Well-known personalities in Cyprus envision a country brimming with success in 20 years time with a solution to the Cyprus problem, while others fear an island with stifled media, no freedom of expression and frightening levels of crime.
Daily Politis on Tuesday featured a series of articles by prominent members of public life such as Health Minister Giorgos Pamboridis, University of Cyprus rector Constantinos Christofides and Greens MP Charalambos Theopemptou to describe the Cyprus they see in 2038.
Optimisitc Pambordis and Christofides both envision the Cyprus problem in two decades will be solved while the health minister penned that by 2038 he and his wife have moved to Bellapais, north of the island.
“I usually go back and forth from the office with the car although sometimes I like using the train.”
Pamboridis’ imagination also described his house and vehicle running on solar power.
Approaching the age of 70, he has back pains which he may have to operate on after a year’s worth of physiotherapy haven’t reaped satisfactory results.
“Thankfully we no longer have to pay for health matters. After the age of retirement was increased to 70, it’s important to be able to look after your health.”
There are also high-speed passenger ferries linking Famagusta to Syria and Lebanon, Limassol to Israel and Egypt and Kyrenia with Turkey, Pamboridis’ version of 2028 foresees.
“The greatest convenience for me and my wife has been the route of the hypersonic flight to New York as we can visit our son that lives there, without much hassle.”
Christofides, in his writings outlines that “a dream is just that – a dream when it doesn’t have a plan, strategy and deadline.”
While Cyprus still has a lot of work to do in 2018 as far as corruption, egalitarianism and meritocracy are concerned one must always hope when thinking about the future, he penned.
In 20 years’ time “our country will have a solution which will favour reunification. In this united country, the university campus will be transformed into the ‘City of Knowledge’ for all communities in Cyprus.
“The only troops that will be based on our island will be those of the EU army which will supervise peace as observers in the Middle East. This is my vision, my hope, my angst.”
The university by 2038 will be autonomous and will attract Cypriot scientists of the diaspora. By 2020 geophysics and physical education departments will be running while by 2023, the school of fine arts will open its doors, Christofides said.
UCy medical school graduates will be positively contributing to the health sector while the veterinary school will be ready in 2024.
To make dreams a reality however, we must all wake up and work towards achieving the future we want. “The best way for one to predict the future, is to create it,” the rector concluded.
In contrast to the more optimistic approach Pamboridis and Christofides had, Theopemptou saw a bleak future ahead resembling much of George Orwell’s 1984.
His vision begins with young people watching a documentary during Christmas season in 2038 and are surprised to see that Troodos once had trees, snow and vegetation.
“The few farmers that are left are competing with major developments for the little water left. Desalination plants work non-stop, using large quantities of electricity and causing huge damages to the sea.”
Diesel has been banned, renewable energy sources are still hopelessly low. Although a positive step was taken in creating a smart transport system able to use renewable energy there were many delays and problems until electric meters were changed to smart meters. No study was carried out on how this affected personal data and many complaints were filed to the EU over the matter.
“Major business players continue to control government policies” in Theopemptou’s 2038 while in some cases people can’t access the beach without paying an entrance fee.
Prices for one-bedroom flats have gone down as it is no longer safe to live alone and crime has soared. Apartment blocks and small areas are forced to hire their own security while media is tightly controlled and paint “a false picture of progress and prosperity.”
Small organisations left trying to give out information resort to old-school methods handing out flyers as the internet, due to the close-knit cooperation of major foreign businesses with politicians, have ensured the internet is no longer a safe place.
Many volunteers have given up trying to help animal welfare by 2038 as the situation has gotten unbearably out of hand with stray cats and dogs filling up cities and the outskirts.
“We have known all this for years but unfortunately, Cyprus is not famed for its long-term planning but for decisions taken for short-term profit in mind. And of course, as always, we are experts on retrospective analysis as opposed to preventing things before they happen.”