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OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Cautious pessimism very optimistic as Cyprob circus moves to Switzerland

Location of the circus: Mont Pelerin

THE CYPROB circus moves to Mont Pelerin in Switzerland, where on Monday it will enter its latest ‘critical phase’, the thousandth in its history, in the presence of the UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Ban will be there only for the opening of the five-day talks that will focus on territory, without other issues being excluded.

There had been a minor squabble between our guys and the office of Special Advisor Espen Barth Eide during the preparation of the talks over the number of people each leader would take with him. The Norwegian’s office wanted to know so that it could take care of logistics such as accommodation, food etc.

The UN had originally estimated that each side would take about eight people as part of its negotiating team, but Nik’s office said it wanted to take more. Barth Eide’s office questioned the need for so many people, incurring the wrath of the presidential palace which accused the UN of bias and not being helpful.

There were practical reasons for the UN’s objections – lack of rooms at the hotel where the talks would be held – but after some low-level bickering, our side settled on taking some 25 people, many of them pen-pushers and paper-shufflers – also known as technocrats in our deluded society – of the Land and Surveys Department.

In the end, the UN gave in so as to keep the peace and booked rooms in another hotel close by for the rest of our negotiating team.

MUSTAFA Akinci, in contrast, had difficulty in finding the UN-proposed eight people for his own negotiating team. This was because the pseudo-government coalition that runs the pseudo-state prohibited him from taking any pen-pushers and paper-shufflers – also known as pseudo-technocrats in their deluded pseudo-society.

Why we do not know but can only guess that either it could not afford to pay the air fares or it wanted to restrict the hated Akinci’s ability to negotiate. The parties of the coalition in the north make their rejectionist soulmates on our side seem like paragons of prudence and good sense.

I exaggerate. If our rejectionists had the power they would have passed a law preventing Nik from going to Switzerland on the grounds that he could not be trusted to negotiate the return of all refugees to their homes and the demolition of all buildings on Greek Cypriot land in the north.

Cautiously pessimistic: Alecos Markides
Cautiously pessimistic: Alecos Markides

ASKED on a TV show what he thought would happen in Switzerland, former attorney-general and big-shot lawyer Alecos Markides, who resigned from the negotiating team last summer, memorably said that he was “cautiously pessimistic.”

Was this because he knew that many of the members of our negotiating team, including chief negotiator and sacred cow Andreas Mavroyiannis, were opposed to a settlement? Mavroyiannis’ assistant Poly Ioannou, a foreign ministry employee of Diko sympathies and bash-patriotism in her DNA, has often angered Prez Nik with her hard-line approach which had caused problems in the talks.

Then there is the brainy, big-shot lawyer Polys Polyviou who could swing either way and is liable to send a few hundred confidential emails to warn the rejectionists about impending doom if he decided Nik was not doing a good job. And there is also former foreign minister Erato Kozakou-Markoulli, who slavishly worships mother Russia that is opposed to a deal.

THE BIGGEST surprise is that ex-deputy leader of Diko, the charmless bruiser Nicos Kleanthous, an anti-settlement Taliban, is also on the negotiating team. What business does a guy who was one of the Ethnarch’s nasty enforcers during the Annan plan hate campaign have on the negotiating team?

Is there a chance in a million that he would make a positive contribution other than act as Junior’s spy?

Kleanthous was on the radio earlier this week speaking as if he were in charge of the negotiating team, banging on that there is no way our side could leave Mont Pelerin without a map, which is also Junior’s condition. With these people in our negotiating team, Markides’ ‘cautious pessimism’ was very optimistic.

IN FRIDAY night’s copycat televised interview immediately after Nik’s, also featuring the bosses of seven television stations asking questions, Akinci angered some Greek Cypriots by questioning our practice of making refugee status a hereditary right.

It was not right, he said, regarding as refugees the children and the grandchildren of refugees. I think he had a point there, because despite the death of tens of thousands of the real refugees, we now have more ‘refugees’ than we had in 1974.

But the refugee farce is extended to the negotiations. Our side argues it wants the return of enough territory so that 100,000 refugees could return to their homes. I would bet anything that we would be hard pressed to find 10,000 refugees that would actually return to their homes. Who would want to return to the villages of the Mesaoria desert after living in the towns for the last 42 years? Only at gun-point would these people return.

Anyway, the number is used so that we could negotiate the return of as much territory as possible, even though none of the refugees would want to live in the returned villages, despite the official rhetoric about their “burning desire to return to their ancestral homes.”

Andreas Vgenopoulos: de mortis nil nisi bonum doesn't count
Andreas Vgenopoulos: de mortis nil nisi bonum doesn’t count

THE LATIN saying ‘de mortis nil nisi bonum’ (we only speak well of the dead) certainly does not apply to the corrupt, thieving banker Andreas Vgenopoulos who allegedly passed away yesterday after a heart attack. I say allegedly because a sleek con-man like Vgen was perfectly capable of faking his death so he could escape all those pursuing him.

For all we know he may have had plastic surgery, had a passport with a new name issued and now be enjoying his cigar on the patio of a big ranch somewhere in Mexico or Argentina laughing about conning everyone again. He was that good.

There will be conspiracy theorists claiming the fact that he died in a hospital he owned and that his family announced his funeral would be attended only by close family was very suspicious.

Perhaps they kept the funeral a private affair to ensure representatives of the Laiki depositors Sykala and of the bondholders would not attend and lay a wreath at his grave.

BY DYING, the smooth operator Vgen had the last laugh yet again, giving the people of Kyproulla, who thought he would eventually have been charged and paid for his crimes, the two-fingered salute. I wouldn’t be surprised if he had prepared one last condescending statement to be read posthumously to the Cyprus public whom he loved to taunt.

As an obituary, here are few kind words written by John Mavro on the Cyprus Mail website yesterday. We publish them knowing that you cannot libel a dead crook.
“Normally all fair-minded and reasonable individuals would be saddened by the death of such a despicable character ONLY because his untimely death has enabled him to escape justice and the well-deserved punishment of many years in jail for his indisputable criminal actions…
“Good riddance to a scumbag of epic proportions whose grand theft of depositors’ funds brought about wholesale destruction and misery among many decent, hard-working people. And no doubt, his despicable and criminal actions probably caused a good number of premature deaths among his victims. May he rot in hell.”

IF ANY confirmation were needed that Limassolians are rich Paphites with delusions of sophistication it was provided by the art exhibition which featured what the Japanese call Niyotaimori – serving sushi from the naked body of a woman. It is not enough that Limassol is the most affluent town in Kyproulla, Limassolians want it to be the hippest and coolest as well. And with the Niyotaimori they can claim it is the New York of the Middle East.

The event sparked some tiresome moralising from the Presidential Commissioner for the Equality of the Sexes Iosiphina Antoniou, who declared that serving food from the naked body of a woman had nothing to do with art. It was “vulgar and humiliating” and she expressed sadness that the naked body of a woman had been “transformed into an object”. It was also a “blow to human dignity.”
These are just a few of the boring clichés she used, but she could not allow such an opportunity to justify her salary to go unexploited.

Chrys offering his words of wisdom this week
Chrys offering his words of wisdom this week

WE DID not hear the Commissioner say anything about Archbishop Chrys’ gay-bashing. An unreconstructed Paphite male, Chrys gave full vent to his homophobia on a TV show, telling gays that they had to wage a struggle against their “unnatural choices”. Gays, he said, could follow the example of monks who fight their nature.

“A person that wants to become a monk is obliged to fight his own nature. To go against one’s nature is very difficult, it is easier (for gays) to overcome what is unnatural.” You just wished the Archbishop occasionally practised what he preached and fought against his own nature of constantly talking nonsense.

As part of its campaign to eliminate homosexuality, the Church planned to start its own schools, with 10 kindergartens scheduled to open in September. Will these kindergartens identify 4-year-olds likely to grow up gay and teach them to fight against this unnatural urge?

PERHAPS the Archbishop could tell us how natural it is for someone who had white hair to suddenly have grey hair? When comrade Tof was president his hair was more or less white, but a picture of him at the launch of book on Gogos Paraskevaides a few weeks ago shows him with a grey head of hair. Perhaps the photographer did not use a flash and the hair appeared grey rather than white, but it is entirely possible that pre Nik gave him the telephone number of his hairdresser.

THE POMPOSITY and self-importance of Dr Eleni Theocharous are truly admirable. She has the ability of presenting the most mundane happening as things of great importance. Here is how she announced that a certain Mr Ttoppouzis (I would have bet that a guy with such a name was a dyed-in-the-wool Akelite) would be a Solidarity candidate.
“Mr Ttoppouzis will decorate the election ticket of Solidarity in the pending municipal elections in which together we will give the fight for a better tomorrow for Limassol, for its residents, for local government, for absolute democracy.”

What exactly is absolute democracy? And would she fight for absolute democracy and a better tomorrow for Limassol while she is in Brussels serving as MEP? Does the better tomorrow involve more Niyotaimori events?

OUR FRIENDS the ball-busting bondholders have written to all the political parties requesting meetings to discuss how they would be compensated. If the parties fail to come up with a proposal for an out of court settlement by February 2017, the Association of Holders of Bank Bonds warned that it would fight the 2018 presidential elections with its own candidate. “We will decisively commence our course to victory,” it declared. There is a better chance of winning the presidential elections than getting their money back, unless Vgen left some money for them in his will.

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