By Loucas Charalambous
IN AN EARLIER piece, I referred to President Anastasiades’ big weakness – his obsession with how he is perceived. Instead of dealing with the substance of an issue his primary concern is the impression he will make.
He is more interested in getting a positive reaction from Marios Garoyian and Giorgos Perdikis than doing the right thing regardless. Between the right thing and the right impression he always chooses the second. He knows what needs to be done but will not dare pursue it if he believes it will not be to the liking of some.
He went against these instincts once, in 2004, and has regretted it. He is aware though that a politician cannot satisfy everyone at the same time. He knows it is risky to have one foot on one boat and the other on a second. Yet there he is trying to step on four boats at the same time. The outcome is easy to predict. In his attempt to keep everyone happy, he will fall into the sea, fail at everything and be attacked by all.
Last Sunday the president attended the ‘march’ for the return of Morphou. He had decided to ingratiate himself with Morphou campaigners such as mayor Charalambos Pittas and DIKO MEP Antigoni Papadopoulou and resorted to sloganeering. He took issue with the Greek Cypriots who had gone to the Immovable Property Commission seeking compensation for their properties in the north.
“They need to be aware that, without meaning to or because of necessity, they create negative conditions either for liberation and reunification or for the negotiating power that we should have at the negotiating table,” he said.
We have been accustomed to hearing this nonsense from Omirou, Lillikas, Garoyian, Papadopoulos and the rest of the demagogues. They should not be uttered by Anastasiades. The last thing our politicians are entitled to do is to brand as some kind of traitors, the Greek Cypriots who, seeing that partition is the official choice and permanent solution, rush – quite rightly – to sell their properties in their north in order to secure some money.
Those responsible for what is happening are our politicians. They are guilty of leading us to this situation. They led things to permanent partition, stubbornly kept the problem unsolved for almost 40 years. In reality, they have forced Greek Cypriots to sell their properties in the north.
And at least for Anastasiades, having on his record the courageous effort he made in 2004 to stop the slide towards partition, it is a pity he should resort to idiotic sloganeering. About what “liberation” and what “weakening of our negotiating power” is the president talking about? This is the nonsense we hear our political scoundrels uttering.
It should not be repeated by Anastasiades. Neither should he be telling us that new talks will not start before the basis of the settlement and the procedure is agreed. After 40 years are we really still looking for the “basis” and the “procedure”?
These gimmicks were the domain of Kyprianou, Papadopoulos and Christofias who ensured the Cyprus problem was solved by itself. This was how we arrived at partition and is the reason that properties are now being sold in the north.
The astute political observation by Glafcos Clerides in 1974, just two months after the Turkish invasion has been vindicated. “The fruitless passing of time will impose the fait accompli of the invasion and lead us to permanent partition,” he said.
Today, 40 years on, partition is the tangible reality. Everything is over. The fruitless passing of time solved the problem. Our politicians should give up their slogans and demagoguery, Anastasiades especially. Until recently he was the leader of DISY – the very party Clerides set up in 1976 to fight against sloganeering and demagoguery.