MID-AUGUST is the time of year when the writer of a weekly column – some people told me the other day I am a blogger as well which I found quite cool and hip – cannot find things to write about.
With most of our loser politicians on holiday, the government taking a break from mismanaging the country, interest groups finding nobody to bother, the weekly blogger is forced to scrape the bottom of the barrel, metaphorically and literally, for material that won’t put his readers to sleep after three paragraphs.
To compound matters, in the last six days, Prez Nik has refrained from giving us another account about the collapse at Crans-Montana, for which, lest we forget, Turkish intransigence was 100 per cent to blame. His latest account, his 15th, was given in an interview carried in Politis last Sunday, but I will resist the sadistic urge to bore readers with the constantly changing details.
All I will say is that each new account tries to correct some contradiction or logical inconsistency of his earlier accounts and make his version of events less prone to questioning and bit more convincing. It has been a work in progress.
I suspect what he said in last Sunday’s interview was the final, perfected version of events that will require no more amendments. By now, even his biggest doubters will be convinced that Turkish intransigence was not just 100 but 200 per cent to blame for the collapse.
NEXT STOP for the Cyprob show will be the Big Apple for the annual September pilgrimage for all our presidents to spend a minimum of 10 days at the Waldorf Astoria in order to address the UN General Assembly and inform uninterested perm reps, those who bother to show up, on the latest phase of our problem.
Nik will have his work cut out this year as it is at a zero phase, but he could tell the world that this was because of the intransigence Turkey displayed in Switzerland. He will also be able to have contacts with the Cypriot expats and discuss how they could use their influence in Washington to win the support of the Trump administration for a just and viable settlement.
Having seen off the danger of a settlement, because of Turkey’s intransigence, Nik should have a worry-free, enjoyable stay in New York, his only concern being how tough he will be on Turkey in his speech to the General Assembly. By accident or design, the Cyprob is back in the golden era of Spy Kyp, when it was used, exclusively, to advertise the tough, uncompromising patriotism of the president.
The only difference now is that Nik can no longer promise that all refugees will return to their homes, as the late great Spy loved to do, without provoking roars of laughter.
YOU CAN always rely on presidential candidate Junior to try to stir things up, even though if he were consistent he would be applauding Nik for what he so skillfully failed to achieve in Crans-Montana.
But with elections approaching he knows that he must differentiate himself from the born-again rejectionist Prez, so he focused on Nik’s “failure to manage the post-Crans-Montana period and the blaming of the collapse on the Greek Cypriot side”. He also slammed Nik’s “untrustworthiness to the Greek Cypriot people and to the international community.”
It just makes you wonder. Is Junior actually annoyed because Nik fooled all those Greek Cypriots who believed that he was sincerely interested in reaching a deal? As for his untrustworthiness within the international community, Junior should be proud: Nik was only emulating Tassos.
Goody-two-shoes spokesman Nikos Christodoulides stepped in to silence Junior by asking: “We wonder what actions has Mr Papadopoulos taken, on a regional, European and international level, in order to show up Turkey’s intransigence, as this was expressed in Crans-Montana?”
This raises another question: What actions has Prez Nik taken? On returning from Switzerland he said he would write to state leaders informing them of what happened at the conference. For lawyers writing letters is the answer to every problem but does this qualify as action? And how many of the state leaders he wrote to replied? We should be told if only to establish how effective the ‘action’ of writing letters is.
THE INBETWEENERS found another reason to attack the government last week, criticising it for allowing 48 buses with Turkish Cypriots to cross the Limnitis-Kato Pyrgos checkpoint in order to go to the Kokkina enclave and mark the anniversary of the bombing of Greek Cypriot villages by the Turkish air force that took place in August 1964.
Inbetweeners were outraged that the government was facilitating the Turkish Cypriot celebrations, which were in very poor taste considering 56 Greek Cypriots, of whom more than half were civilians, were killed in the bombings. The fact that the bombings took place in retaliation to attacks by Greek Cypriot troops on Turkish Cypriot villages was not mentioned by the self-righteous inbetweeners.
Our new national hero, Greece’s foreign minister Nicos Kotzias, also joined the inbetweeners’ party ordering his minions to issue a statement about the anniversary of the Tylliria bombings, something the ministry has never done before. Kotzias could not let down his big fan club in Kyproulla.
THE STATEMENT accused the Turks of using chemical weapons in Cyprus in 1964 and added: “This was the first use of banned chemical weapons in the history of our planet,” said Kotzias’ ministry. Factual accuracy is way down on the list of priorities of Stalinist academics pandering to their fans.
Not even our government ever claimed the Turks used chemical weapons when bombing Tylliria. The UN Secretary-General’s report about the aerial bombing said rockets, bombs and incendiaries were used, but made no mention of chemical weapons, so where had Kotzias found his information?
RUTHLESSNESS is a necessary quality for anyone who claims to be a national saviour. You cannot save a country from extermination by being nice and forgiving to people who undermine the struggle for liberation.
It is in this context that we should view the decision by Dr Eleni Theocharous – reported by Politis but not confirmed by the doctor – to sack her parliamentary assistant, Dr Yiannos Charalambides, who also moonlights as the authoritative, resident conspiracy theorist of Simerini newspaper and Sigma TV.
According to Politis, Dr Theocharous flipped her lid when she heard Dr Charalambides telling a radio show that the inbetweeners should not engage in cheap criticism of Prez Nik after the event of Crans-Montana, without making their own proposals. The inbetweeners were obliged, if they dared, to propose substantive solutions, he said, angering Dr Eleni who reportedly told Dr Yiannos that he could not publicly criticise his employer.
She may yet forgive him for appearing more hard-line than her, as Dr Yiannos has been working in Brussels as a parliamentary assistant since 2004, originally providing his services to another bash-patriotic MEP, Yiannakis Matsis.
ANOTHER row is brewing between Akel and our friend the Rector the University of Cyprus, Constantino Christofides, after the latter announced that it would be accepting applications from students who sat international exams such as GCEs and IB.
The university’s Senate voted unanimously in favour of this move, amending its regulations, having taken into account the advice of the attorney-general and having informed the education ministry. Christofides said the university had the right to make decisions on academic affairs autonomously and that all youths should have the right to gain admission to public universities.
Akel deputy Giorgos Georgiou, saw a conspiracy by the rector. “His concerns are not all the children of private schools, but he is addressing a few, through suspicious, non-objective procedures, in order to strengthen the myth of excellence.” Spoken like a true communist, for whom “excellence” is a dirty word. Must all kids from private schools be accepted at the university for the sake of equality?
SPEAKING of Akel, the party martyr – Venizelos Zannetos who got three-and-a-half year for extortion – left prison on a presidential pardon on Thursday but made it very clear that he had never asked for a pardon from anyone. He was due for release next month anyway.
Zannetos, whom Akel had declared a political prisoner and turned into a Mandela-type martyr because he was allegedly the victim of a “politically-motivated conspiracy” and “fake testimony”, said he would reveal all at a time of his choosing so that people could “learn the whole truth”. Would the whole truth include revelations about the Akelite official who was involved in the Dromolaxia affair up to his neck but avoided being charged?
FOR THOSE still reading, here is an example of scraping the bottom of the barrel. Searching for ideas right at the very, very bottom, I found a great quote from Diko deputy Angelos Votsis, made a couple of months ago. I had made a note of it but never used it.
During a discussion about the opening of the casino at the House, Votsis highlighted the patriotic role it could play. After the holidays, he said, the House committee would examine the joint promotion of the casino as a means of stopping the flow of tourists to the occupied area.
“I hope with the facilities that will be created, we will be able to attract the tourists to the Cyprus Republic so we do not have the funding of the occupied areas,” he said. Amen to that.
Follow Patroclos on Twitter @Coffeeshop1991