By Kyriacos Djambazis
YOU CAME, Espen Eide, to Buyuk Han and found us on our Saturday meetings. We welcomed you with open arms and you became one of us. We neither called ourselves Greek Cypriots nor Turkish Cypriots but simply Cypriots who loved our common motherland and, of course, we did not have the slightest hesitation to share with you the dream of a reunited Cyprus.
We accepted you as a brother because you suffered along with us over the division of our country and the pain of having to return after our meetings to the north or south.
We could see that you were struggling so that our leaders could get rid of the stereotypes that had been nurtured for decades and which became the norm in the Cypriot mind. You were saddened that you witnessed our leaders strive for the justification of the past, to coin clichés to fight their opponents instead of setting their minds on a plan for the future of the people of the Cyprus state.
We felt that you were anxious not to waste time as you leapt over many tall hurdles to try and take our leaders to the desired destination. However, it escaped your attention that our president was throwing stones over his shoulders –as Deucalion did in Greek mythology- to increase the number of his supporters who were eulogised by the Archbishop so that the he can safeguard their votes in the coming presidential elections.
You came near us, among people from all walks of life and among groups that desired rapprochement and renewal of their faith in the task that you set your heart on achieving. Some poured scorn on you for this attitude of yours but you kept assuring us on a daily basis that the Cypriots desire, and will fight for the reunification of their country. With your policy tactics you proved that you neither favoured the absorption of north Cyprus by Turkey nor the continuation of the status quo, nor the voting for commemorating the enosis movement as all these are in open discord with the intended solution
You stayed aloof from nationalistic fervour and red lines that are drawn by the local leadership with the political myopia that characterises their mentality.
You were not a ‘lobbyist’ or ‘an employee of the Turkish foreign ministry’ but an articulate politician that wanted to stick to the responsibilities that you undertook to Cyprus and to the international community. You disregarded the siren sounds from both sides about the glory of their ancestry and the fact that some were calling for your head on a daily basis.
I do not know what was said against you in that final dinner at Crans-Montana but I know what was said in public by Lilliputian politicians who suffer from the syndrome of imperial megalomania. It is certainly not flattering that they speak before they think.
Your departure from Cyprus will leave us in the hands of inept politicians who manage to alienate our country from the UN whose principles and resolutions we expect to be implemented.
In that sense, Cyprus is now deprived of a significant potential supporter of a solution. We have lost the last man that could save Cyprus. We understand when you said the citizens should take into their own hands the future of their country. We have told you many times in our meetings that our society (Greek and Turkish Cypriot) has not been educated to assume such initiatives.
For years we thought we had great statesmen that would lead us to the Promised Land. Unfortunately, they divided our country and separated the sheep from the goats and today we have ‘Northerners and Southerners’. Instead of drawing experiences from the example of the US, we are, 43 years later still in a state of “ceasefire” and we cannot erase the vision of defeating the enemy and an ‘emperor’ who governs for half a century on the basis of ‘emergency legislation’.
May I wish you my friend all the best and every success for your creative vision.