With reference to Tales from the Coffeeshop by Patroclos in the Sunday Mail on March 6, we are so not used to the truth that when one speaks it he must be delusional. This is the most striking comment I received after issuing a public statement that I will not run in the forthcoming elections. Here is the (sanitised) summary: “The professor is a delusional megalomaniac”. We are so not used to speaking up to authority that when someone does, he must be delusional. Would someone please tell this to ex New York mayor Bloomberg who just announced he is not running for US President.
He must be a delusional megalomaniac to attack in his statement Republican front-runner Donald Trump for “preying on people’s prejudices and fears”. Surely I must have been for mentioning —among other reasons—speeding MPs or MPs taking photos of illegally caught songbirds or their female colleague’s short skirts. It is flattering that a New York billionaire follows my example, but then I should not be a delusional megalomaniac on this: maybe Mr Bloomberg did what any reasonable civic-minded public person would do.
The “expert” opinion on my state of mind was not based only on recent behaviour, of course. There was also a reference to an older disagreement with Mr Pikkis’ report on the collapse of the Cyprus economy and the writing of my own report. How dare anyone do such a thing! Actually, I did not disagree with Mr Pikkis’ report. It said nothing wrong, but then how could it. It said very little. And “my own report” was actually prepared at the request of the Commission who solicited it and paid for it. And then they filed it! One of the three Committee judges, ex-ombudswoman Eliana Nicolaou, was brave enough to issue a minority opinion adopting my findings.
I don’t know if the kind Ms Nicolaou is megalomaniac, although she almost became delusional from the pressure to keep her mouth shut. Certainly world renowned Professor Mark Flannery, who wrote a report on the collapse of the Iceland economy, must be a delusional megalomaniac too. Except that his report was posted on the site of the Icelandic Investigation Commission for all to read. In Iceland the truth is posted in public. In Cyprus inconvenient truths are stamped CONFIDENTIAL and stashed in some archive and whoever tries to speak them must be delusional.
And not to leave any bases uncovered, there were references to my resignation from the Central Bank because of “an inadequate Governor”. The reasons for my resignation were policy disagreements and not any assessment of the Governor. It is not my job to judge her and if someone wants to call anyone “inadequate” they must do it themselves. But we are so unaccustomed to people resigning from any position, that whoever does so must be a delusional megalomaniac. My good wife must have certainly thought I was delusional, but kept it to herself when she remarked: “If you don’t agree with what is going on, you cannot stay just to collect the Director’s fee”.
As for the advice offered that maybe I should leave Cyprus to have my “undoubted superiority” recognised overseas, let me thank them for the kind interest in my well being. But I did enjoy a long career overseas before returning to serve my country and its new University. I harbour no delusions about what we can achieve in Cyprus. But, to quote University Rector professor Christofides, “you do not have to be a big country to be a great country”. If this is delusional megalomania, then I confess. Let us start by facing the truths, hard as they may be.
Stavros Zenios, Professor of finance and management science, University of Cyprus