Cyprus Mail
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Our View: Rejectionist parties are too cowardly to be honest

THERE is nothing easier than occupying the moral high ground, doing nothing of practical value or consequence and disparaging those who do things. This is what our opposition parties consider as meaningful political activity. They find fault with every decision or action taken by the government, ranting and raving against it, like immature, know-it-all undergraduates, but never propose viable, practical alternatives, because that would expose the superficiality of the criticism and make them vulnerable.

Ever since we entered the assistance programme, the wise leaders of the opposition parties had been slamming the government’s austerity measures, because they did not lead to growth of the economy, vociferously demanding spending on development that would create jobs. This criticism, conveniently, ignored that the state was in an assistance programme because it was bankrupt and excluded from the markets.

Not one party suggested where the government would find the funds it did not have to spend on development projects. We heard none of them propose an additional 10 per cent cut on public sector wages to generate funds for development. For them it was enough to criticise the government’s alleged failure to take measures – which they themselves failed to propose – to tackle unemployment.

Displays of this embarrassing political immaturity are even more extreme with regard to the Cyprus problem which has always been a subject for limitless exploitation and considerable dishonesty by the small parties. For instance, they have all been shouting that the settlement the two sides are negotiating would lead to the dissolution of the Cyprus Republic. While this is correct, they fail to mention that without a new state entity there would never be a settlement because the Turkish side, rightly or wrongly, would not agree to it. But none have the honesty to openly say, “we want to preserve the Cyprus Republic even if the price is partition and Turkish occupation troops remaining on the island indefinitely.”

The same dishonesty is shown with regard to the bi-zonal, bi-communal aspect of a settlement. Anastasiades and Akinci would “utilise the principles of apartheid, with the only difference that discrimination would not be based on colour but on ethnicity,” said Giorgos Lillikas, sounding like a smart undergraduate with no experience of the real world. He was referring to the supposed guaranteed Turkish Cypriot majority in the north, which would be a violation of the human rights of Greek Cypriots living there as they would not be able to vote. Like his comrades, he is not honest enough to say that “I would prefer the island was partitioned and 40,000 Turkish troops remained in Cyprus indefinitely than any Cypriot give up the right to vote where he or she chooses to live.”

The dishonesty is also based on the false assumption that all Greek Cypriots would want to return to their homes that would be in the Turkish Cypriot-controlled area. Have Lillikas, Papadopoulos and Sizopoulos conducted a survey to find out how many Greek Cypriots would want to go and live in their villages in the Turkish Cypriot federal state? In the free areas, there has been an irreversible trend of people leaving their villages to live in towns, so why are our politicians assuming everyone will want to reside in their villages in the north?

The majority of the refugees of 1974 were from villages, but many of them have passed away  while the rest are unlikely to want to go back. Their children might want to visit their parents’ homes, but will not uproot themselves and leave behind their comfortable living in a town, because of the political brainwashing about the “right to return”. We suspect the majority would be more than happy to be compensated for their family property rather than move back to it and live under Turkish Cypriot administration.

The overwhelming majority of people living in the north would be Turkish Cypriots, because Greek Cypriots will not leave their homes and not because of any restrictions included in a settlement agreement. The concerns of the super-patriotic champions of human rights are entirely theoretical, but it is an indication of the dishonest lengths they are willing to go to prevent a settlement. It sounds much more principled and idealistic to claim opposition to a settlement because of alleged violations of human rights than to admit support for partition. Openly backing partition would be the honourable thing to do, but that would mean taking a clear stand and the rejectionists are too cowardly to do this. It is so much easier sitting back, criticising everything, like an undergraduate, and pretending you are more principled and more patriotic than those that are actually taking risks and doing things.

 

 

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