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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Modern Cypriot farce staged in New York

Tragedy: the play being staged in Salamina

THE LUNATICS have been in control of the Kyproulla asylum for many years now and it does not look like they will be stepping down any time soon. They have not only tightened their grip but thanks to their hard work and commitment to the cause lunacy has been elevated to a higher level than ever before.

On Wednesday night Junior and his fellow resistance fighter Dr Sizo joined the pitifully poorly-attended demonstration outside the Greek embassy that was organised by nationalist nutters to protest against the participation of two theatre groups of the Greek state in the staging of Antigone at the ancient theatre of Salamina.

It was very disappointing that the bravest of all the resistance fighters for the presidency, Dr Eleni, who had fired the mickey-mouse mob into action with her rhousing rhetoric, was not present outside the embassy, leaving Doc Sizo and Junior in charge of the front-line of the struggle.

The Solidarity warrior was in Brussels on Wednesday, where the real fight for Cyprus is taking place, having lunch with Cypriot hacks that were on a junket to the European Parliament. The only interesting thing hacks were able to report was the warm, motherly hug Dr Eleni gave Akel MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou and nobody else.

Was this public show of affection because Takis had abandoned the pro-solution camp and joined the resistance fighters for the presidency or because he is the only good-looking and huggable of Cyprus’ five MEPs, all of whom were present at the lunch?

JUNIOR, having failed to turn the embassy protest into a mass movement, threw a Salamis-related wobbly at the House plenum on Friday demanding the government’s ‘illegality’ relating to the staging of the play was debated. In the end, to stop him sulking, it was agreed something about ancient sites in the north would be discussed at a House committee.

It was too little too late, as the starring role in the laments about the staging of Antigone had been taken by Dr Eleni who in keeping with the subject matter, spoke like the heroine of an ancient Greek tragedy. “Unfortunately, there is information and accusations that His Excellency, the Ambassador of Greece, will attend the performance but I hope these are just rumours, I express my deepest sorrow for this,” she said.
Why did she not just call the ambassador and ask him if he was going to Salamis instead of plunging into a state of deep sorrow and grief, unnecessarily? The Greek embassy announced the next day that the rumours being spread by the grief-stricken Dr Eleni were a figment of her patriotic imagination (it used more polite words).

SOLIDARITY’S spokesman, Yiannis Selinopoulos, was even more inconsolable than his drama queen leader. “Today is a day of mourning for Solidarity and the Greeks of Cyprus,” he said, fighting back the tears, adding: “The performance at Salamina is an act of recognition of the pseudo-state and its organisers give an account to nobody in order to complete the unholy task of the Turkification of Cyprus within the framework of a solution of complete subjugation to the conqueror.”

I hope Dr Eleni on her return to Kyproulla on Thursday gave Selinopoulos a consoling motherly hug, like the one she gave Takis, and told him to stop mourning because the show was over.

Off Broadway: The two leaders in New York with the UNSG
Off Broadway: The two leaders in New York with the UNSG

THREE days earlier another great theatrical performance was staged at the UN headquarters, just a few miles from Broadway, written and directed by Prez Nik who also was the protagonist hero. This was no ancient Greek tragedy but a modern Cypriot farce, of the type we have been seeing for decade, with UNSG Ban Ki-moon and Mustafa Akinci in the supporting roles.

In this farce, the great thespian Nik had the role of super-hero who bravely fought the attempts by the bad guy with the moustache called Mustafa to force Ban to impose a road map and time-frame on the Cyprob talks. Nik’s smartness and bravery prevented this from happening, we were objectively informed by his spokesmen, and he emerged from the 90-minute meeting looking very pleased with himself.

Standing next to Ban, while the latter read a statement about what had been decided at the meeting, Nik wore the
self-satisfied grin (it was part of the script) of a lawyer who had just screwed the lawyer of the other side to the tune of 10 million bucks. The defeated Akinci on Ban’s other side, looked unhappy, giving the impression he had dutifully followed Nik’s stage directions.

THE SECOND act of the play was set in Kyproulla where the media and political parties, including those that hate him, rejoiced about the president-hero’s triumph in the Big Apple.

State broadcaster CyBC led with reports of the triumph on its news shows throughout the next day, highlighting Akinci’s visible disappointment after the meeting as conclusive proof of Nik’s emphatic victory. Credit for this should go to Nik, who had instructed his assistant directors to make this point when they briefed hacks in New York about his historic performance at the UN.

So popular was the play that it received rave reviews by Nik’s harshest critics, the party leaders temporarily suspending their faith in negativity to praise the play and the performance of the comic hero. If there was one criticism that could be made, it was that the play did not end with the jubilant homecoming of the hero, greeted by thousands of his celebrating countrymen at Larnaca airport.

This was in the original script but had to be left out because the prez had to fly to London on Monday for a meeting with the British PM.

BY THE time he returned home his play had been forgotten. Not only had Antigone, written by Nik’s fellow playwright Sophocles, taken centre stage, but the disappointed bad guy with the moustache was no longer willing to play along with the New York farce.

On his return, the killjoy Mustafa gave loads of interviews in which he said that a road map and time-frames had been agreed at the meeting, but were not mentioned in Ban’s statement because Nik was afraid of the hostile reaction this would have sparked among the party moaners in Kyproulla.

It was not entirely a case of sour grapes because Espen Barth Eide backed Mustafa’s claims when speaking to the media. It was what you would expect from artless people unable to understand that creative talents like Nik live for their art and would never allow political reality to interfere with their work.

No reason to celebrate: Eide
No reason to celebrate: Eide

ESPEN Barth Eide, also had reason to celebrate last week as the party wolves finally acknowledged his presence here by accusing him of being pro-Turkish and demanding his immediate recall by the UN Secretary-General.
After two years in Kyproulla without being the target of a single concerted attack by uber-patriotic lynch mob he must have felt he had failed in his mission. Every single one of his predecessors had been declared an agent of Turkish interests by the lynch-mob but Eide had been spared this treatment for two years.
Things were put right this week after a pretty lame news report in Simerini from its Brussels correspondent and doctor of International Relations Yiannos Charalambides who also serves as Dr Eleni’s parliamentary aide. Dr Charalambides reported that Eide had misinformed the aides of the president of the EU Commission by telling them the New York meeting of the two leaders with Ban would have decided a five-party meeting. He had obviously not been informed of Nik’s scenario.

THE GOOD doctor, who never misinforms anyone, also accused the Norwegian of painting an “overly optimistic picture” about the talks in Brussels. This was the cue for our politicians who always paint an “overly pessimistic picture” about the talks to launch their shock and awe offensive.
Junior won the sound-bite prize, saying that Eide “behaves not like the representative of the UN Secretary-General but as the representative of Ankara.” Prize for originality was won by Dr Sizo who, displaying the political thinking of a 10-year-old, demanded that Ban immediately recall Eide.
There is more chance of hearing Dr Sizo say something sensible and grown-up than Eide being recalled.

THE DELUDED Comrade Tof managed to attract some public attention by giving an interview to a Greek paper in which he speculated that the Mari explosion could have been an act of sabotage. “As experts in Greece and Cyprus said, gunpowder does not explode at night temperatures,” he said. And everyone knows that in July in Mari the sun never rises and there is 24 hours of night. Tof did not say whom he suspected of carrying out the sabotage, but we hear it may have been Nato with a helping hand from the CIA, both of which wanted to de-stabilise his communist government, not realising that he was perfectly capable of doing this himself without any outside help.

MEANWHILE expelled Akelite Nicos Katsourides pressed on with his campaign for making himself the presidential candidate of the pro-partition camp. On Wednesday he had two different articles about his views on the Cyprob published – one in Phil and one in Politis – written so as to appeal to the respective readerships of each paper.
The Pol article was more moderate, calling for national unity, while the one in Phil attacked the UN technocrats drafting proposals and the Annan plan (always a winner) and called for a solution based on principles, UN resolutions etc – the stuff everyone opposed to a settlement says. In both articles the Cyprob positions of Diko were evident, including a call to inform the people.

This adds substance to rumours that Junior was considering having Kats as Diko’s presidential candidate in 2018. Apart from being a rejectionist, Kats remained a loyal friend and supporter of his dad even after Akel abandoned Tassos.

ANOTHER presidential hopeful for 2018 Yiorkos Lillikas appears to have fallen out big-time with Junior, saying in an interview there could be no co-operation “on the understanding that some (Junior?) take the decisions and others follow.”

Yiorkos was not born to follow anyone, which is why he has been having meetings and shamelessly brown-nosing the Akel leadership in the hope of persuading it to back his candidacy. One thing you have to credit Yiorkos with is his consistency. He has always been faithfully consistent in his opportunism and lack of principle (except on the Cyprob).

The good news is that his brown-nosing of Akel is making progress. “Relations with Akel, on a personal level, have improved and are not what they were after 2008,” he said.

SPEAKING of the presidential elections, the island’s most irritatingly selfish interest group, the ball-busting bondholders, are considering having their own candidate in 2018. Presumably they would hope to secure enough votes that they would subsequently offer to another candidate in exchange for compensation for their idiotic investment in bank bonds.

At a meeting last Sunday the bondholders’ leader Phivos Mavrovouniotis told members that the ball-busting of the public should be stepped up. “We all have to understand that without dynamic action our struggle cannot be won,” he told them. We look forward to more dynamic action, which with presidential elections approaching, is bound to yield results.

STATE school teachers, have recently replaced the bondholders as the most irritatingly selfish interest group. Their unions have turned into organisations of nasty blackmailers using kids to extort more and more benefits from the taxpayer. It helps that they are faced with a weak and cowardly education minister that is always giving in to them. He may as well give them the key to his office, take a long holiday and let them run our failing schools. That might shut them up for a few weeks.

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