Cyprus Mail
Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Patriotic preachers, motherlands and mongrels

File photo: President Nicos Anastasiades and Archbishop Chrysostomos

WITH 2016 having been unofficially declared the year of the settlement, our hard-liners have stepped up their bash-patriotic rhetoric. In some cases, like that of Mega TV’s ultra-nationalistic presenter Pavlos Mylonas, you would not have thought this was possible but he proved us wrong this week when he declared on prime time TV everyone who spent money in the north was a mongrel (koprites was the Greek term).

It was a scathing sermon by Mylonas, TV’s leading patriotic preacher whose moralising could easily pass as self- parody because it is so over the top. His sermon, in which he spitefully referred to people as ‘mongrels’ four times in 60 seconds (‘low-lifes’ got only one mention) caused offence and the station forced him to make a half-hearted apology on the next show he hosted.

What inspired his tirade was the death, at the age of 103, of a man who still wore the traditional Cypriot vraka. Mylonas informed viewers that in the old days our grandfathers bought locally-made cloth for their clothes because the boycotted the products of the British occupiers (a tweed vraka would just not look right anyway). But despite his patriotism and love of tradition he could not remember the name of the local cloth.

It was called aladja but I am not claiming to be more patriotic than Mylonas because I knew its name. Incidentally the boycott was not very successful as only small minority joined it but the facts should not be allowed to interfere with our myths of heroism.

AFTER his intro, the sermon commenced: “Every kopritis goes to the occupied area to buy cheap cigarettes, cheap car tyres, cheap fuel. These koprites should think that their grandfathers who were hungry – they had no internet, no sofas, no fireplaces, no heating, they were in the cold – and toiled hard farming, but they had souls which these koprites sold in the name of money – five, 10, 20 and 100 euro – to go and have fun where they (presumably the Turks) were raping and the occupiers conquered our country killing the brothers, uncles, grandfathers, friends. These koprites dominate today, unfortunately, because there are many who go for five, 10 euro to the occupied area, and I will not mention the low-lifes that go there for the casinos and the bordellos.”

Even the managers of the church-controlled station found the sermon a bit excessive so the next day the pure-breed Hellene Mylonas was forced to make a so-called apology to his penny-pinching, morally inferior, mongrel countrymen.

Those visiting holy sites were exempted
Those visiting holy sites were exempted

MYLONAS did not call it an ‘apology’ but a ‘clarification’. He then started telling us who he did not call koprites, to assure them that they need not have felt offended by his abuse.

He said he did not call ‘koprites’ the people who went to the occupied area for religious worship (God forbid), nor the Famagustans (I bet mayor Galanos called to complain) who went the other day for this purpose and trumpeted their desire to return to their homes; he did not call ‘koprites’ the refugees who visited the north, nor the people who had social dealings with the Turkish Cypriots, which he magnanimously declared “perfectly normal”.

He added: “My position was so clear that it could have left a shadow on those who buy tyres and petrol because may have sent me messages abusing me – and good for them – because they were poor buying medicine they cannot afford in the free areas or were unemployed and had needs. You understand they cannot go in the same category.”

The ‘koprites’ group kept shrinking during his clarification, as he exempted one group after the other. “Even the big businessmen who buy land from poor Greek Cypriots or co-operate with Turkish Cypriot businessmen or many others who go to the casino or other disreputable areas cannot be called koprites either. They are something else.”
Are they pure-breeds like Mylonas or something worse than mongrels?

IN CONCLUSION he repeated that he was not referring to those people going to the north for religious reasons. “That is certain and I think most people understand it, but such is the misinformation, such is the anger and fanaticism during this period that most pretend they cannot understand.” Mylonas can say whatever he likes, being a pure-breed, morally superior Hellene but to complain about fanaticism and misinformation was a bit rich coming from TV’s leading fanatic, after making clarifications of the misinformation about mongrels he had angrily lashed out against the previous day.

Question: I bought a pack of fags in the north once when I had gone to worship at an occupied church and run out and would like to know if that would be enough to make me a kopritis. I will send Mylonas an abusive message in the hope he will issue a clarification on his next TV show, forgiving nicotine-addicted churchgoers.

ANOTHER of the patriotic preachers, Phil’s holier than thou columnist Michalis Ignatiou, who is perched on an even higher moral peak than his fellow-freedom fighter Mylonas, is becoming a bit hysterical about the prospects of a settlement and warned prez Nik not to rely on his friendship in last Sunday’s article.

“With all due respect to the friend Mr Anastasiades – friendship is one thing and positions on the national problem quite another….” The self-important Ig will not hesitate to give up his friendship with Nik for the national cause. His views published in the Athens paper Ethnos on the same day were not very friendly to Nik.

“The resistances of the politicians are being tested in Cyprus, but also in Greece… In Cyprus the corruption of the politicians is threatening their resistances. They are subject to continuous blackmail.” So is his friend working for a settlement because he is subject to continuous blackmail because corruption has destroyed his resistances? Just asking.

Ig fears Kyproulla would be “lost” if there was a settlement but assures us he was not being alarmist. And Mylonas is not a fanatic.

IN HIS article in this paper last week Alper Riza argued that the two communities in Cyprus should avoid siding with their respective motherlands in the “lukewarm war that has broken out between Turkey and Russia” – “Mother Russia in the case of the Greek Cypriots and Islamic Turkey in the case of the Turkish Cypriots.”

Such is the slavish devotion of Greek Cypriots to Putin’s Russia that a serious, sensible writer, like my friend Alper, thinks nothing of referring to it as the motherland of the Greek Cypriots. This is the reality today – Russia has replaced Greece as the motherland even though we have nothing in common apart from religion and a love for the Porsche Cayenne.

It does not reflect well on our character but we have unceremoniously cast aside weak, struggling, bankrupt Greece and have given ourselves up for adoption by Mother Russia (does this make all of us koprites?). And the irony is that the most nationalistic of our countrymen are the ones that have turned their backs on Hellas and led us into the Russian bear’s not so cuddly embrace.

Whereas in past, these bash-patriotic nationalists were demanding Greece’s military backing they are now urging our government to offer Russia a military base in the absurd belief that she would also defend us. When foreign minister Sergei Lavrov visited last month these politicians and journalists treated him like the national saviour who would offer us the false hopes and empty promises that we are suckers for.

YOU ONLY have to look at the embarrassing grovelling to Russia’s meddling ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy to understand how Greece has been sidelined. Whereas Osadchiy has become a local celebrity thanks to his many well-publicised meetings with party leaders and endless interviews by newspapers and television stations we do not even know the name of Greece’s ambassador to Kyproulla.

He is not a household name like Stan, even though he has been posted in Nicosia since last April. His name, by the way, is Ilias Fotopoulos, which I found out by checking the Greek embassy’s website and not from any interviews or reports in the media. Our bash-patriotic brigade seems to have no interest in our former mother’s ambassador, indifferent to his existence and what he might have to say.

I have not heard of any of our party leaders meeting him. If they had, they did not ask the TV stations to send camera crews to cover the post-meeting comments as they do whenever they meet Stan the man. In the last few weeks Stan was interviewed by both Simerini and Phileleftheros. Simerini, once the bastion of Greek nationalism and guardian of Cypriot Hellenism, has turned its back on our real mother and taken on the role of Russia’s cheerleader.

A week after the interview with Stan it published the findings of an opinion poll, which asked people “should the Cyprus Republic offer military facilities to the Russian Federation, within the framework of the operations it is conducting against terrorism?” Some 73 per cent answered ‘yes’, the paper reported triumphantly.

IN FAIRNESS, the Zeus group which publishes Simerini is not Russia’s biggest cheerleader. That role has belonged to Phil since the sixties when the paper was praising the Soviet Union to high heaven for its imaginary support of the Greek Cypriots. It has maintained this proud tradition to this day, transferring its support from the hideous communists of the Kremlin to Putin’s democrats.

Its Christmas Day interview with Stan was followed, three days later, by a leader article on “The role of Russia in the Cyprus problem,” in which it praised the ambassador’s wise words and concluded that “it is clear Nicosia not only needs but considers it essential for Moscow to have and to play a role in the Cyprus problem.”
What role the paper had in mind it did not say, but given Phil and Sim are the two most hard-line, anti-settlement papers, I can only deduce that the role they want Moscow to play might not be very helpful to a settlement. This could also be the reason freedom-fighters Sizopoulos and Lillikas are constantly sucking up to Stan.

LILLIKAS I hear will be one of the main speakers at Wednesday’s presentation of some ‘scientific’ study


by the Open University of Cyprus which showed that the Turkish Cypriot newspapers viewed Greek Cypriots negatively. Four TC newspapers were monitored, one being the Grey Wolf mouthpiece Volkan, which has since closed down.
The scientific survey was carried out in July 2014, which makes it a bit out of date a year and half later after so much has changed but if the purpose of the Open University is to poison the climate with some help from Lillikas then we could say the end justifies the scientific means. And we await the OUC’s scientific survey on how positively the Greek Cypriot newspapers presented Turkish Cypriots.

AT LEAST the commies of AKEL are not fearful of the closure of the Cyprob in 2016. On the contrary they are trying to jump on the settlement bandwagon. This is why comrade Andros will be flying to Turkey later this month at the invitation of foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu for a meeting.

We can reveal today that the invitation was expedited by AKEL, which had asked TC negotiator Ozdil Nami to arrange the meeting. The two are more than likely to hit it off as both follow faith-based ideologies which they embrace with religious fervour.

Speaking of AKEL, I was very disappointed not to see my name among AKEL’s 19 candidates for the May parliamentary elections. I had hoped the Central Committee would have looked kindly on my application, but I was wrong. One candidate stood out for his typically Akelite surname – Michalis Tchitsiekkos.

A REGULAR sent us the following report: “Biking past one of the old part of Nicosia’s last remaining brothels mid-day today I observed the red lights were on signifying business yet the doors were closed. Inside, leaning against the glass outer door, was a sign, in Greek and English. “Coming soon,” it said.

Putting things into English is not as always easy as it seems. A seedy establishment on the same road as the Cyprus Mail offices had a handwritten sign on its shop window a few months ago which read: “Girls wanted for bar.”


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