THE MARKING of the 40th anniversary of the death of Archbishop Makarios, on Thursday, turned out to be a non-event, apart from a few routine statements about his greatness, astuteness and legacy by some political parties that still think there is political capital to be made by worshipping him.
This could be attributed to the government ignoring the anniversary, as Prez Nik, to his credit, was never a big fan of Mak. He did not bother going to the memorial service held last Sunday at Kykkos monastery, sending his foreign minister to give a eulogy about the late leader.
His rival presidential candidates – assuming he decides to seek re-election – were all there to pay their respects in the hope this might win them a few dozen extra votes from people that still think Mak matters. Gone are the days, however, when the late great Spy Kyp tried to gain an electoral advantage by claiming Mak visited him in his dreams and told him how to handle the Cyprob.
The loony slogan ‘Makarios lives’, which was being repeated and painted on walls 20 years after his death is now only used as a joke. Society has moved on since the days of Mak-worship. Even Phil, his most devout follower and zealous supporter, has given up no keeping the legend alive, burying the report about the memorial service on an inside page.
Only the former House president, Yiannakis Omirou, the main speaker at the memorial service, seems intent on keeping the Mak franchise going, which is quite heroic considering there is zero demand and it is no longer marketable.
EDEK, the party Omirou was the leader of until a couple of years ago, did its best to revive the legend in a statement telling us: “Forty years after the death of Ethnarch Makarios, his memory arouses surges of emotion and pride, proving that he carries on living in the hearts and in the conscience of our people.”
Had the party carried out a survey to arrive at this conclusion? No, but it insisted “his biological and political absence is missed (sic) like always.” This is not a bad translation, the writer, actually said his absence is missed, his surges of emotion and pride playing games with his mind.
The good news, however, was that “his leadership countenance and legacy with his timeless and always current messages remains alive and untainted by time.” No prizes for guessing that his timeless and always, current messages were his “invitation to the long struggle the conclusion of which will be the termination of the occupation.”
The long struggle is set to get much longer than he envisaged.
WHAT IS Mak’s true legacy other than the delusions of grandeur about our midget country and the insane belief that Kyproulla could play politics with the big boys because our politicians are so smart? His legacy is alive because we are still suffering from these delusions, Prez Nik upholding it with his tripartite strategic alliances.
There are still articles in the press talking about exploiting our geo-strategic importance to enter strategic alliances with other states and so forth. Mak was so successful playing these power games that, after 14 years of his dictatorial rule we lost one third of our territory to Turkey. And despite following his wise advice for a long struggle, 43 years later we have not managed to recover a square inch of it.
The guy, to use Jose Mourinho’s phrase, was a “specialist in failure,” having never achieved any of his objectives, but the disasters he caused the country are still regarded today as a mark of his greatness.
OUR DELUSIONS of grandeur were illustrated in an interview given to Alithia newspaper by Disy’s ultra-patriotic, deputy Eleni Stavrou, who is also a member of Nik’s Strategic Council and said that the recent visit of France’s defence minister “is an event of huge political significance.”
Speaking about the presence of Total’s drilling platform, West Capella in our EEZ, Ms Stavrou assured us that the US and France had amassed huge forces in the eastern Mediterranean to protect the drilling operations from a Turkish attack. She said:
“For sure our country will gain serious advantages, not only economic but mainly political and strategic, if Total discovers big energy deposits. This was what Turkey tried to pre-empt at the talks with the help of the British.
“Total’s drilling platform is protected at this time, by two French frigates and aircraft, by the American aircraft carrier G.W. Bush and the countless vessels accompanying it. All these super-modern war ‘monsters’ have the capability to avert, with lightning speed, any Turkish attempt against West Capella by jet fighters, missiles, surface vessels and submarines.
“Very clearly, America and France are showing the fist of their military power to the Turk and … telling him they are obliged to defend their interests that now coincide with the interests of the Cyprus Republic.”
Her conclusion would have had the full approval of Mak. “The Cyprus Republic even with the ‘occupation’, is the geostrategic lord of the eastern Mediterranean, but because of its territorial size, it is protected by its allies who have common interests.”
A few days before the interview was published it was reported that US warship was taking part in naval exercises with the Turkish navy. It was not GW Bush because it was busy protecting Kyproulla’s energy interests.
READING Phil’s front-page banner headline on Friday, I had thought that a couple of fighter jets had taken off from the G.W. Bush to bomb a Turkish frigate harassing the West Capella. It said “Loud slap for Ankara,” but it was referring to a metaphorical slap, which after reading the story was not so loud after all.
Washington “froze any thought and attempt by Ankara to involve the US in the dirty game it is playing in the Cypriot EEZ,” reported the paper’s US correspondent, although he did not mention the aircraft carrier that was protecting us. The State Department spokesman in Washington said that “we recognise the right of the Cyprus Republic to develop its resources in its EEZ.”
Then he administered the loud slap that was so loud it was heard in Ankara. “We continue to believe that the resources of oil and natural gas of the island, must be shared equally within the framework of an overall settlement.”
THE TRIALS and tribulations of Espen Barth Eide in Kyproulla continued even after the announcement that the Norwegian was leaving. On Monday Phil carried a short item reporting that Eide had a secret meeting with a party leader, implying that this was something suspicious and sinister.
It was acceptable for Eide to meet a party leader, who was not named, in an office, restaurants or cafeterias without announcing it, the writer decreed but not in a “Nicosia apartment, taking precautions not to be noticed.” And “if this is not strange, the party leader should come out and say so,” commanded the conspiratorial writer.
The sanctimonious writer did not take the trouble to explain to us naïve folk why a secret meeting in an apartment was “strange” in a free country. If it had taken place in an underground car park at 4am, with armed guards at its entrance it would have been strange but in a block of flats to which people have free access why was it suspicious? The party leader did not meet a crime boss or a drug baron. Eide is just a liar and lobbyist for Turkey.
The writer also failed to tell us was what precautions were taken by Eide not to be noticed going to the meeting? Did he wear a false beard and shades or did he put on a wig and a dress?
THIS PATHETIC story had a follow-up at Tuesday’s national council meeting, when our born-again rejectionist Prez, during a row he was having with Akel chief Andros Kyprianou, had a dig at him for having a secret meeting with Eide. Andros responded by alleging he was being watched by our secret service Kyp, on Nik’s instructions.
This became a big story, with the Kyp chief Kyriacos Kouros meeting Andros to assure him that he was not being watched and that it was probably some idiot living in the apartment block that told Phil’s conspiracy-buster hack about the allegedly secret meeting. If anyone was being followed by our super-agents, it the lobbyist for Turkey, but nobody dared mentioned this, for fear he would get the wrong impression about us.
THE LYING Norwegian took mild revenge on Prez Nik during his farewell reception at the Ledra Palace Hotel on Thursday night. Many wondered why Nik attended after the all abuse he had heaped on Eide, but he is obviously a forgiving sort of guy. The inbetweener leaders are an unforgiving bunch though and they all boycotted the reception.
Andros was the only party leader present; Averof would have been there but he was away. Eide’s revenge did not involve saying anything horrible about Nik or serving him the wrong brand of Scotch. He made an over-long speech that lasted a good half hour and had Nik restlessly standing in front of him waiting for it to finish. Diplomatic etiquette dictated that he stood there, next to his former buddy Mustafa, and listened. He could not even get a drink.
This was a very subtle punishment for Nik, who was not invited to say a few words in response, despite having prepared a short speech. A pity, because it would have been a nice gesture for him to have the opportunity to publicly forgive Eide for being a lying, Turk-loving mediator.
WITH EIDE out of the picture, UN Special Representative Elizabeth Spehar could become the new target of our patriotic brigade. She was served notice a few days ago when something she supposedly told a peacenik group was leaked to the press. There was an official denial claiming her views had been distorted, before the patriotic lynch-mob could go on the offensive. In this respect, she was lucky, but she has been warned.
JUNIOR, meanwhile, continues to bore us with his calls for a new strategy and tactics that will bring Mak’s long struggle to a premature conclusion. Junior also expressed deep concern because the “Cyprob is at its worst phase of the last years.” I would really like to know what he considers a good phase of the Cyprob.
Surely, we are at the best phase ever, with the threat of a solution having completely disappeared and Turkish intransigence 100 per cent to blame for the collapse of the talks that nobody will pressure us to resume. What else does he want?
He explained his concerns on CyBC, saying “we are out of a negotiating process, with the Cyprus problem not having been solved and Turkey being rewarded.” What was needed, said Junior, “is to follow a new strategy that would be based on the premise that Turkey does not desire a solution.” I think an agreement could be on the cards if Junior is elected, as he does not desire a solution either.
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