By Hermes Solomon
NATURALLY, we expect all political parties to stand behind the president in this final round of talks to reunify the island. How can anybody justify opposition to talks at this stage whatever their content? After all, will not citizens with voting rights, both Greek and Turkish Cypriot, have the final say in separate referenda?
During his reign at the Élysée Palace, President Charles de Gaulle’s manner of addressing French voters was with the patriotic sounding phrase ‘Francais, Francaises!’
President Anastassiades copied him last Wednesday evening by opening his news conference with ‘Ellines kai Ellinithes’ (Greek men and Greek women). Why did he not address us as Ellino Kypri (Greek Cypriots) since we have Cypriot passports, not Greek?
Was his auto-suggestion relying on our belief that we are Greeks and only Greeks? If so, did he play this card intentionally or was it a Freudian slip by his speech writer?
Does our president know something we ‘Greeks’ don’t? Could these talks eventually lead us to permanent partition and the Republic losing its autonomy and identity after another Oxi majority referendum vote, the south becoming a part of Greece and the north a part of Turkey?
Enosis at last many ‘Greek’ Cypriots will say, and we will have sacrificed reunification for Hellenism, finally ridding ourselves of what many in the south still regard as ‘an historic and perpetual enemy’.
After 54 years, the always troubled independent republic of Cyprus will no longer exist as a thorn in the side of all major powers – a bed of corruption, chaos and disorder, nepotism and cronyism, where politicians on both sides have feathered their own nests and those of their ‘clans’ at the expense of the ordinary man and a just Cyprob solution.
President Anastassiades said at the press conference that the joint declaration signed with the leader of the Turkish Cypriot community did not constitute a solution of the Cyprus problem, rebuffing political forces which have voiced opposition to the document and put forth their own interpretations of the text.
What constitutes a solution? He did not say and never will. Any solution is in the hands of those who ‘forced’ the two sides together on a seven point plan concocted by brains better than yours and mine, the same brains which failed to uphold or implement UN resolutions, respect human rights and punish those guilty of war crimes. Yes, you’ve got it – the UNSC, which cleverly worded the plan so that few lawyers will understand it, never mind we ordinary citizens. And guess what, Alexander Downer has melted away and Ban Ki-moon stated that the UN is now free of the Cyprus problem and could concentrate on more pressing problems. Pontius Pilate comes to mind…
Cyprus, both north and south, is undergoing the worst economic crisis in the island’s post-independence history. We are on our knees, critically vulnerable and finally, submissive. Permanent partition is being disguised in a complex and deceptive seven point plan to supposedly reunify the two sides, but in reality this plan will legalise what the Turkish Cypriots and Turkey already have.
Many compatriots have told me that they will refuse to vote in the referendum. But with AKEL now allied to DISY, abstentions will make no difference to the outcome.
What are the benefits to the ordinary man of this seven point plan? Will refugees be allowed to return to their homes on both sides? Can we afford to rebuild the ‘ghost town’ of Famagusta? Can we afford yet another layer of politicians and civil servants to run this ‘joint venture’? Will we still need passports or IDs to cross the border? Will the north join the eurozone or the south switch to the Turkish lira? How much gas in our southern seas does the north want? Will the north supply the south with water from Turkey, and of the south supply the north with electricity?
In other words, how long will any solution last before we start bitching over free movement of capital and goods, tourism and airports, harbours and marinas, land settlements and compensation?
Can you see the Turkish army quitting the north? Can you see the south running its gas pipeline (if ever we build one) through Turkey?
Until we have answers to some of the thousands of questions that kaleidoscope our minds in this whirlwind of ‘hurried’ negotiations, we are certain to ignore these talks like we did all previous talks. And if we do, matters will be taken out of our hands and partition will be de facto and legalised, the only difference to the present status quo being that the north will become a full member of the EU recognised worldwide.
Given the past 60 years of treachery inflicted on both sides by all powers concerned, permanent partition is perhaps the only wise (and desired by the majority) solution.