September 28, 2007

Sign of Times to Come

What happens when Cybarco team up with Iacovou Brothers? Pandemonium, that's what bloody happens. Well, that's what's been happening in the Ayios Andreas neighbourhood in Nicosia, at any rate. It started in June when signs were put up on barriers announcing the closure of a number of roads. It was over a week later that the roadworks actually got underway.

The place looks like a goddamn minefield. A set from a Sci-Fi B movie. It's bad enough that the neighbourhood has, over the years, almost been taken over by nouveau riche farts and their families, dogs and rent-a-slaves (at least that seems to be the attitude towards migrant workers exhibited by most employers), now we have third world co-ordination tactics driving the residents insane.

According to a cute little photo caption in a recent edition of the Cyprus Weekly, the chubby mayorette of Nicosia, Dame Edna's shorter cousin, was going to alleviate the local suffering. But she has yet come to the rescue of the last bastion of Nicosia; bear in mind that beyond the limits of the chi chi quartier is Ayios Dometios, where people are either watching TV on their balconies or chasing stray cats to sell to the local souvlitzis.

I feel the somewhat eerie sign at the Intersection of Iroon (no, it's not supposed to rhyme with loon) is a harbinger of harder times to come. It may well transpire that the whole roadworks ruse will end up with the area being fenced off and the residents put to hard labour to fix the fucking mess.

I'm switching to decaf.

[addendum] Maybe the connection seemed a bit obscure, but:
Iacovou is the name of the Cyprus High Commissioner to the Court of St. James in London.
Iacovou are one of the contractors that are tearing up the streets of Ayios Andreas. They were also responsible for similar mayhem caused in Ayios Dometios.
There is a very big difference between a prison (as in Central Prisons, in Ayios Andreas) and the term emblazoned on the sign, pictured above.

September 23, 2007

George, Lara and the Seven Saints

Someone is Yeroskipou ought to be very happy indeed. They certainly deserve the kudos.

September 21, 2007

Plaka stin Strakka tze tzittemerou

This passed on to me from the election circus...em... circuit I mean.

As usual, I claim no responsibility, authorship or ownership of this computer commands whether they appear on:

Macs, PCs, ipods, mobiles, cells, GPS, XR3 LFE stickers, Morris Minor bumperstickers, Triumph laspotires stamps, Blackberries and Crackberries, Loukoumades and Siamisi establishment napkins, straight croissant wrappers, Elementary school History books, graffiti near the Loutra tis Emerkes, flags at soccer games, scarfs donned by chrolophylls on either side of the Green Line, cliff notes in front of the ever young government spokesman (or is he now the campaign manager for his boss?..wait I thought he represents the government and not a candidate...confusio a la marinara di calamari), latex or poly condom wrappers (regular, extended pleasure, for her satisfaction, ribbed or magnums), in non-Greek newspapers read by Greek-speaking bananiots (wait how could this happen your holiness?...ah it must be the damned raprochment thingy again where the words deceivingly appear to be in Greek letters but if you look close enough you can see the Turkish alphabet fos-fanari without the speed cameras)...

even though I could benefit from a few olive oil bottles (the ones exported to the Union Jack from the aforementioned estate and sold at fine establishments for a hefty euro price)


1. Create a new file folder on your computer.
2. Name it "Tasssssssssssos Papadopoulos".
3. Drag it to the recycle bin.
4. Empty the recycle bin.
5. Your PC will ask you, 'Do you really want to get rid of
"Tasssssssssssos Papadopoulos"?
6. Firmly Click 'Yes.'
7. Feel better instantly.

Next week, we'll do Giorgos Lillikas

By the by...poios politikos/politikantis exei ta guts (and gonads for that matter)to say loud and clear (hanging from antennas or hiding in throumpi-bushes) what the Bananiots on the Southern part want (tzinoi potzi tze emeis poda)...

Hint: He is not hiding in mpaoula anymore...

Winner gets a ride in his Kaskavel to enter Varoshia...

Spurs-Ano 6-1

OK, it was a bit of a nightmare game. Wrong team to play against at a very wrong time...

Timur lost the plot in strategy but also in his players' confidence to actually put a good run on the field. Ano was too slow to defend, the tactics were changing so fast they left us confused. Was it man-to-man marking on Keane in the second half? Who was the defender on the left, was Fabinio supposed to cover in defense and he ignored Timour or Timour was playing without someone covering Lennon?! All too confusing to me how much space all the Spurs players had (and every corner was somehow like half a penalty, they scored from 2 corners and should have had another 2 from them as well). Lennon and Bent were all over the field with a nominal speed of light and noone was near them at any point in time (and when they were it did not really matter).

Conceding 3 silly goals in 3 silly minutes right before the first half was devastating (OK, I thought Bent will not get to the end of that too from the stand, but that is not a good assumption for the Ano defender to make on the field!). At the time we were all trying to figure out what had happened when a Turkish flag appeared and created such a commotion that the stewards had to hastily take it out of the hands of the agent-provocateur. By the time we figured out what had happened, Keane had scored the third one and Bent the fourth one. Ironically, the three nightmare minutes occured right after the vocal and sizeable (at 2000) Ano crowd was chanting "Arsenal". I guess that is what one would call CRIME AND PUNISHMENT.

September 14, 2007

Lame Name and Shame

The consumers of Stravaraland have every right to breathe a sigh of relief. People being ripped off by everyone from the neighbourhood souvlaki shop to the biggest supermarket as the introduction of the euro draws closer, now have a knight in shining armour.

CyBC yesterday decide to come to our rescue in a brilliant little 'name and shame' piece.
"A litre of brand X milk cost so much in supermarket X. The same brand of milk, however was selling at a higher price in supermarket Y in Limassol and even higher at supermarket Z in Paphos"

The Presidential TV correspondent than gave us more examples, which included meat.

I think the next step of this brave Name and Shame campaign ought to take the form of a quiz show where people not only have to guess which supermarkets are the ones referred to as X, Y, or Z, but should also substitute the mentions of, say, milk.

The question posed to the contestants, therefore could go something like:
"Which commodity, named as X, is sold at which supermarket we call Y and in which town we referred to as Z?"
The winner could get to borrow Emilia Kenevezou's underwear for a week.

Dark Tourism?

The opening sentence of a travel piece in the Times:
Picking up a tourist map in southern Cyprus one could be forgiven for thinking that the Isle of Aphrodite lies in the realm of a contemporary Middle Earth. Substitute "Here be Dragons" for "Inaccessible due to Turkish Occupation" and the myth would be complete.

Does supporting a loose federation imply voting for the incumbent?

In a previous post I argued (a bit vaguely, but will make it more detailed in the future) that a loose federation is a viable solution that can win a separate majority on both sides of the island. It is actually, in my view, the only possible road to avoid complete and irreversible partition, uncontrolled population inflows, an irreversible division of the two communities along an Iron-Curtain border, and a continuous military buildup with all the risks (and waste) this entails. One may agree or disagree with the above assessment, my view is that under current circumstances and recent events, a loose federation is the only way out of the psychological fear, the diplomatic distrust and the enmity that has been allowed to develop over the years and in the last three years in particular.

The question is: if the majority of G/C think like that, should they vote for TeePee? He seems to be potentially closer to the above “ideal” of a loose federation. His supporters, a cacophony of cheerleaders, ranging from commando fighter, “two-state” Matsakis, one-person-one-vote neo-democrat Sillouris, no-comment-no-problem DIKO president Karoyian, solution-lies-in-legal-EU-treaties Angelides, crypto-YES-anti-Anastasiades EDEK pseudo-president Omirou, EDEK president-emeritus-and-at-large Lyssarides, and more generally many voters who live in fear of the Turkish army and just want to keep the situation as it is, erroneously thinking that this is the most stable situation, on the basis of the experience in the last 30 years. With such supporters, one might argue that a for very loose federation, one might be better off voting for the incumbent.

I want to argue that this is the wrong inference. I hope you are convinced that what unites the above group is either a mistaken world-view of the power of a legalistic approach to solve political problems (Angelides and maybe Lyssarides) or a complete denial that T/C actually exist and have political rights guaranteed in the Constitution since 1960 (Syllouris etc) or are simply driven by personal enmities (Omirou), or simply think that partition is not such a bad idea (Matsakis).

The current President simply accepts the support of these groups and tries to act as a “unifier” of diverse voices, competently arguing that “the official position remains the goal of a federal solution and I have never said anything to contradict that myself”. So the final call is up to the voter to decide whether the president means what he says given the diverse support he inspires or not. In particular, can a loose federation be acceptable to this diverse group, and the President himself?

I don’t think that a loose federation will ever by accepted by this group. A loose federation recognizes the right of one area to be governed by the T/C without interference from the G/C. One-man-one-vote Sillouris will not agree to that, and neither will human-rights EU legal activist Angelides. Two-state Matsakis would rather have his two states than a loose federation that maintains some possibility of tighter union in the future. Omirou will go against whatever Anastasiades supports, and Karoyian will not want to rock the boat and will therefore side with TeePee. Now will TeePee ever agree to the creation of a loose federation? I don’t know. What I do know, is that on one Wednesday in April 2004 he proclaimed:

I have received an internationally recognized state. I will not hand down a “Community” without an international voice

That proclamation is suggestive that a loose federation can never be achieved under the current incumbent. If the current incumbent thinks like that, I do not see how a federal state can be created under his watch. That is why, beginning to think towards a loose federation, still implies not voting for the incumbent.

September 13, 2007

reserve the plot the soonest

Imagine that you were interested in buying a plot of land in Stravaraland. Imagine, without anything close to reality, that you received the following from an estate agent:

Thank you for your email with the good news about the plot.
You have to act fast if you really want to have it as there is another client who is also very interested-he is from England too.
I spoke with the owner of the plot and he said that if you finally decide to buy it he would prefer to have some of the money under the table.Is this a problem for you?please let me know.This is purely for tax reasons.
As for your queries about the joint ownership etc.there are no complications at all.this will be explained in detail by the lawyer Mr P...
I am asking you to decide the soonest as it could be sold anytime.this is not a selling trick,I am being honest with you.
To reserve it we can accept a deposit over the phone-credit card off line booking.
The rest of the procedure will be in the hands of the lawyer who will contact you-preparation of the contracts,payment schedule etc.
I shall wait for your quick response.

Have a nice day.

Imagine also that Mr P... happens to be the same Mr P... mentioned at the infamous lying builder website.

Funny, if it were only true, ah?

September 12, 2007

Hiding Behind Fingers

The President discusses price hikes in cattle feed and flour.

[cross-posted on the presidential election blog]

September 11, 2007

Paris Wins

Thanks to the perseverance of someone who may have been fueled by a combination of zivania and magic mushrooms, The Stravaraland Presidential Hopefuls poll seems to give Paris Hilton a huge advantage over the rest of the proposed candidates. We salute our persistent reader and hope he or she has not developed a nasty case of carpal tunnel syndrome.

September 08, 2007

Belgium and The Lessons for Stravaraland

The following appeared in The Economist, Sep 6th 2007. It probably echoes the views of most Belgians. Now, if they, after 2 centuries of relative peacefulness feel like that, why would the Cypriots want to create a tight federation of the type enivisaged by the Annan Plan? (Yes Mr Palmas, the Annan plan was a bizonal, bicommunal federation...).

Time to call it a day.

Sep 6th, 2007
From The Economist print edition:
Sometimes it is right for a country to recognise that its job is done

A RECENT glance at the Low Countries revealed that, nearly three months after its latest general election, Belgium was still without a new government. It may have acquired one by now. But, if so, will anyone notice? And, if not, will anyone mind? Even the Belgians appear indifferent. And what they think of the government they may well think of the country. If Belgium did not already exist, would anyone nowadays take the trouble to invent it?

Such questions could be asked of many countries. Belgium's problem, if such it is, is that they are being asked by the inhabitants themselves. True, in opinion polls most Belgians say they want to keep the show on the road. But when they vote, as they did on June 10th, they do so along linguistic lines, the French-speaking Walloons in the south for French-speaking parties, the Dutch-speaking Flemings in the north for Dutch-speaking parties. The two groups do not get on—hence the inability to form a government. They lead parallel lives, largely in ignorance of each other. They do, however, think they know themselves: when a French-language television programme was interrupted last December with a spoof news flash announcing that the Flemish parliament had declared independence, the king had fled and Belgium had dissolved, it was widely believed.

No wonder. The prime minister designate thinks Belgians have nothing in common except “the king, the football team, some beers”, and he describes their country as an “accident of history”. In truth, it isn't. When it was created in 1831, it served more than one purpose. It relieved its people of various discriminatory practices imposed on them by their Dutch rulers. And it suited Britain and France to have a new, neutral state rather than a source of instability that might, so soon after the Napoleonic wars, set off more turbulence in Europe.

The upshot was neither an unmitigated success nor an unmitigated failure. Belgium industrialised fast; grabbed a large part of Africa and ruled it particularly rapaciously; was itself invaded and occupied by Germany, not once but twice; and then cleverly secured the headquarters of what is now the European Union. Along the way it produced Magritte, Simenon, Tintin, the saxophone and a lot of chocolate. Also frites. No doubt more good things can come out of the swathe of territory once occupied by a tribe known to the Romans as the Belgae. For that, though, they do not need Belgium: they can emerge just as readily from two or three new mini-states, or perhaps from an enlarged France and Netherlands.

Brussels can devote itself to becoming the bureaucratic capital of Europe. It no longer enjoys the heady atmosphere of liberty that swirled outside its opera house in 1830, intoxicating the demonstrators whose protests set the Belgians on the road to independence. The air today is more fetid. With freedom now taken for granted, the old animosities are ill suppressed. Rancour is ever-present and the country has become a freak of nature, a state in which power is so devolved that government is an abhorred vacuum. In short, Belgium has served its purpose. A praline divorce is in order.

Belgians need not feel too sad. Countries come and go. And perhaps a way can be found to keep the king, if he is still wanted. Since he has never had a country—he has always just been king of the Belgians—he will not miss Belgium. Maybe he can rule a new-old country called Gaul. But king of the Gauloises doesn't sound quite right, does it?

September 07, 2007

Take a F*** at a Rolling Donut

Who put the kids in charge? Quite simply the voting populace on both sides of what is gradually turning into a border. Is there no one out there who can grab TeePee and Mehmet by the ears and bang their heads together to the point of concussion?

How could an insincere meeting, devoid of any agenda, take three hours to complete, only to end in disagreement over what to call committees and whether one should judge a duck merely by the way it looks and walks.

The one who did not want to discuss matters further called the other dope 'intransigent', while the interlocutor who wanted to set a time frame regarding certain issues called the other fender-head 'insincere'.

It's time to start rolling donuts and tell both these assholes what to do.

September 05, 2007


Times are schizophrenic and double guessing rules the day. Everyone wants to know who is jumping from one pocket to another. And ideological nomads hear their master's voice fading into the distance as they move into new ideological tents.

And that's when the double guessing begins. Would Yiannakis Nicolaou at CyBC jump into the president's pocket or remain faithful to The Party, one was kept wondering until yesterday. Yiannakis was transformed from top bull to minced meat in a few deft strokes by the man one should never mess with: Nicos Katsourides of AKEL. I would not be surprised if Costas Themistocleous were busy at this very moment trying to obtain a copy of Tuesday's "Apo Mera se Mera" in order to watch it over and over again. I suggest he get in touch with Matrix Media,as I doubt Kareklas at the Presidential Broadcasting Corporation would extend him the courtesy. And no, I don't know whether one can get decent gazpacho in Nicosia.

I suspect Katsourides' de rigeur 'take no prisoners' attitude was further fueled by Yiannakis bedouin trek that led him into a warm presidential pocket. He was given as good as he gave (when he lost his cool with Themistocleous in a totally unjournalistic tantrum) just over a month ago on the same show.

But the way Katsourides demolished Yiannakis was almost cruel, with the first volley - a dirty look that made Yiannakis shut up - being as effective as a coup de grace.

When will local TV journalists learn to conduct themselves in a manner more befitting of a presenter and finally shed their second rate, coffee shop agit-prop ethos, I wonder.

[cross-posted at the elections blog.]

September 03, 2007

Tight or Loose Federation?

An interesting discussion has been going on in the Proedrikes blog. One of the interesting points that has come up is the following question: what political settlement would minimize nationalist tendencies on both sides of the island? If you prefer, what political system would maximize the chances of peaceful co-existence between T/C and G/C on the island?

Many of us, on both sides of the divide, whether having voted YES or NO in 2004, do think that a tight federation is just a recipe for disaster at this point in time (more so now that in 2004 given the post-2004 ambient atmosphere). Tight federations of the Anan type do require good faith and good faith between cousins who have learned to mostly hate each other over the last 40 (?) years probably will have the seeds of their own destruction. Afterall, can one find a successful tight federation between Christians and Muslims, between two different nationalities, between two nationalities that have been taught they were enemies as far back as 1453, at least? Does there exist a precedent of a successful federation between two peoples that have been killing each other, and the killers are free and alive, and sometimes accustomed to "hero" status?

A loose federation, on the other hand, (and like other G/C I hate to admit this, this coincides with the neo-Denktas way of thinking) may promote peaceful coexistence, just because it will essentially replicate two separate states with minimal interaction between the two nationalities AT THE GOVERNMENT LEVEL. Interaction will exist at the business and social level either for profit reasons or simply because Stravaralanders like to have a good laugh. What is more, with certain innovative ideas at the national politics level, peaceful coexistence might actually be in the interest of the politicians involved as well. I am thinking, for example, of the president and the co-president of the national government running on the same ticket and one being G/C and the other T/C, so that they will have little incentive to create trouble for each other (if they do, they will lose the next election, that is why these elections will have a different cycle from the state ones and be done every 2 years, with just one month pre-election time). You get my point, my point is innovation. But, at the same time, these two presidents are there to go to football games, receive foreign dignitaries and make speeches on the 8th of July (OK, 5th of September, if you feel strongly about this one too).

One claim is that the above state of affairs will emphasize even more the national differences and create even more hatred between the two communities. That is, a stronger central government system in a federation might work better in creating understanding between the two communities. A loose federation, by letting everyone on their own, will thus limit the chances of long-term peace. Between the two systems though, and with the current mentalities on both sides of the divide, I do think that a loose federation will actually let people realize at their own pace that what divides them is much smaller than the common problems that actually unite them. And by letting them on their own, a very loose federation might actually work much better and be much more agreeable on both sides of the divide.

Any strong views on this topic?

September 02, 2007

Vasia's Latest

Marketing Blazing Glory

I've been reticent to comment on the fires in Greece. But the latest trips by various politicians to the Embassy of the Hellenic Republic have been just a bit too much. Unfortunately, protocol (for some reason) dictates that the ambassador has to put up with these antics as well as the accompanying TV crews.

I find the images of politicians handing over envelopes and smiling into the cameras gathered at the embassy, as if they were handing over some competition prize - as part of amarketing campaign, to be a bit tasteless, to say the least.

And could someone please tell me who started this nonsense regarding the earthshaking innovation of firestrips? Who started spreading this rumour inferring tha Cypriot firefighhters are far more capable than their counterparts in Greece.

And could we please tone down the "we saved Greece" attitude?

Journalists, who insist on acting like children whenever they stumble upon a piece of information ought neither to be heard nor seen.

And one last question directed at the Bank of Cyprus: As you've been generous with your help to Greece and as you have pledged 8 firefihghting vehicles, would you please consider buying Stravaraland a firefighting 'plane. Because if we wait for either Photis or Sophocles to get on with it we'll never get one.

Below is an "eutube" contribution: