July 31, 2007

Sell Me More Juice

Here's the electricity deal so far: A fourth unit will be installed at Vassiliko power station and will be up and running by May, 2008. But, the minister of commerce and industrial art keeps hinting, there may also be a dire need to get extra juice from a third party. Is this because the third party in question has enough dirt on how and why the succesful tender for the fourth unit was granted? Does the successful tender boast a leading law firm which in turn boasts the name of an eminent citizen of the Republic of Cyprus?

And don't forget that we need at least a 20% surplus over peak demand. I thought that was the case when it comes to hard drives and not power stations. Hm, whatever...

Other outstanding issues: firefighting equipment (whatever happened to the 30 tons of gear the Israelis brought with them?), public transportation (didn't Thrassou promise an overhaul with tons of EU funds?), desalination (total fuck-up, there as well), and the National Health scheme (kill a civil servant for aspirin today!).

On the bright side of things, however, if TeePee gets re-elected he can blame the entire shambles and rampant corruption on the previous government. If he does, we'll have a new yardstick for the truth.

July 30, 2007

"We'll Meet Again, Don't Know Where...."

A nostalgic moment - as captured by Makis Makis

July 29, 2007

Spot the Differences

Another moment to reflect, courtesy of Makis Makis

July 27, 2007

Rottweilers [and Drop Bears]

Just as expected, the TeePee's spin doctors decided to let the rottweilers out of their cages. Pittokopitis, who failed to get re-elected to parliament leads by three snouts, with Koulias (no relation to Mehmet Koulias) barking away in second place.

Having been kept in the cold seems to have helped improve Pittokopitis' performance. You can almost see the saliva dripping and you can definitely hear that jaw snap, with no regard to any impending danger. It leads me to believe that he was not sent to the corner of the classroom to wear a dunce cap but was, instead, pumped up with steroids while enduring a brain implant. The former pole-climbing Paphian has brought the Annan plan back to the arena, playing the patriotic card and pulling another four from up his sleeve. Truly a man of steel who can not only dismiss a colonoscopy but laugh hysterically throughout the process.

Anyway, PittyPitt tore the opposition apart. His best line:"Is there a graver insult than accusing someone of promoting partition [of Cyprus]?" Indeed. He has single handedly elevated Annan Plan-related hysteria to previously unimaginable heights

Koulias, on the other hand, although seeming less vicious, was obviously chosen to play the refugee-patriot card. Apart from this he manages to rile anyone trying to argue with him, either by mumbling into his microphone while others try and get to the point, or simply spewing stale surrealism thus managing to crash most opponents' hard drives. But don't get me wrong; I feel a black shirt would have made for more appropriate and symbolic attire than the dark blue one he was wearing on CyBC on Friday.

It is pretty funny watching two grown men with a swan's beak up their arse bark on about a "European Solution". Alright, then, boys go and bloody find this solution. Yeah, just pop into the Solutions'R'Us in Brussels and bring one home, or forever endure being heckled by people shouting Tassiktir at the pair of you. In the meantime why not read what our friend Stravoxylo has to say on the matter in general here.

The muzzles are off, it seems and the Kassoulides camp have yet to release their own vicious dog into the arena.

Where's a 24/7 current affairs channel when you need one.

Meanwhile, the spellchecker's first suggestion when encountering Koulias is Koala. Does anyone out there have any other suggestions?

Carbon Dot

I am dumbfounded and speechless. In a simply poetic ombion post I stumbled across this little gem of a competition prize.

Green Dot, who at one time could not decide which colour container ought to contain what recyclables, gave each of the 2 winners of their eco-competition a round trip airline ticket to Paris.

July 26, 2007

Earthquake Advisory

This is all I needed to know. Thanks, Civil Defence Commander

July 25, 2007

Summer Reading

In case no one has noticed, Stravaraland is gripped by a vicious heatwave. It's Al Gore's fault. We suggest, therefore, that you all stay indoors and indulge in summer reading. For those who don't have the energy to pick up a book, we highly recommend getting online and dropping by the Makarios III shrine.

Allow me to whet your appetite:
Στόχος του Μακαρίου ήταν η ένωση της Κύπρου με την Ελλάδα και αυτό το σύνθημα χάραξε ιδιοχείρως σε τοίχο στο Μοναστήρι του Κύκκου το 1931, αλλά δεν μπόρεσε να εκπληρώσει αυτόν το στόχο, σημειώνει.

Επεδίωξε την ευημερία του κυπριακού λαού και την πρόοδο και ανάπτυξη της Κύπρου και το 1971 πέτυχε την τελωνειακή ένωση της Κύπρου με την Ευρωπαϊκή Κοινότητα.

July 23, 2007

Another day in Paradise just released...

Afou o Noullis tzoimate tziai pezei pellon (translation: Since Noullis is asleep and plays the crazy), I gotta post the link to the latest episode...

Enjoy and Salam Alekum...

Off the Pot and Ready to Fight

portrait of Tassus Maximus, courtesy of Makis Makis

Maximus: Fratres!
[Cavalry addresses Maximus]

Maximus: [Seven Months from now] I will be harvesting my crops. Imagine where you will be, and it will be so. Hold the line! Stay with me! If you find yourself alone, riding in the green fields with the sun on your face, do not be troubled. For you are in Elysium, and you're already dead!
[Cavalry laughs]

Maximus: Brothers, what we do in life... echoes in eternity.

(From the film Gladiator. Dir: Ridley Scott - 2000)

Yiannakis Loses It

It is such a pain when you miss insane behaviour on CyBC. The one day I took my psychiatrist's advice and avoided watching the Yiannakis Nicolaou show, the man went ballistic on air.

It seems the rather timid Costas Themisocleous managed to push poor Yiannakis over the edge. Did the presidential candidate call Yiannakis a white sock wearing, second rate, Bulgarian trained journalist? No, he simply aired his grievance about the State broadcaster not giving him any air time. And this, Themistocleous insisted, must have been as a result of CyBC taking orders from the presidential palace to shun the former Minister of Agriculture.

And that's when Yiannakis suddenly burst into hysterics. He started screaming at Themistocleous, calling him a liar, describing his attitude as being unacceptable (and why, dear boy, is it unacceptable?) and, just as the audience thought Nicolaou would froth at the mouth and fall crashing to the floor, he got all cocky and told Themistocleous that although the slot ran another 2 minutes he was going deny him any further air time. "Pame diafimiseis..."["cut to commercials"] he screamed , repeatedly. But the camera stayed on Themistocleous who repeated his claim.

And just when it seemed Nicolaou's head was about to explode, or start spinning around, a la Exorcist, we had the infamous devil's advocate , Yiannakis Kareklas, intervene via the intercom (who must have oibviously been stirred from his afternoon nap with the other children in the newsroom) to also have a go at Themistocleous, accusing him of being a shameless liar.

It seems the whole thing pushed the boundaries of insane pomposity as the Yiannakises seemed horrified by the fact that someone had the temerity to doubt their impeccable journalistic credentials, approach and responsibility.

Full marks to the CyBC producer who ignored Nicolaou's hilarious tantrum and simply stayed on Themistocleous who repeated his claim as the others carried on with the shit fit.

July 20, 2007

They Didn't Forget....

...to bring the banner?

July 18, 2007

Not Getting Off the Pot, Yet

Some people out there (no, I'm not going to name names) who happen to have been close to Da Man for a while, are now quietly packing their political bags and getting ready to leave. We're obviously not talking about the inner circle and we're not referring to George Colocassides, either.

It seems Da Man is less than happy; way less than happy, that is, at the prospect of not doing as well as was once expected, during the first round of the presidential elections. It seems he's also quite uncomfortable about doing well during the first round but getting pummeled in the second.

And this, dear readers, seems to be the reason why he keeps stalling the inevitable moment when his die-hard supporters want to hear the ethnarch announce his candidacy.

A face saving option is also being considered, which would involve TeePee stepping down - citing health reasons or even in order to "make way for a younger generation to lead Stravaraland" - although I find the latter scenario to be a bit far-fetched. However, the reasoning behind this would hinge on the patriotic argument that he's already saved the Republic once.

One thing's for sure, however, that even the late and great Spyros Kyprianou could make a decision faster than our incumbent leader.

Burns, Shoots and Leaves

CyBC's Yiannakis Nicolaou's star guest on Wednesday was none other than our legendary Minister of Agriculture, Onions and Potatoes, Photis Photiou.

Photis was in Brussels until a couple of days ago to visit EU Agriculture Commissioner Mrs Boel (seen in the picture during happier, pre-fire days, when Photis insisted on dancing with her on the airport tarmac - a habit he has since been encouraged to kick) and to collect promises of compensation arising from the recent disastrous forest fires in the Saittas - Troodos region.

As we've had a spate of new fires, and in order to divert attention from the accusations of a lack of co-ordination and the acute shortage of firefighting planes, Yiannakis and Photis sat in the CyBC studio and decided to play the blame game. It ranged from the ludicrous to the shamelessly bigoted. And the conversation involved 2 important facets of the recent spate of national tragedies:

Photis spoke of the support he would get from the EU, as he had already secured the support of Spain, Italy, Greece, France and Portugal. Because he said, we're talking about damages of way over the initial estimates of £3 - 4 million. Yes, responded Yiannakis, there has been talk of up to £14 million. "Even more," says Photis, "maybe £14 or even as much as as £20 million...". Now, a cynic would hint that being a middleman or 'facilitator' of such sums would constitute a far better way of making money than trying to either buy or sell anything.

New culprits (besides the Electricity Authority and their dodgy cables and transformers) have emerged, although none of them could be specifically named or shamed. Photis, however made a few things very clear. We may well be talking about arsonists, here. And what sort, you may well ask.

"For instance you may have the case of a person saying, 'you didn't give my son a job, so I'm going to burn down the forest' ", said Photis. Others, he continued telling Yiannakis, simply take advantage of the aftermath and move in to collect what is left in order to sell it off as firewood.

Now, if you think it could not get more ridiculous than these examples you'd be wrong. Yiannakis came up with the gem of the discussion by telling Photis that he has a young son. And (as opposed to advice, say, Andros Kyprianou get from grown up offspring) dad sometimes 'lends an ear' and, Yiannakis continued, "... could it be possible that there are also arsonists from the North at work here...?" Needless to say, Photis took this golden opportunity and ran with it. CyBC then attributed the quote to the minister during their 6PM news.

Now, the question is, how did this child become so bigoted and who could possibly be to blame for this? After all, the danger here is of a grown up being gradually corrupted by a child, only to end up becoming a shameless bigot himself. Should we give a kid the Zacharias Koulias Tolerance Award of the week or should the father receive it on the child's behalf?

July 17, 2007

Yiannakis Confused, Souvlaki Banned

OK, I timed Yiannakis Nicolaou on CyBC today. If my questionable calculations are correct, he speaks, on average, 35.72 times longer than all his guests put together. He was all over the new Foreign Minister and congratulated her at least 17 times on being a woman. The interview was a world exclusive.

And just because I've been, on occasion, less than flattering to the State Broadcaster, I was punished today. Severely. No Stavriani Constantinou!!! OK, CyBC, the gloves are off. I'm going to get you for this.

Yiannakis then had the man who hands out road circulation licences. The innovation of the year, it seems, is that you can now go online and print your own. This, of course will be loads of fun for all of us who'd rather forge than pay up. Did the channel tel us which www-telia dot com telia cy to go to? No. Instead Yiannakis felt compelled to ask what would happen with old folks who live in Paphos and don't have access to the Internet.

"Well," explained the man in charge, quite patiently, "they can go to the bank..."
"Yes, but," retorted an agitated Yiannakis, "We're no longer going to get those slips of paper that reminded us it was time to renew......."

Well, Yiannaki, have you ever thought of taking a look at the damn thing which is stuck to the inside of your windscreen? And how come you never saw to it that your grandfather get on-line? And how come he's still driving?

In other environmental news: The Defence Ministry has issued a ban on take away food deliveries to National Guard camps, as only the food provided by the National Guard is fit for consumption by recruits. It is unclear whether food delivered to the ministry itself is safe. No more gyro from Athinaiki Gonia?

Pass The Minister

Used by kind permission of Makis Makis

"Don't Choose Dialysis..."

July 16, 2007

Switched Off

It's just like being a schoolkid, really - working at the State Broadcaster. You take the summer off if you work on the morning show. CyBC simply hooks up with a private channel in Greece, as if it is of any consequence to the local audience. Because if you really wanted to get an idea of what's happening in Greece your best TV source would be ERT - the Greek State Broadcaster. Damn fine presentation that goes way beyond our own local "what I was told by the news agencies" school of journalism. And far beyond our own news agency which, in turn, subscribes to the the "what I was told by the grown ups who run the place" school.

I was about to say kudos to Sigma for actually running a summer morning show until I made the terrible mistake of watching. We have a peculiar looking chap, who today looked as if he had just popped out of a toaster. No, not his fault but the hideous choice of jacket ought not to go unpunished. And the gal presenter; hm, well, a slice short of a sandwich? Not the sharpest knife in the block? I don't know. And I suppose her whiney voice is not her fault, either. But the questions! Damn, this girl didn't seem to be able to tell the difference between sosias (look-alike) and Sotiras (saviour) when talking to survivors of the 256th infantry brigade of the National Guard that sustained heavy losses in 1974. And the look-alike in question was the legendary Mrs. Euphrosini, who managed to help some of the survivors hide, fed them and looked after them.

I won't comment on some of the gal presenter's more ludicrous questions because I'd rather be sweating while cycling right now.

Someone please pull the plug on that morning show. And tell the State Kids to take a nice looong holiday as well.

Angelic When Asleep

July 13, 2007

Ministrification or Defenestration?

"Green George" Pertikos felt compelled to tell the press that "although a lot has been said and written" regarding the possibility of interim ministers being put forth or suggested by the Greens, that the party had neither been asked nor had it suggested anyone to take over any of the vacant ministries.

Others who have not been asked to make ministerial suggestions include my neighbour's Sri Lankan housemaid, my mother's strange looking poodle and Lambros the souvlijis.

On the other hand, however, Prodromos Prodromou, his neighbour's Sri Lankan, another neighbour's strange looking poodle and one of Lambros' customers have decided to back Kassoulides for president in 2008.

July 12, 2007

Bus Drivers, Football and Parliament

Here we are, 2 days before La Quatorze Juillet and lots of little things happening here and there keep this from being a slow day. The statement of the day has to go to Nicos Anastassiades who described the Trinity supporting TeePee as obviously having been like a bus with three drivers. One of them, according to Nicos got scared at the prospect of the bus heading for a crash and jumped off. This brings us to the lateral YouTube link of the day, which also has a co-driver theme.

In another development, our national fervour and vigillance has managed to stop Luton Town F.C. from recognising the pseudostate. Stravaraland 1 - Luton Town/Chentikaya 0. Yes yes we should all be proud of our victories in the world of international diplomacy. What if Luton had arrived in Larnaca and driven north? Would this also have constituted an affront to the existence of the Republic?

And the lucky MPs of the land tell us they have lots of work to do and must therefore spend the entire day in a building that has genereators to back up the dodgy mains Air Conditioning. They're going to pass 7 billion laws and go home to crash out very very late at night. The next parliamentary season ought to be transmitted by the highest bidder. An arena can be built on the grounds of the old hospital to accommodate the thousands of fans who'll watch the proceedings on giant screens. Charge the masses and keep their taxes down, I say.

The shock announcement of the day however came when Prodromos Prodromou and his entire party threw their collective weight behind Kassoulides' presidential bid

July 11, 2007

Spot the Minister

Why I will Run (in Greek)

Διάγγελμα Τάσσου Παπαδόπουλου προς Κυπριακό Λαό

Ιούλιος 2007

Συμπατριώτισσες, Συμπατριώτες,

Αυτές της εξαιρετικής ιστορικής σημασίας συνθήκες, νιώθω υποχρέωσή μου να απευθυνθώ σ΄ εσάς: στον Κυρίαρχο Κυπριακό Λαό. Κάθε λαός διαμορφώνει και γράφει τη δική του ιστορία. Άλλοτε με απελευθερωτικούς και κοινωνικούς αγώνες, άλλοτε με δημοκρατικές διαδικασίες διά της ψήφου του. Τώρα καλείται ο Κυπριακός Λαός, καλούμαστε ο καθένας χωριστά και συλλογικά, να γράψουμε την ιστορία του μέλλοντος της Κύπρου.
Η πατρίδα μας, διέρχεται τις πιο δραματικές ώρες της μακραίωνης ιστορίας της. Ώρες καθοριστικές όχι μόνο για το παρόν και τη δική μας γενεά, αλλά και για το μέλλον και τις γενεές που θα έρθουν. Οι αποφάσεις που θα πάρουμε εμείς φέτος, διαμορφώνουν και καθορίζουν τις τύχες και τα πεπρωμένα και των επερχόμενων γενεών.
Είμαι πεπεισμένος ότι ολόκληρη η πολιτική ηγεσία του τόπου, αλλά και η κάθε μιά και ο καθένας από σας, έχει πλήρη επίγνωση της σοβαρότητας της απόφασης που καλούμαστε να πάρουμε στις Εκλογές του Φεβρουαρίου 2008, και ότι συμμερίζεστε το βάρος της ευθύνης που αναλαμβάνουμε με την ψήφο μας. Αυτή η απόφαση ανήκει αποκλειστικά και μόνο στον Κυπριακό Λαό. Ελπίζω οι ξένοι φίλοι μας να σεβαστούν το λαό και την Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία. Ελπίζω να κατανοήσουν ότι παρεμβάσεις και πιέσεις προσβάλλουν την αξιοπρέπεια του Κυπριακού λαού, είναι αντίθετες προς ρητή πρόνοια του Καταστατικού Χάρτη των Ηνωμένων Εθνών και, τελικά, καταλήγουν αντιπαραγωγικές.
Η κρισιμότητα των αποφάσεων που καλούμαστε να πάρουμε συλλογικά, αλλά και ατομικά, δεν μας επιτρέπει να αποδυθούμε σε συναγωνισμό για το ποιός είναι περισσότερο ή λιγότερο πατριώτης. Όλοι έχουμε τον ίδιο στόχο και όλοι έχουμε την ίδια έγνοια για το μέλλον της πατρίδας μας.
Υπάρχουν διαφορές στις εκτιμήσεις, στην ανάλυση των περίπλοκων και, εν πολλοίς, δυσνόητων θέσεων των υποψηφίων. Καλώ όλους να λειτουργήσουμε σε πνεύμα αλληλοσεβασμού, χωρίς φανατισμό και προπηλακισμούς.
Δεν πρόκειται για πολιτικές εκλογές όπου τα Κόμματα καταμετρούν τη δύναμή τους. Δεν θα αναμετρηθούν τα Κόμματα μεταξύ τους. Θα αναμετρηθούμε με την ιστορία.
Η διαφύλαξη λοιπόν της ενότητας μας είναι ύψιστο χρέος προς την πατρίδα μας. Όποιο κι αν είναι το αποτέλεσμα των εκλογών, οφείλουμε να το σεβαστούμε και η επόμενη μέρα πρέπει να μας βρει μονιασμένους και δυνατούς. Η Κύπρος θα μας χρειαστεί όλους. Δεν περισσεύει κανένας.
Σέβομαι και εκτιμώ κάθε καλόβουλη και ειλικρινή άποψη και προσπαθώ να την κρίνω με αντικειμενικότητα και να την σταθμίσω, χωρίς προκαταλήψεις, και ανεπηρέαστος από δογματισμούς ή συναισθηματική φόρτιση.

Ως Πρόεδρος της Δημοκρατίας και εκλεγμένος εκπρόσωπος της Ελληνοκυπριακής κοινότητας φέρω το αυξημένο βάρος της ευθύνης της διεξαγωγής των διαπραγματεύσεων (όταν και εφ’όσον επαναρχίσουν) και το χρέος να δηλώσω δημόσια, με ειλικρίνεια και παρρησία τη δική μου αποτίμηση και την δική μου απόφαση. Χωρίς καμιά προσπάθεια επιβολής της δικής μου υποψηφιότητας αλλά ως καθοδήγηση και συνεκτίμηση από σας. Η τελική απόφαση ήταν πάντα και παραμένει δική σας. Η ετυμηγορία σας θα εκφραστεί στις Εκλογές του 2008.
Από την ημέρα που αποχώρησε το ΑΚΕΛ από την τριμερή, αφιέρωσα όλο μου το χρόνο για να μελετήσω με τους συνεργάτες μου την ομιλία Χριστόφια, σε όλες της τις πτυχές. Άκουσα απόψεις, εκτιμήσεις και αναλύσεις. Παρακολούθησα με προσοχή τον δημόσιο διάλογο που έχει αναπτυχθεί και τα επιχειρήματα που οι διάφορες πλευρές παρέθεσαν. Έχω ζητήσει και έλαβα γνωμοδοτήσεις ξένων επικοινωνιολόγων πάνω σε συγκεκριμένες πτυχές της Ομιλίας. Αξιολόγησα τις δηλώσεις πολιτικών παραγόντων με νηφαλιότητα, ψυχραιμία και αντικειμενικότητα. Αξιολόγησα τις εκτιμήσεις Ελλαδικών Κομμάτων και ξένων Κυβερνήσεων με τις οποίες επικοινώνησα. Αναμένω και θα μελετήσω με προσοχή τις τελικές αποφάσεις όλων των πολιτικών Κομμάτων της Κύπρου, τα οποία σέβομαι και εκτιμώ για την προσφορά τους στον τόπο. Κριτήριο της αξιολόγησής μου ήταν ένα και μοναδικό: η εξυπηρέτηση των συμφερόντων και δικαιωμάτων του Κυπριακού Λαού στο σύνολό του, Ελληνοκυπρίων και Τουρκοκυπρίων. Αυτό μου επιβάλλει η συνείδησή μου. Αυτό απαιτεί το αξίωμα του Προέδρου της Δημοκρατίας, στο οποίο με τη ψήφο σας με εκλέξατε.

Ελληνικέ Κυπριακέ Λαέ,

Όταν το 2003 ζήτησα τη ψήφο σου, ανέλαβα την δέσμευση ότι θα αγωνιστώ με όλες μου τις δυνάμεις, σε κάθε επίπεδο και από κάθε βήμα που προσφέρεται, για να πετύχω, μέσω μιας πιο διεκδικητικής πολιτικής, βελτιώσεις στις προτεινόμενες λύσεις. Δεσμεύτηκα, ακόμη, ότι θα επεδίωκα λύση που θα διασφάλιζε τα συμφέροντα των Ελληνοκυπρίων αλλά και των Τουρκοκυπρίων, στα πλαίσια μιας επανενωμένης Κύπρου.
Με πόνο ψυχής καταλήγω στη διαπίστωση ότι ακόμα και με την πιο ελαστική, την πιο επιεική κρίση, κανένας υποψήφιος δεν ικανοποιεί τους ελάχιστους στόχους που θέσαμε. Άρα, παρά την προχωρημένη μου ηλικία, θα ξανανεβώ στο Γολγοθά για να σώσω ότι σώζεται. Θα είμαι και πάλι υποψήφιος Πρόεδρος και θα αφήσω στην κρίση σου κυρίαρχε λαέ αν καλώς επιτέλεσα το καθήκον μου από το 2003 και εντεύθεν.

Απευθυνόμενος στους συμπατριώτες μας Τουρκοκύπριους, θέλω να υπογραμμίσω την πραγματική μας έγνοια για μια λύση που να εξυπηρετεί και τα δικά τους συμφέροντα. Ουδέποτε απέβλεψα σε φαλκίδευση ή στέρηση των δικαιωμάτων τους. Οι προτάσεις που πάντα κατέθετα στις συνομιλίες (όταν γίνονταν συνομιλίες) και τα μέτρα στήριξής τους που εξήγγειλα από το 2003 και μετά, αποτελούν απτή απόδειξη. ‘Οπως και η επικείμενη συνάντηση μου με τον κύριο Ταλάτ. Αυτή μου η στάση πηγάζει από την ειλικρινή μου πεποίθηση, ότι ο σεβασμός της αξιοπρέπειας και των δικαιωμάτων τους, η παραχώρηση σ΄ αυτούς ακόμη περισσοτέρων δικαιωμάτων για να νιώθουν μεγαλύτερη ασφάλεια, η αναγνώριση και η ισοτιμία τους, η ισομερής πρόοδος και ευημερία τους, αποτελούν θεμελιακές προϋποθέσεις για την ειρήνη και την ομαλότητα στην Κύπρο. Γι΄ αυτό και θα αποτελούν μόνιμο στόχο της πολιτικής μας.
Είμαστε πάντα έτοιμοι για μετάλλαξη του σημερινού Κράτους σε Ομοσπονδία που θα διέπεται καθοριστικά από δημοκρατικές αρχές και από πλήρη σεβασμό στα ανθρώπινα δικαιώματα.
Εγγύηση για την ειλικρίνεια αυτών των προσανατολισμών μας αποτελεί η ένταξή μας στον πολιτικό σύστημα και τις αρχές δικαίου της Ευρωπαϊκής Ένωσης. Αυτή η εγγύηση καλύπτει αξιόπιστα και τους Τουρκοκυπρίους και τις ανάγκες ασφάλειας της Τουρκίας.

Ελληνικέ Κυπριακέ Λαέ,

Ως Πρόεδρος της Δημοκρατίας και εκλεγμένος εκπρόσωπος της Ελληνοκυπριακής Κοινότητας, ανέλαβα τη βαριά ευθύνη της διεξαγωγής των διαπραγματεύσεων. Αισθάνομαι βαρύ το χρέος να δηλώσω δημόσια, με ειλικρίνεια και παρρησία τη δική μου αποτίμηση και τη δική μου απόφαση.
Ανέλαβα εξουσία, με εντολή όπως διαπραγματευθώ λύση του Κυπριακού προβλήματος, όχι όμως και με εντολή να προσυπογράψω οποιαδήποτε λύση ήθελε προκύψει από τις διαπραγματεύσεις.
Τα συναισθήματά μου δεν είναι διαφορετικά από τα δικά σας. Στην υπηρεσία σας έχω τάξει τον εαυτό μου και πριν αλλά ιδιαιτέρως από την ανάδειξή μου στην προεδρία της Κυπριακής Πολιτείας. Στόχος και γνώμονας της κάθε πράξης μου είναι το συμφέρον του λαού και τίποτε άλλο, με αφοσίωση και πλήρη ανάληψη των ευθυνών μου και με παρρησία λόγου και έργου. Η τελική απόφαση ήταν πάντα και παραμένει δική σας. Η ετυμηγορία σας θα εκφραστεί στις Εκλογές.
Συνεκτιμώντας όλα τα δεδομένα με ψυχραιμία και αντικειμενικότητα αλλά και με πλήρη συναίσθηση της ιστορικότητας των στιγμών και το βάρος της ευθύνης που μου αναλογεί, λυπούμαι ειλικρινά, γιατί δεν μπορώ να μην είμαι Προεδρικός υποψήφιος.
Να θυμάστε καλά. Παρέλαβα Κράτος διεθνώς αναγνωρισμένο. Δεν θα παραδώσω «Κοινότητα» χωρίς δικαίωμα λόγου διεθνώς και σε αναζήτηση κηδεμόνα. Και όλα αυτά έναντι κενών, παραπλανητικών, δήθεν, προσδοκιών. Έναντι της ανεδαφικής ψευδαίσθησης ότι η Τουρκία θα τηρήσει τις δεσμεύσεις της. Δεν μπορώ να πάω σπίτι μου όταν τέτοιοι κίνδυνοι ελλοχεύουν, είμαι σίγουρος ότι αντιλαμβάνεστε τη θέση μου.

Συμπατριώτισσες, συμπατριώτες,

Το Φεβρουάριο του 2008 θα τοποθετηθείτε έναντι πολλών υποψηφίων. Θα αποφασίσετε για το παρόν και το μέλλον της Κύπρου. Για τη γενιά μας, αλλά και τις γενιές που θα έρθουν μετά από εμάς.
Έχω εμπιστοσύνη στην κρίση σας.
Είμαι βέβαιος ότι δεν σας αγγίζουν ψεύτικα διλήμματα.
Ότι δεν σας τρομάζουν απειλές για δήθεν διεθνή απομόνωση.
Ότι δεν σας πείθουν τα περί δήθεν τελευταίας ευκαιρίας.
Είμαι βέβαιος ότι εξακολουθούν να έχουν για σας νόημα οι ηθικές αρχές και αξίες του λαού μας, του πολιτισμού και του εθνικού ιστορικού μας βίου, τον οποίο θέλετε να συνεχίσουμε με ασφάλεια, δικαιοσύνη, ελευθερία και ειρήνη.

Ελληνικέ Κυπριακέ Λαέ,

Στη ζυγαριά του Τάσσου, του Δημήτρη και του Ιωάννη, πολύ βαρύτερες και πολύ πιο επαχθείς θα είναι οι συνέπειες από τους τελευταίους δύο.
Σε καλώ να ψηφίσεις Τάσσο.
Σε καλώ να υπερασπιστείς το δίκαιο, την αξιοπρέπεια και την ιστορία σου.
Με αίσθημα ευθύνης απέναντι στην Ιστορία, στο παρόν και το μέλλον της Κύπρου και του λαού μας, σε καλώ να μην υποθηκεύσεις το μέλλον στην πολιτική βούληση της Τουρκίας. Να προασπιστείς την Κυπριακή Δημοκρατία, μέσω του Τάσσου. Να συστρατευτείς για μια νέα πιο ελπιδοφόρα πορεία επανένωσης της πατρίδας μας μέσα από την Ευρωπαϊκή Ένωση.

Καλό καλοκαίρι σε όλους και όλες.

July 10, 2007

An Unholy Trinity and a Gaping Hole

It has been days since we've heard from Yiorkos Lillikas, our francophone Minister of External Affairs. He was the only minister who went up to see the ethnarch for a spot of lunch and a chat who did not make any statements upon leaving and we don't know why and neither has it become clear whether his future career has been assured yet.

The predominant rumor is that he will indeed resign his cabinet post and try to quit before he's fired from AKEL, so to speak. It is, therefore, expected that he be placed as TeePee's campaign manager, when the incumbent's candidacy is finally made public.

Being a turncoat is just fine, seeing as the majority of voters do have a long term memory problem. Vassiliou was abandoned shortly after a brand new car was procured back in the day. Some may have seen the action as being in very poor taste but we will never judge a Cypriot with a love for brand new wheels.

As the first flip flopper of a presidential campaign marked by an incumbent in a state of shock at the calling of his bluff, Lillikas may actually find himself faced with the prospect of a vanishing political career. Million pound lawsuits don't really impress anyone with half a brain and neither do they create enough smoke for an effective enough screen.

The arrogance of a president who relies on lapdogs to express his displeasure is not something new in Cypriot politics. This is quite fitting in a climate more reminiscent of the period covering the '60s to the mid Seventies. The new (or, rather, improved) tactic is that of God never being seen or heard from while the angels get on with the task of seemingly keeping us up do date.

God, after all, is way too busy, although the angels may be more disposable than they think.

The coy "yes, but what if he stands" and "how can a leader not stand" arguments are stale and have, unfortunately cost Stravaraland three extremely competent Ministers. Why they have to leave, as no other candidate has been put forward by the now defunct Trinity, is anyone's guess, and a point brought up in a damn good post by Stratis

And in the interim, I suppose every sticky-fingered dog deserves to have its day.

July 09, 2007

Can Jimmy make it?

In a post last year I argued that Jimmy should run for President but will not because he does not have a chance of getting elected in the second round. I was wrong about him not running, but I now wonder whether I was also wrong about him not being able to win.

Jimmy has somehow managed to create a number of records in his favour. To start off, at the tender age of 42 he was elected to become the youngest secretary general of AKEL, before even being elected as MP! He then managed to lose 2 consecutive presidential elections (1993 and 1998) to arch AKEL enemy Clerides but his position was never challenged within AKEL. He then managed to elect TeePee in 2003 ("The man hath changeth") and became the first-ever President of Parliament hailing from AKEL. And now, for the first time during the 47 year history of the Republic, he is the first candidate coming straight from AKEL.

What are his chances of getting elected as first ever President of the Republic? I think that he will actually have a good chance, even in the second round in this coming election.

Why do I say that? There is a dire need for true change in Stravaraland. There is an insatiable (and growing) thirst for honest handling of domestic problems and policies. And rightly or wrongly, Jimmy is actually as credible a candidate for an honest change as Kasoulides. In fact, he has a stronger claim than Kasoulides for being the angel of change given his absence from direct involvement in previous administrations. Moreover, given that the AKEL-hailing ministers (excluding Thrassou) have had a reputation for being the best ministers around, he benefits from a feeling that there is competence coming along with honesty.

Thinking more about this, I would not bet against Jimmy actually, not yet anyway...

July 08, 2007

Embrace The Future

Komrads and Komradisses of Stravaraland, Veggetarians and Omnivores of Our Nation,

92.7% of the delegates at AKEL's Pancyprian Congress decided Sunday afternoon that it is high time that their leader (and our new found idol) Demetris Christofias take the first step on his own Thousand Mile Journey. Jimmy the anti-imperialist for President is the new chant in town.

Never again need we be ashamed of being isolated due to our political beliefs. Jimmy himself pointed out in his speech that the Cyprus Problem was going nowhere, fast. It is time, therefore to throw off the shackles of capitalist oppression and insiduous creature comforts, fast cars, loose women and corrupt politicians. It is time for us to take this brave new step and take some bull by the horn.

From now on we will rely on new alliances and solve our problems with glee and zeal. From now on we must all work dilligently and make sure that we elect the progressive proletarian who can catapult us into the mid 20th century and maybe even beyond.

Comrade Jimmy, we love you. Bless you and thank you for renewing our hope for the future.

Serving ... the People

What in hell is that smell? No, don't go there; it could be toxic.

July 05, 2007

Bring 'em to the Studio!

Seeing Marcos' "Barmy Army" invade the ESPN studio was great fun. But the sports network has moved on to other, more trivial matters.

Over 5 hours of quarter final tennis later our man was beaten by a Serb. We were unable to reach Lillikas for his views on the matter.

Marcos played an exceptional game. His supporters were brilliant and we know that he will one day reign supreme. And as Marcos Baghdatis has done more than any politician to 'enlighten' the world, we're removing Zacharias Koulias from the Presidential Poll to include The Champ.

Anyone Seen Lillikas?

July 04, 2007

The Lady Doth Protest Too Much

Oooops... someone at CyBC switched to commercials, half way through one of Anastasiades' rants on the Kenevezou show. As she assured the public that the somewhat suspect flip of the switch was accidental, Kenevezou remains on our presidential poll.

Of course the L.N.G. question - (the £1.5 billion question, that is) came up. Morticia, as she is known to her die-hard fans, challenged Anastasiades to spill the beans as to who he feels may be skimming off this project.

Now, let's get a few things straight, here, shall we? First of all, even if he knew the identity of the sticky-fingered bandits, there would be at least 138 reasons not to be foolish enough to name names on the air. Secondly, and more importantly, though, Anastasiades did suggest that the press ought to hound officials until someone out there give the people an acceptable response for the sake of glasnost. Whoa, his tongue was about to break through his cheek!

La Keneveze then insisted that CyBC did pursue such stories. Yes, indeed, she then went on to say, they reported what ... Pourgourides had to say on the matter. Hmmm, yeah... OK.

July 03, 2007

Pick a Leader; Any Leader

OK, we've more or less had it with the silliness of who is going to stand for president of Stravaraland in 2008. So far only 2 people have announced their candidacy and another two are still busy playing hard to get and being oh-so coy about things.

So, this is our chance to decide for ourselves who we want to lead us to greatness and finally put us on the historical map. Instead of casting a vote of protest, let us choose our next leader, taking into account the sort of international publicity we'd get. Some sort of celebrity, perhaps.

After all we need the sort of publicity that stems from something more intelligent than some buffoon looking really superior while blurting out embarrassing crap like "...and I don't know why"

Take our presidential poll or forever hold your peace. Suggestions are also welcome.

On Critical Thinking

Developing the skill to critically examine news will unavoidably bring peace to Stravaraland. The inability to critically think and express oneself has been recently spotted by various commentators worrying about the exam results in modern Greek (of all subjects).

A new company in the U.S. does just that and I suggest to the minister of education (and culture) to just invite them over for a presentation. The company is partly named after an ancient Greek Great (Theseus) and will therefore be doubly popular as it will reconnect the modern Cypriots to the ancient glorious Greeks.

Now, I dont know whether I should take these lessons myself at such an old age. But it seems to me that TeePee seems to have done something dodgy with this gas business. The minister of trade says that, depsite all the experts have advised him against the production of gas at sea, he trusts best his "common sense".

TeePee's son happens to be a partner in the law firm (Tassos Papadopoulos and CIA) representing one of the companies bidding for a £1.5 billion project from the government, and Nicholas is at the same time in the appropriate parliamentary committee where this issue was discussed. In fact, he was actually being quoted in the media in his role as MP about this project, and his opinion was given a wide audience by the unsuspecting media (like Eleni Vretou) at the time. When at the same time, and without anyone knowing about it, he was corresponding with the bidding company. And probably, the only reason we know anything about this, is that The Kid decided to kick out the senior partner in the law office and usurp his (non-participating) father's name in the process. I don't know whether I need Theseus or not, but something smells fishy here, don't you think? Or am I turning into the English version of Mikellides, with all due respect?

July 02, 2007

Ministerial Update

A large percentage of the cabinet went along to Saittas on Friday to keep TeePee company and to do their thing. Photis looked more alarmed than the rest and must have been even more flustered as he was already entertaining the EU Commissioner for Agricultural Development, Mrs Boel. He has since recovered and put the blame for the blaze square on the Electricity Authority's shoulders, citing sparks from a faulty high tension cable. He has since bounced back with gusto by announcing that in place of every tree lost he will plant two. Steady on, Photi. Doesn't the Agriculture Minister realise that there is an additional danger in planting higher densities in forests? Ask someone who knows, dude, before getting all melodramatic and soppy.

The ministers who retained their cool were Syllikiotis (Interior), Sarris (Finance) and that pleasant chap in charge of our health. Say whatever about TeePee but you must admit that having 3 ministers with a hands-on and can-do attitude is no mean feat. Kudos to Da Man.

Of course the hospital in Nicosia had its hands full. Besides the civilian heatstroke victims, the new General Hospital had a stream of ambulances rushing over reservists and national guardsmen. Well done Chris Pash. Organising a military exercise during a heatwave is a brilliant idea, seeing as the high season for wars on the island is at the height of summer. So, what was the deal, sending them all home in the afternoon. Come on, Chris, let's toughen the boys up a little.

The one minister who arrived way to late for the party was the one that looks a bit like a bassett hound and a stoned one at that. Hey, if you got access it you might as well smoke it. Yep, Soph Soph made his own soppy comment about rushing back from an official visit abroad to "stand next to the men. The men who gave their best..." Maybe tomorrow he can do something about the picture above which appears on the firefighting section of the Cyprus Police site.

Not to be outdone by the rest of the crew, Yorkos Lillikas informed the nation that he was going to place an order for firefighters via SMS to Brussels. He should have scooted off to Saittas and borrowed Mrs Boel's phone, or, better still, checked out this post on Stratis' blog.

In the middle of CyBC wildly popular "blazing forest" show, Themis the European gave the station a call. "I have been authorised by the EU Agricultural Commissioner to convey to the people of Cyprus.....". Yes, alright Themi.

But Lillikas was the first to get into post blaze mind set and today decided to put the matter of Serbia's accession to the EU high up on the agenda during his meeting with the ....Slovenian Foreign Minister. Good move, slick.

Alright boys, let's go helicopter shopping and see how much we can make in commissions.

This bulletin has been brought to you by Mitsides Village Macaroni which used to sport the motto: "Eat it once and try to forget it" on every packet.

Blazing Glory

When it comes to hysterical media, no other outfit can match CyBC. This hysteria reached its peak during the weekend's forest fires, described in terms ranging from catastrophe to national tragedy. Yes, the fire that ravaged 12 square kilometres, is indeed a major blow to Stravaraland, but please, let us keep things in context instead of wallowing in masochistic melodrama.

The various correspondents and anchors stopped short of claiming that the planet's ecosystem was to be permanently affected.

They must have had a great time tracking down various ministers and officials on their cellphones, although for no apparent reason. "No", the minister of finance said at one stage,"I'm still on the way to the Rodon Hotel", so that potential interview (which no doubt would have involved the anchor asking such banale questions as "do they seem upset...have they eaten...are any of them crying...are any of them left-handed...any sweaty cleavage in sight...?") was cut short and we went straight to one of the more hysterical correspondents who started blurting out some insane little story of doubtful factual origin regarding a man in his 70s who would not budge from his village, not yet engulfed by flames; "imagine being told you have to leave your home....you're in your 70s.....you may never have left the village in your life..."

Well, sister, that was a unique opportunity for you to give the viewers a break by commandeering a CyBC vehicle and showing pappou what is left of the island after the tragic national disaster - in one fell, humanitarian, swoop. Travel, after all, broadens the mind. Or so some claim.

Of course, by Monday the taxpayer-financed station was gleefully blowing its own trumpet and beating its own drum. Their ratings lead, we were told, was substantial. Thanks to their coverage of the disaster their rivals were left choking in the broadcasting ashes. Up to 40% of viewers tuned in to watch their heroic coverage that lasted forever!

I'm sure the evacuees from the affected villages will feel really proud of the small role they played in helping out the national broadcaster achieve such stellar ratings.