August 31, 2007

Who Are Anorthosis?

Asks a Spurs fan...

Hopefully Timour will teach them a lesson (or two)...

Captain Nemo III

Recap of I-II.
In 1987 the office of Stravaraland’s President received a 13-page letter. It was signed by 'Commander Nemo', titled April Fool's Day and, among many other things, it threatened to release huge quantities of "Di-Tox-B7" (which actually does not exist) if the President did not send $15 million for collection at Stravaraland’s High Commission in London. The letter went on to threaten the island with massive destruction from nuclear powered contact lenses, baldness and traffic congestion; and offered details on how to have sex with a donkey.

After receiving the alarming threat against Stravaraland and future generations, and one year before the presidential elections, President Spyros Kyprianou immediately summoned the head of police and the interior minister to assess the credibility of the threat. Immediately, MI5 was called in since The Foreign Finger sometimes can be very helpful in dealing with such problems. For one year, and right up to the presidential elections, Stravaraland was inundated with the threats that Captain Nemo had so irrespectfully aired against The President and his people. What was the outcome of this story, you may ask.

Well, in May 1989, one year after the elections had already been lost to an upstart called George Vasileiou, Panos Koupparis (a British citizen of Cypriot origin, resident at the time in Cyprus) was arrested in London and put to trial with the following accusations:

Members of the jury, the prisoner at the
Bar, Panos Koupparis, is charged on an indictment containing
two counts. In the first count he is charged with blackmail,
the particulars of offence being that between the 1st day of
January 1987 and the 15th day of May 1987, with a view to
gain for himself, he made an unwarranted demand of US $15
million upon the High Commissioner for Cyprus, acting on
behalf of the Government of Cyprus, with menaces. In the
second count he is charged with attempting to obtain property
by deception, the particulars of offence being that on the
14th day of May 1987 he attempted to obtain dishonestly from
the High Commissioner for Cyprus, acting on behalf of the
Government of Cyprus, £25,000 in money with the intention of
permanently depriving the High Commissioner for Cyprus
thereof by deception, namely by falsely representing, (1)
that his true name for practical and everyday purposes was
Symeon Cambanellos; (2) that he then held a genuine intention
to assist the Government of Cyprus to detect poison injection
To this indictment he has pleaded not guilty and it is
your charge to say, having heard the evidence, whether he is
guilty or not guilty.

Panos Koupparis, despite his professed “insanity” or “being under the influence of psychotic drugs”, was found guilty in 1989 for attempted blackmail of the Cypriot government and was sentenced to serve 5 years in jail. The details of the trial can be found here

A website (associated with Koupparis and therefore not entirely objective) makes the case that he was a scapegoat to something bigger.

You can interpret this story any way you like. Any further information that can help us, and all the future generations of Stravaraland that were saved from Captain Nemo, understand what happened will be gratefully acknowledged.

Pure Coincidence

the statcounter reading a few days into the launch of the Cyprus Presidential Elections 2008 blog

August 28, 2007

Ασύμμετρες Ασυναρτησίες

Με πόνο ψυχής βλέπει ο καθένας τί γίνεται στην Ελλάδα.

Έξω από τις φωτιές, πώς θα επηρεάσουν το εκλογικό αποτέλεσμα οι φωτιές και η αντίδραση της Κυβέρνησης; Πιστεύω ότι τα συμβάντα θα είναι αρκετά για να χάσει τις εκλογές η ΝΔ.

Ο Καραμανλής, ίσως σίγουρος για την προδιαγραφόμενη νίκη πριν 2 εβδομάδες, τώρα καταφεύγει στο ύστατο καταφύγιο των απελπισμένων πολιτικών. Μας λέει ότι η ασύμμετρη απειλή είναι είτε Ξένος Δάκτυλος, είτε Αντιπολιτευόμενος Προδότης. Δυστυχώς για τη ΝΔ, η ασύμμετρη απειλή δεν είναι άλλη από την ασύστολη ανικανότητα της δικής της Κυβέρνησης. Δυστυχώς για τη ΝΔ, βρίσκεται στο κυβερνητικό πηδάλιο και θα εισπράξει το λογαριασμό των γεγονότων. Έστω και αν το ΠΑΣΟΚ δε θα τα πήγαινε καλύτερα στην αντιμετώπιση της κατάστασης, ο Παπανδρέου είναι πιο πειστικός όταν μιλάει για ασύμμετρες ανοησίες.
Και δεδομένης της οριακής κατάστασης σε ψήφους, το ΠΑΣΟΚ (μάλλον για τους λανθασμένους λόγους) θα βρεθεί πάλι στην εξουσία.

Journalism 2.0?

Imagine journalists in Stravaraland undertaking something like this. Which candidate would you choose and why?

[cross-posted on the Cyprus Presidential Elections 2008 blog]

Simitis on Greece. Or is it Stravaraland?

On Sunday 26/08/2007, former PM Simitis published an article in VIMA entitled (The End of Virtual Reality) dealing with the current predicament of Greece. Replace Greece with Stravaraland and you get as accurate a hint as any that what is going on in Greece seems to be going on in Stravaraland.

Some key excerpts:

Η Ελλάδα μέσα στα τελευταία τρία χρόνια έχασε τη δυναμική και τη θέληση να αλλάζει, να δημιουργεί και να προχωρεί με αυτοπεποίθηση στο αύριο της Ενωμένης Ευρώπης. Είναι μια χώρα που αισθάνεται στο περιθώριο, με τον ρόλο της περιορισμένο σε ό,τι την αφορά άμεσα και με διαρκή ανησυχία για όσα μπορούν να της συμβούν από πρωτοβουλίες άλλων. Η εξέλιξη αυτή δεν ήταν τυχαία. Η Νέα Δημοκρατία εγκατέλειψε τις πρωτοβουλίες που έδειχναν θέληση και αυτοπεποίθηση, όπως εκείνες για την αντιμετώπιση των ελληνοτουρκικών διαφορών ή την επίλυση του Κυπριακού. Προτίμησε να ακολουθήσει τον προσδιορισμένο από φόβο δρόμο της παθητικής αναμονής για καλύτερες συνθήκες στο μέλλον. Διαμόρφωσε έτσι και πάλι ένα διεθνές περιβάλλον ανασφάλειας για τη χώρα, όπου καθοριστικό είναι το τι θα πουν ή θα πράξουν άλλοι. Ο ρόλος μας περιορίζεται στο να αποφεύγουμε, να έχουμε αντιρρήσεις, να διαμαρτυρόμαστε. Συνήθως με κόστος.
Η συνεχής επίκληση του «πολιτικού πολιτισμού» από τη Νέα Δημοκρατία αρχικά σκοπό είχε να ξεχαστεί η συμπεριφορά της ως αντιπολίτευσης. Ως αντιπολίτευση δεν είχε πρόβλημα να υβρίζει και να συκοφαντεί τους αντιπάλους της. Αργότερα ο πολιτικός πολιτισμός προβλήθηκε για να αυτοεπαινεθεί η κυβέρνηση για τις προσκλήσεις της προς στελέχη των άλλων κομμάτων και τη συμμετοχή σε εκδηλώσεις τους. Αλλά ο «πολιτικός πολιτισμός», όπου ύβρεις και φιλικές σχέσεις εναλλάσσονται κατά περίπτωση σύμφωνα με τις πολιτικές επιδιώξεις της στιγμής, είναι υποκρισία. Το μήνυμα προς τους πολίτες είναι: οι καπάτσοι δικαιούνται να εμπαίζουν τους καλόπιστους.

Αποτέλεσμα της κυβερνητικής στάσης είναι η γενικότερη ηθική απαξίωση του πολιτικού λόγου.

August 24, 2007

A Balanced Opinion

Regardless of what has been said about the Archbishop of Stravaraland and his meddling ways (including our own digs), it's encouraging to see that not all is lost on the local media scene.

Here is a passage from the Cyprus Weekly editorial page:
...Cyprus has an elected President and decisions on the national issue are the responsibility of the government and the National Council. The Archbishop, as any individual, has a right to express his views, of course. But siding with one candidate or his positions in order to denounce and attack the views of the other two, is an unwise move on his part.

Greeks are famous for feuding among themselves. We in Cyprus have paid dearly for mistakes and quarrels of the past.

We saw the feuding after independence, the fight between Makarios and Grivas, the "revolt" by the bishops against Makarios, the criminal actions by Eoka B against the government, and ultimately the treacherous coup by the Greek junta and their henchmen in Cyprus.

Then, easily, we put all the blame on Kissinger and the plottings and designs of the imperialists, for the calamity that befell Cyprus.

With Turkish troops still occupying our lands, we should focus on trying to avoid similar quarrels, or at least learning from mistakes of the past. Archbishop Chrysostomos could help in this direction, urging Greek Cypriot politicians to overcome their differences and speak in one voice. Siding with one party and attacking the others does not promote unity.

Andreas Hadjipapas

August 23, 2007

Captain Nemo II

In March 1987, around one year before the 1988 Presidential Elections, a letter arrives at Stravaraland's Presidential Palace. Opened by undersecretary to the President (for around the last 27 years) Patroclos Stavrou, the letter included an explicit threat on the future generations of Stravaralanders. Immediately, the President of the Republic was summoned to go over the letter. Here follows the exact letter that was received on that fine spring day, when the flowers blossom, and the grass begins to grow...

Written: 13/03/1987. Dispatched: 20/03/1987. Ref: CN/FM-PSK/CY.

Dear Mr. Kyprianou,

As Head of State, the safety and welfare of the Cypriot people should
undoubtedly be your primary concern. In an emergency, whatever you
decide to do, governs the fate of Cyprus and your place in its' History.
Cyprus is now facing a Crisis of enormous magnitude.
Cyprus is in a state of seige, your Country is under Attack and this
is a formal Declaration of Intent. Chemical Weapons have been deployed
in strategic positions throughout Cyprus, covering the major population
centres, tourist resorts and agricultural areas.
These Weapons will activate automatically in a few days. Only you
have the power to stop them. If you allow them to activate, you will
leave your Country a legacy that future generations will curse you for.
The After-Effects will be comparable to those of a Nuclear War; land,
water, crops, livestock and people will be contaminated for Centuries.
As you will realise, further on, this will affect you, your colleagues,
family, children, and friends. This is something you can personally
relate to.
The only way to stop this Attack is by the payment of U.S.$15 Million.
The rest of this communication deals with the finer points of Chemical
Warfare. We hope that you will handle this matter promptly and
in the strictest confidence, any media coverage will force the issue
regardless of your intentions. Be especially careful when using
any form of telecommunications as they may be tapped.
If you cannot evaluate the significance of our message, invite your
experts to provide an independent validation to enable you to decide
quickly, otherwise Cyprus will suffer a fate worse than Death!
yours sincerely,


The recent bad weather has caused some delay in our plans. Unfortunately,
we cannot turn our clocks back, therefore, you do not have as much time as
we originally intended. The Countdown has started, you must move fast!

To be continued...

August 22, 2007

Recognition at Last!

This piece in Phileleftheros came as a great relief.

The people of Cyprus would like to thank Lambros for asking the question that prompted the following U.S. State Department response:
Yes, Lambros.

QUESTION: Mr. Gallegos, any respond to the -- yesterday's pending question on oil exploration by the Republic of Cyprus in its own economic zone?

MR. GALLEGOS: Besides the taken question that I posted and then one of my staff handed to you, I'd be happy to go into that.

QUESTION: Just for the record.

MR. GALLEGOS: Yes. The Republic of Cyprus has announced the results of bids to obtain oil and gas exploration licenses in Cyprus's exclusive economic zone. An American firm is among the bidders. The Republic of Cyprus is a sovereign nation with the right to request bids for oil exploration within its own economic zone. The involvement of U.S. firms in such investment is a business decision, not a political one.

QUESTION: Thank you.

The Lying Builder and the Cyprus Problem

No, I am not implying that the relationship between the lying builder and the Cyprus problem arises from the secret Turkish agent that has planted this story on the net to defame the impeccable reputation of Southern Stravaraland (as always, just a geographical term). Even though I did hear this reaction to the lying builder website, I am willing to bet that this time Turkey, the duplicitous Brits and The Foreign Finger are not, individually or collectively, directly involved in funding, building or maintaining the lying builder website.

Let’s take things from the beginning. We are told of the lying builder, a builder who most likely saw the price of an asset he sold in advance rise in value from the time he originally signed the contract. And he decided to withdraw from his side of the bargain, leaving the buying Brit to lick his wounds, count his money losses and build innovative web pages to expose his plight. Now, for those of you leaving in Stravaraland circa 1999, this does not sound like fantasy, right? Front-running by stock market agents was the same activity as what the lying builder did, and moreover, at least the lying builder built himself the asset he was selling.

Not honoring a contract is not a surprise, not in Stravaraland, not in any other country of the world. Caveat Emptor, Buyer Beware is basic advice. In Stravaraland, though, this is a lot worse. Because even though the buyer might be careful, not honoring a contract does not automatically mean what one should expect, namely court, jail and damages paid to the offended party within a reasonable amount of time. What it typically means, unfortunately, is buyer mocked and ridiculed for being outsmarted by the clever street-smart man. Typically, a cheaper and much more efficient way to deal with such offending parties, is to hire a hitman, who for as low as 500 pounds (at least in the glory days of 1999-2000), can arrange for a bomb to be placed under the car of the offending party. Whether the offending party is inside the car at the time of blast-off is extra and optional and it really depends on whether the offended party is willing to part with his money for ever or not. Basically, a bully needs their bully and the law does not, to date, have had the ability to interfere with this ancient way of settling accounts. This traditional way of dealing with issues is therefore still practiced in Stravaraland for the lack of any alternative, efficient ways of dealing with the failings of the legal system.
(And now I am including Northern Stravaraland in this since there it seems this ancient tradition is practiced at an even higher level).

Now, how can this be related to the Cyprus Problem you may ask? Well, if the business people in a country do not trust the law to be enforced within their own land, imagine how much less they can trust a third party (say Turkey) to ever stand by an agreement. International law is much more difficult to implement/enforce than local law and if local law is not to be trusted, why should international law be? Since finding a bigger bully than the Turkish army might be a tad difficult in the region, we are stuck in a situation where nobody dares make a move. The small step forward might be to start enforcing the law at speeds that are faster than one’s finite lifetime. Then, maybe, relying on bullies to get the job done might become a thing of the past and maybe the law can be trusted to function like it should in a civil (and civilized) society. Even without necessarily helping to solve the Cyprus Problem, that could be termed "progress".

Tommy Taliban

Racist of the Year

August 21, 2007

Captain Nemo I

What is the connection between Captain Nemo and Stravaraland?

Is there a connection between Captain Nemo and previous Presidential Elections?

What do you think?

August 20, 2007

The First Big Freebie

We are told today by our great Archbishop that all priests in Stravaraland will receive an increase in salary over the next three years. The lowest band will be A8 (around 200-300 pounds more than the current average based on hearsay here and there, my numbers are from around 500-600 pounds to go to 800 pounds for most priests).

Now, the salaries of clergymen in Stravaraland are paid by the state, therefore 6 months before the Presidential elections, after 4 years of almost no salary increases in the public sector (to get the eurozone standards on deficit and debt), well now, coincidentally 6 months before the elections, all the clergymen of Stravaraland get a mind-numbing increase in salaries.

Any semblance of the above with reality is absolutely real and true, unless proven otherwise, given the Byzantine tradition to secrecy espoused by the Church of Stravaraland, that does not allow us to get the right numbers.

Stravara Land with a Vengeance

Karayiannas or The Lying Builder:

Greek-Speaking, Turkish Newspaper

Moreover, note that Big Phil did not mention today the Archbishop's remark about Politis, namely that "this newspaper is a Turkish Newspaper that is just written in Greek". Enjoy Tommy B, your Archbishop leading the eternal struggle against the Infidels, with the eventual goal of bringing (through the Paphos developments, Hellenic Bank Expansion and Mega Control) Peace and Harmony to Stravaraland...........

International Crisis Group, Phileleftheros and The Foreign Finger

Big Phil today informs us that The International Crisis Group is suggesting essentially a Coup Against Tassos (Εισηγούνται "Φάγωμα" Τάσσου).

You can actually download the document and read it for yourself. And in it you can find the probably most objective view of what is going on in the area now and in the past 10 years. You can also find nice one-liners like "every step is dogged by 40,000 Turkish soldiers and 40,000 Greek Cypriot lawyers".

As for the eating up of Tassos, (I know, to prevent the democratic forces from fully blooming on the island of love) the relevant passage goes as follows:
An opportunity for change in Greek Cyprus may emerge if presidential elections in February 2008 produce a more pro-reunification president than the current hardliner, Tassos Papadopoulos. It is worth remembering that the hostility between Ankara and Athens dissolved when a new Greek government decided its strategic interest was to bring Turkey into Europe. Some Greek Cypriot officials say they believe the same. For now, however, there are few signs of impatience in Greek Cypriot society for reunification with neighbours who are three times poorer and one fifth their number, yet demand political equality.

New Greek Cypriot leadership, nevertheless, could allow Cyprus to follow the Greek example. The Cypriot communists, Akel, urged a “no” in 2004 because they were locked in a ruling coalition with Papadopoulos. They split with him in July 2007 and may field a candidate with a new approach in 2008. AKEL, the largest Greek Cypriot party, polls about one third of the vote and is traditionally the most receptive to Turkish Cypriot concerns.

Turks still support a bicommunal, bizonal solution, Greeks a unitary one, but compromise is possible. Most Greek Cypriots do regard a bicommunal, bizonal plan as at least tolerable, and only one third of Turkish and Greek Cypriots reject a federal solution outright. Only small minorities on both sides feel comfortable with the status quo; majorities want more inter-communal contact. Yet, the status quo continues, and 90 per cent have no contact with the other community, subtly hardening the division of the island as the years go by. While younger Turkish Cypriots tend to be more hopeful of a reunified solution, younger Greek Cypriots show no interest in a common future. Overall, neither side is optimistic about a settlement.

The Greek Cypriot idea that “osmosis” can produce a unitary state is unlikely to work. Turkish Cypriots are applying for Nicosia’s passports to take advantage of EU privileges, not to embrace the Greek Cypriot state. The new settlers, probably half the Turkish Cyprus population, are mostly excluded and have little ability to integrate into the unitary state. The longer the stalemate lasts, the more the balance of the Turkish Cypriot population shifts towards newcomers. Similarly, the longer it lasts, the more likely is an expansion of the creeping international recognition of the self-declared Turkish Republic of North Cyprus. Both these long-term outcomes are exactly what the Greek Cypriots say they wish to avoid.

Anyway, the part of the report dealing with Stravaraland is good reading regardless of your world views.

August 17, 2007

The $64,000 Question

Lillikas on "Who Wants to be a Millionaire", by kind permission of Makis Makis

August 16, 2007

2008 Edition

Promotional DVD cover courtesy of Makis Makis
Coming to a polling station near you

47 Today

August 14, 2007

Moral Superiority and The Road to Peace

We are told by many neutral (and non-neutral) participants in Stravaraland politics that T/C (and Turkey more generally) ride the high moral ground since 2004. I do not want to get into whether this is a valuable political tool or not. (Many G/C, given their 1974-2004 experience, discount this value but I do think that losing the high moral ground is close to suicidal in the current world political climate).

Why do the T/C ride the high moral ground? Well, because in 2004, after 30 years of not wanting (or not being allowed) to talk or meet with a G/C, they massively voted to unite with their G/C cousins. That is one point of view. The other is that the vote was an attempt to enter the European Union and get to the promised land and away from years of poverty. You make your educated guess as to what were the motives.

Since that event we have been bombarded with claims that the “poor T/C are isolated”, “they have no recognition”, “they are poor”, “they should be rewarded for wanting peace on the island”. And, given the inability of the Tee-Pee government to run any public relations job outside a radius of 5 miles around Strakka, the world press has been inundated with calls for the “end to the isolation of the peaceful T/Cs”.

Now, in my simple mind, if you want peace you need first to recognize that in 1974 you over-reacted and used excessive force, an action that would not have been possible in the current world climate. Compared to what Turkey did in the 1974 invasion, the Israeli actions in Lebanon last summer were like a summer excursion to another land with only the picnic baskets missing. I have never heard any mainstream T/C or Turkish party say that, well, “maybe we overreacted in 1974”, “maybe we should not have killed many of those G/C and well maybe we should not have forced half the population to flee their homes”. Short of mainstream political parties in Northern Stravaraland (and eventually Turkey) beginning to recognize that the 1974 actions were unnecessarily brutal, short of them beginning to wonder whether they should say “we are sorry”, there cannot be any semblance of T/C having the high moral ground, however many YES votes they cast.

In fact, this contrasts sharply with the mainstream G/C parties (AKEL and DHSY) that have both, at various points in times, recognized the mistakes of the pre-1974 period and have expressed their sorrow for them happening.

But moral superiority is not the real issue here, as The Cypriot Blame Game argued a few days ago. Whether one is morally superior or not, whether this changes over time, whether you manage to convince the rest of the world you are morally superior or not, all that does not matter one iota. It does not matter because that feeling of moral superiority will never bring you peace on the island. What, instead might open up the road to peace on the island, is the mutual recognition from both sides that mistakes were made in the past. And, unfortunately, I have never seen/met/heard a single T/C or mainland Turk say that “Maybe 1974 was an overreaction, maybe we should say sorry for the pain Turkey caused at the time”. And until T/C and mainland Turks have the courage to say that, until that time, there can not be a healthy/honest discussion about how to bring peace on the island.

August 13, 2007

Love Cyprus

Here we are, spending a fortune on eventually, maybe, one day promoting Cyprus as a golf destination. Not only that, we spend millions on the Love Cyprus broadcast campaign on, among other networks, CNN International. So what can one find regarding Cyprus and golf on CNN?

Be patient and suffer 30 seconds of advertising before the piece loads. And hurry, before someone in Atlanta decides to take it off-line!

On This Day

Not only does this day mark the birthdays of Makarios III, Fidel Castro, Alfred Hitchcock and Noullis, but also commemorates - besides the overnight appearance of the Berlin [the last Nicosia of Europe] Wall - this man's achievement.

August 10, 2007

Our Hero

Makis Makis pays homage to our fearless leader

Spot the Dork

Unidentified civil servant watches Sophocles Sophocleous on television

August 08, 2007

Our Civic Duty

The presidential election blog can be found here.

August 07, 2007


The article below appeared on August 5th, 2007, in Toplum Postasi, a London-based Turkish Cypriot daily.

The article (irreverently copied and pasted here on the assumption that the original author would not mind) could also have been written by a Greek Cypriot. The only difference would have been that Turkish would have been replaced by Greek in what follows (and also "640,000" with "200,000", "up to 1974" with "since 1974", "enosis" with "taksim"). As far as I can tell, no further changes would need to be made, but the message would be exactly the same.

The Cypriot Blame Game: Playing With Our Future

By Alkan Chaglar

Every day Greek and Turkish Cypriots attempt to analyse the Cyprus problem. Most attempts normally involve a trip down memory lane, but although history can be useful to help us understand what is done and dusted, most who are unaware of the experience of the ‘other’ grow angry when thinking of the past and never get out of the past. So entrenched in their interpretation of the past are some that any attempt to encourage us to be responsible for our own past, while planning the future are dismissed without trial. Attacking out of desperation, the blame is routinely attributed to the ‘other side’ with the hope that one can simply be proven ‘right.’ But, how far has the quest for being ‘right’ contributed towards reconciliation and peace to date? And what effect is this having on the future generations of Cypriots?


Last week I argued that for us to invent peace as a possibility, Turkish Cypriots need to drift away from exceptionalism but towards responsibility by dealing with our interpretation of past events. In response, one reader argued that: “Turkish Cypriots suffered first,” “Turkish Cypriots suffered more” and that they the “Greeks” actually hate the Turks and Turkish Cypriots and therefore cannot find it within themselves to live with us or share power. Justifying collective punishment and claiming the Greek Cypriots secretly harbour centuries of enmity towards the Turkish Cypriots and have discriminated against Turkish Cypriots, the reader went back in history some 500 years to try to prove his point. Referring to ‘them’ as one as if all Greek Cypriots are carbon copies of each other, as if they think identically and act identically, he was actually discriminating against those from whom he claimed to be the victim of discrimination.

In a bout of finger-pointing, the reader launched into a historical lecture, chronologically and meticulously describing events in Cyprus up to 1974, with the Greek Cypriots as instigators of every event. I must admit I admire his historical knowledge. The reader spoke of “Greek Cypriot aggression,” “non-wavering demands for enosis” and then reminded me: “don’t forget they voted against the Annan Plan.” Convinced that he knew these people so well that he even expressed surprise that I had not noticed it before, taking the time to call me a traitor and recommending that I change my name to a Greek name.

While I respect anybody who reads history, what is important is not to use history to pin blame in an unsolved ethnic conflict, experience has shown no community responds to being accused, in fact it has the opposite effect. Instead one should strive through history to understand all parties in a conflict to invent the possibility of peace. As for the charge of enmity, I confess I have not noticed this hate from Greek Cypriots before – the Greek Cypriots I know have the exact hot-blooded, hospitable, and kind qualities as Turkish Cypriots, they are a mirror of us. But what troubles me more is the philosophy behind the reader’s generalization, which preaches that: “we hate the Greeks, you are pro-Greek, therefore you must be Greek and because Greeks are our enemies we hate you.” The reality is, I am not pro-Greek or pro-Turkish and it is these very people who complain about Greek Cypriot discrimination against them who are themselves discriminating against Greek Cypriots. Similarly, the same philosophy exists among certain Greek Cypriots.

The tone of argument, which this reader presented, is far from alien to me. I have heard it time and time again in both communities, sometimes expressed politely, other times not so politely. Personally I find it really quite sad and demoralizing. I genuinely feel for these unfortunate people who have convinced themselves that 640,000 Greek Cypriots are out to get them. I feel truly sorry for those whose daily existence is so consumed with hate and anger that they feel they cannot break from their interpretation of the past, forever convincing themselves with the same interpretation.


By assigning each community to the role of sole victim and seeking a five minute pity from the entire world, one will not achieve any steps towards rapprochement, a prerequisite to peace. A brief five-minute pity from Bolivia, Czech Republic or Malaysia will make little impact to their lives. Besides, who can say that a woman who loses her son who happens to be a Greek Cypriot suffered less than a Turkish Cypriot woman who lost her son? Can we not just accept that we as Cypriots have all suffered from the past conflict?

Self-victimisation is a terrible way to live; it is hardly inspiring and from what I can see it will only lead to feelings of helplessness and self-pity. Is it really healthy to raise one’s children, constantly reminding them that as Greek or Turkish Cypriots they are victims and preparing them to hate the ‘enemy’ who made them a victim? Who wants to live the life of a victim to their dying day?


Always presenting a one-sided historical lecture, there are those in both Greek and Turkish Cypriot communities who seek to prove the ‘other’ side wrong as if such an action would change anything. Rather than encourage reconciliation, their mission is to convince young Cypriot people into believing that Greek and Turkish Cypriots cannot live together, by selectively recounting history and accordingly distributing their compassion to their fellow man based on their ethnicity. So consumed with their own past suffering that they cannot imagine the experience of the ‘other,’ nor do they care to. Hearing what they want to hear, reading what they want to read and speaking to who agrees with them, they believe they are right until their dying day.

But supposing they are right. Supposing Greek Cypriots did inflict greater suffering and pain on us Turkish Cypriots. What good will come out of being right? Will it ease the pain families still suffer from the effects of war? Will it being justice? Will it change anything in the status quo and bring us closer to grasping peace?

My own view is that the concept of right and wrong has little to do with the dimensions of the Cyprus problem. Regardless of who is right and who is wrong, the human pain of those who suffered from 1974 and before will always be there. A mother who lost her son will always remember her son to her dying day; nothing will ever alter her feelings for her son. Being proven ‘right’ will not influences the status quo, as a solution requires a political settlement, which involves negotiation and agreement between all parties. Legal justice too can only be achieved through the appropriate law courts, so even if you convince 180 countries in the world that you are right, ultimately you have to make your peace with those with whom you share your island home.


To achieve peace is to take responsibility for own your past and to deal with your own omens before expecting the same from those with whom you seek peace. Until we can do this, there is little hope for peace in Cyprus. The trend in proving to be right or wrong amounts to wasted energy, as the bottom line is nobody cares if we Greek or Turkish Cypriots are right or wrong. There is no judge or jury to convince and neither Greek nor Turkish Cypriots will stop and realize: “Hold on! You’re right and I’ve been wrong all this time.” This is just wishful thinking of a ‘some day’ that will never come.

Failing to acknowledge that you need to be responsible to find peace, the effortless never-ending blame game that is used to justify any attempt to prevent meaningful dialogue between Greek and Turkish Cypriots will only fuel and prolong the current cycle of hate that persists among both communities. As usual those who will suffer from this are the future generations of Cypriots.

August 03, 2007


Proof positive - kindly supplied by Makis Makis

It can now be revealed - beyond the shadow of any doubt - that the Ethnarch lives on. Rejoice one, rejoice all.

[addendum] Stravaraland's newly appointed Ministry of Culture and Agnostic Affairs has kindly provided the day's accompanying anthem, available here.

More documentary evidence regarding the well-being of Ethnarch 1.0 is also available here. Our thanks to Constanitinos for supplying the link

[music addendum 2]

August 01, 2007

Perdikis Liberates Cyprus

Dear Doktor Pertik,

My staff has just alerted me to a statement you have made, to which I feel compelled to reply.

First of all, please allow me to express my admiration at the way you have so far handled the heatwave over there in Southern Cyprus. I would also like to express my support in your efforts to keep the horses cool. I have already received reports from the boys at our outpost in AyDemet, and it seems the horses are really suffering. Afferim, Pertik Efendi, for ignoring the elctricity issue, desalination and crappy recyclage programlar to concentrate on an issue that no one other politikman has the balls to deal with.

And speaking of testikles, let me get back to that statement you made. Be George, you win. I have had it with fucking politicians and their silly wives who insist on wearing bits of tablecloth on their heads. I have had it with Abdullah and his stupid presidential dreams. I am sick and tired of being misunderstood. Up till now I didn't really give a fart. But, now, my dear little patriotic partridgeman, I have seen your dynamic plea and it has changed my outlook on life, alcohol and even civilians who wear Panerai watches.

Your bravery and clear focus have helped me in making my decision to withdraw all of my soldierboys and their bang bang toys from your island.

Fuck it and good luck with the horses,


Turkish Armed Forces

Intensely Isolated

OK, let's treat them all like idiots and see what happens - episode 112

ChrisPash: "it's just an isolated incident. People should stop talking of a heatstroke epidemic in the National Guard."

Yes, the details are in...what was omitted. The isolated incident, in this case is an 18 year old recruit who almost died and needs to be held at the hospital's Intensive Care Unit for at least another 3 days. He is currently on a respirator. Yep, the kid's just an incident. Meanwhile a whole bunch of other recruits are suffering from heat stroke, fatigue and dehydration.

Now, please follow carefully: An isolated incident is a single, individual occurrence. The 18 year-old in the ICU, therefore, qualifies. This makes Chris Pash a truthful and righteous man. The others who suffer from dizzy spells and muscular malfunctions are many. They are, therefore not an isolated incident but a freak occurrence of a group of kids who are naive enough to jump off a cliff just because they were told to do so. They are, however, not organised, unionised or in any way galvanised. God Willing, they'll come out of this ordeal, stronger (as in whatever doesn't kill you...), more obedient (within boudaries of reason, of course) and proud to be alive so as to one day have the potential honour of getting killed.

It could be worse; they could still have had access to gyro and souvlaki.