaccuracies in the following translation and piece, as I have quite a[burp]tly taken to drinking again. The problem was not focus related. It seems the monitor was switcgrf orff... offf.

Soooo...we have and we say. where is it... ok:
"Ο Πρόεδρος Παπαδόπουλος είπε ότι τον εξέπληξε η θερμότητα με την οποία οι Κινέζοι επίσημοι εκδήλωσαν τις θέσεις τους υπέρ της Κύπρου, οι οποίοι, όπως είπε, παραδοσιακά είναι πολύ συγκρατημένοι στις δηλώσεις τους.
Presidenk pppapadopoulos said he ws pleasantly shocked at the temperature with which the official china people expresses their seats in the favour of Cyprus. This is because they are usually very preservd
''Πήρα τη διαβεβαίωση όλων ότι για την Κίνα το Κυπριακό αποτελεί πολύ σημαντικό θέμα'', είπε ο Πρόεδρος Παπαδόπουλος"
My inbox contains over 1.2 billion e-mails from all the chinese in resposive to my kweschun..."re, is Cyprus important to China?". Their ansqwer was an undefibrillated "YES!"

I'm tired now but if you want you can read all of this in its original form in greek or in english.

Wait, wait, don't go yet. The story concludes with a reminder that the presdent rewturns tomorrow at 11:25 on a special flight which makes 3 stops on the way. Aha, yes, verimportant. sorry almost forgot.


December 07, 2006

Cheese and Port

The item (via Politis):

"Όπως μετέδωσε η ΝΕΤ, η Ελληνίδα υπουργός εξωτερικών, Ντόρα Μπακογιάννη συζήτησε τις εξελίξεις τηλεφωνικώς με τον υπουργό εξωτερικών Γιώργο Λιλλήκα."

The translation:

According to Greek State TV, Greece's foreign minister, Dora Bakoyianni, discussed developments with foreign minister,Georges Lillikas.

The conversation:
"Yes, Georges, good to hear from you too...really...? well, I'm glad you're getting some shopping done...Actually, yes, I did mean it earlier when I said that you boys should be careful not to bend over to pick up the soap when there's someone else in the showers....Well, of course it's embarassing, Georges, and I do empathise...

...Georges....? No, no, it's alright to cry sometimes...I think the english call it a royal shafting...yes, yes, just like the old othomaniko...No, I did not say they sent a boy to do a man's job, Georges...Oh, dear, please stop crying... Of course the people back home won't mind... it'll all blow over in few days...

... Yes, Georges, I agree, you boys are far better diplomats than the Turks. Don't worry, you'll get to negotiate another day... maybe you should practice when you're alone.... I'm sorry, Georges, I must hang up.... now don't be like that... yes, of course I'll call again..."

Sweet Smell of Success

The BBC reports today that Turkey has agreed to open a port and an airport to traffic from Cyprus:
'Two-way deal'

A Finnish spokesman said it was not clear whether Turkey's offer met the EU's demands. Turkish officials said they would not disclose the details of the offer - like which port and airport were involved, or when they might be opened.

However, Turkey's Anatolia news agency said the offer depended on the EU ending the isolation of Turkish-controlled breakaway northern Cyprus, by allowing trade through Ercan airport and the port of Famagusta.

A Turkish foreign ministry source was quoted by Reuters as saying: "This is a two-way deal. We would require the same number of airports and ports to be opened on each side."

Now you tell me, is this what Flying Liilique achieved in Paris? Sounds like a great compromise, Chris Pash will hail it as the new achievement of the land if it gets implemented. Nothing bad can come of the inspired policy of this Presidency!

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

December 06, 2006

Ask [not] What They Can Do For Their Country

Bolt. What a great word. Reminds me of one of my favourite silly jokes: "why do I call my dog engineer...? Because every time I kick him he makes a bolt for the door".

Then there is the saying: shutting the stable door after the horse has bolted.

And of course we have Lillikas going off to France, to check on that EU Turkey Veto Recognition Solution Varosha door. "Elaaa re Lillikaaaaa mou", we should all be screaming as if our general state of diplomacy has become not unlike a day at the races. Still, it may prove to be a productive little trip for the minister in charge of exteriors, seeing as Christmas is just around the corner and as there won't be much else for him to do except for a bit of shopping.

Meanwhile, the head of the jockeys' union (and part-time naked emperor) is in China drawing on the so-called Taiwan parallel - of all things - as he babbles on about our just cause and the so-called north.

As if all of this were not enough, we have a pre-eminent columnist in Kathimerini doing his damndest to get to the top of the Strakka personnae non grata charts with a bullet. The second half of the last paragraph is well worth reading twice.

WTF? - Part 3

"Aaaa, you maskarouin, you laugh, eh? maybe they open one airport and one port on Red Sunday and you don't realise that they just put this much up your backside? Laugh, maskarouin, laugh..."

December 05, 2006

WTF? - Part 2

WTF? - Part 1

Ninja Potatoes

Was the truck driven by the T/C carrying the latest installment of Ninja potatoes going North to South or South to North?

According to our ingenious minister Photis Photiou, it cannot have been going North to South because the T/C would have bought their potatoes from Turkey, not from the G/C.

Now getting a truckload of potatoes from Turkey to the north is a tad difficult and a bit more expensive.

There was a story in Alitheia that the truck was going south to north so that the potatoes were actually Red Potatoes from the Red Soil Villages. A local farmer sniffing an arbitrage opportunity.

But then why did the T/C driver run to hide once he had the accident? I guess either way if he did not have the stamp from Photis Photiou he was illegal so either way he had to run.

Can anyone shed any light on this or is Photiou squared factually correct this time?

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos

December 04, 2006

Koulias Loses it

In Monday's edition of Politis, we have Zaxarias Koulias, DIKO MP for Famagusta (by a large margin), addressing a letter to outgoing UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, accusing him of being the custodian of the land's Turkish occupation.

According to Koulias, Annan made the amazing slip of calling the occupied land "northern cyprus", while at the same time having the nerve to talk about lost opportunities when the only thing Annan has produced in his 10 years in office (according to the honorable MP) is a monstrous plan that would have given the whole of Stravaraland to Turkey for breakfast.

In fact, the only word in the Greek dictionary that Koulias could find to accurately reflects Anan's political career's achievement (bios kai politeia) is AISXOS (disgrace) but as that does not accurately capture the extent of the MP's outrage, Koullias added NTROPI (Shame) in the letter to accurately express his feelings towards the outgoing UN Secretary General.

Lots of capitalisation of words and references to black abound in this patriotic example of the detrimental effects of crack.

December 01, 2006

Attack of the Killer Onions

Take a careful look at these onions. These are turkish onions. If you see any of them lurking about in a pile at the local frutarium or a mpakaliko, you should immediately inform the authorities. Feel free to call the Photis Photiou - minister in charge of dangerous tomatoes, potatoes and onions - at home, if need be. Yes, to hell with it if it's 3 A.M. and you're drunk as two damp farts under a blanket in a cold forest: call Photis and he'll...hmm, I don't really know what what exactly he intends to do, but I'm sure he'll think of something.

These innocent looking onions may well be just a few of a total of 370 tons of onions that crossed the Green Line during the first 2 weeks of November. You should approach any suspect onions with extreme caution. Walking backwards and pretending to be staring at a young mother carrying groceries would be a good strategy.

If any of the suspect onions try and hide, say behind a red pepper or under some apples, you should throw heavy objects in their suspected general direction while screaming to standers by to immediately call MMAD or the onion police.

People of Stravaraland, screw radiation on British Airways 'planes. Forget the perils our National Guard officers face in taking on Hezbollah. It is time to defend the land against these onions which, according to the minister so nice, they named him twice, "can pose a health hazard to the consumer".

Stravaraland Memories - Part 6

Once Clerides coined the term Banana Republic, he was a dead man walking. Perhaps he did not realize it at the time, after all the dictum that “All Political Careers End up in Failure” is too strong even for the best of politicians to avoid.

What is interesting and instructive is the method through which he would be ousted. From within his party, people like Markides felt like it was their natural birthright to succeed the leader who had been their mentor. Markides was a very able lawyer, yet his speech and thinking was severely hampered by legal terms that rendered his intelligence incomprehensible to most Greek Cypriots. Moreover, he was the main architect of the legal labyrinth that came to be known as the Annan Plan. After much wavering he run for President against his mentor, Clerides, and was supported by all the people (seemingly) disgusted with corruption and the Annan plan. The irony was that most of his supporters (Prodromos Pr, as in Monaxous Monaxous, and Rikkos, as in Rikkoudin) were vehemently opposed to the plan he was basically supporting 100%. How a candidate for Presidency could not see this simple contradiction is amazing, and illustrates that he was not a man suitable for the presidency. His eventual cited that 6% as being the first time the Establishment was challenged by an independent who managed to get such high electoral support. He was right, but the 6% was 6% too much, given the contradictions among his supporters.

From outside his party, the puzzle was beginning to be put together. The key players would be TeePee and Jimmy Christofias. Jimmy (later to be dubbed the sheftali by the Athenian Press) would end up being the key actor, and it helps to examine his thinking. He had been made Secretary General in April, 1988, after Ezekias Papaioannou (the respected leader of AKEL hailing from Kellaki, Limassol) died, right after Vassiliou was elected (February '88). It was said at the time that Ezekias got George elected and then happily joined Lenin in the red paradise. Jimmy was 42 at the time and not even a member of parliament, yet managed to become Secretary General, succeeding a person who could have been his grandfather and despite the intense competition for the top job.

Thinking about this in 2006, when The Kid has repeatedly issued pleas for room to be made for youth (with one exception), it must have been a bombshell that a 42-year old refugee from Dikomo, not part of the established AKEL leadership, managed to get the nod from the Party! Red Hats off to the New Kid on the Bloc! The event illustrates the capabilities and ambition of the young proletarian even though things would not go that well for him, at least not for another 15 years. Jimmy had single-handedly managed to get into a fight with Vassiliou by '93, then lose the elections to Clerides (AKEL's arch-enemy, according to the official party line) both in '93 and '98, and was seeing Stravaraland marching towards the EU and opening up to trade and competition throughout the '90s. The Berlin Wall came down and communism was on the defensive everywhere. Every single one of those events were considered failures for AKEL collectively, and for its leader personally (not in public of course, as AKEL policy does not allow public admission of mistakes or failures).

By 2003 Jimmy was 57 and had already exhibited certain health problems, providing further urgency to his cause. He was faced with a stark choice. Support Clerides for 18 more months (the ingenious Banana Man Plan for Saving the Banana Republic, having already spent ten years in power) and potentially unite the land (or the space as TeePee would later call it) under a bizonal, bicommunal plan, with AKEL as the main player in the politics of the entire land. This would potentially mean one more election lost though, since supporting Clerides would be interpreted by most Akelites as submission to the devil for the fourth consecutive time. Moreover this path entailed the danger that Clerides might change his mind at some point after being elected, and if no solution were found within the next 18 months - remember "o loos tou athrwpou" anyone?

Now AKEL is a team disciplined enough not to challenge the leadership but it is not clear to me whether Jimmy would be allowed to stay in power, after one more victory for Glafcos, especially with AKEL’s support. The other option was to support TeePee with a very good chance of getting him elected. TeePee had apparently changed since his youth and what the older Akelites like Dinglis and Ezekias, had written and publicly said about him. He also offered a more convincing solution for the internal troubles of the island and had lots of money to bring to the table in the pre-election campaign.

TeePee took advantage of this situation: he implicitly promised the status quo as the second best solution, with the best being carefully avoided to this day. Clerides supporters thought that this was a weakness and accused TeePee in 2003 as not being ready to accept the solution that was being planned for Stravaraland. Yet this accusation was actually the biggest present to TeePee, due to the green line running through the electorate’s head. TeePee, promising Change, was elected in the first round getting easily past the 50% mark, the first President since the first Ethnarch that had managed to achieve this feat.

originally posted by Apodimos Kypreos