WE KNOW that very few people take the dozens of announcements issued by the political parties every day, about most issues in the news, too seriously. Parties obviously feel that by acting like media commentators on current affairs ensures they would receive a mention in news stories in papers and on television and thus keep reminding people of their existence.
The state broadcaster CyBC is obliged by law to broadcast the statements of all parliamentary parties, so people watching the evening television news are forced to hear the populist outpourings of the Greens about NPLs and of the Citizens’ Alliance about EU sanctions against Russia. The Cyprus News Agency posts all the party announcements on its website.
It was therefore inevitable that the parties would have issued statements about Tuesday’s downing of the Russian warplane by Turkey near the Syrian border. It was an easy issue to take a stand on because the evil Turks had downed a warplane of the good Russians who were fighting Islamic State. And what was even more appealing for the parties was the fact that the evil NATO had backed Turkey’s action.
An opportunity to have a go at the Turks and engage in some NATO-bashing while praising Russia’s pure motives was not to be missed. It also reminded us of the simplistic way in which our political parties view international affairs which are always a case of black or white. Of course the shooting down of the Russian warplane, for allegedly straying into Turkish airspace for a few seconds, was a reckless act which threatened to make a bad situation worse, but was there a need to attack the NATO, the West and the Anglo-Americans?
Was this a detached and erudite analysis of the crisis caused by the downing of the Russian plane? Our parties cultivate fanaticism, prejudice and narrow-mindedness with their blinkered world view instead of encouraging people to think. There was no acknowledgment of the fact that the evil West has been fighting IS much longer than Russia, which only started air strikes in the last month or so.
The truth is that what is happening in Syria and Iraq is very complicated and there is no way a 200-word statement written by a party hack is likely to enlighten us. The idiotic call to President Anastasiades by the Alliance of Citizens, not to side with Anglo-Americans against ‘our traditional friend’ Russia, exemplified the way our parties approach a major international crisis like a football match in which we must support one of the two sides.