Cyprus Mail
Tales from the Coffeeshop

Coffeeshop: Bigshots come to town

This year’s Diaspora conference was the same tired, old message that the overseas Cypriots have all the answers to the Cyprob

THE SELF-STYLED liberators of Kyproulla were here last week for their annual resistance fighters gig during which they offer us advice on how to end the Turkish occupation and boast about their links with the US administration, which they assure us would help us achieve this end.

If 10 per cent of what Cypriot expats, primarily from the US and UK (the latter are bit more restrained), said over the last 20 years of conferences was true, there would be no Turkish soldier left in Kyproulla and they would be holding their annual conference in Greek-owned and managed hotel in Kyrenia.

They come here every summer, are treated like VIPs by our government, play the bigshots to us natives, boast about their supposed influence in Washington, demand cash so their lobbying of the US administration would have results, advocate a super-hard line on the Cyprob and then return home satisfied with themselves for having performed their patriotic duties for another year.

This year’s conference of the World Federation of Overseas Cypriots (Pomak) and the International Coordinating Committee Justice for Cyprus (Pseka) was one of the same, offering the tired, old message that the overseas Cypriots have all the answers to the Cyprob, on which they are all experts from a safe distance of a several thousand miles.

 

THE MEGA-PATRIOTC president of Pseka, Philip Christopher, who has been giving liberation sermons every summer, for as long as I can remember, was particularly scathing this year, informing us that we “lack leadership and vision for the future.”

He told the conference: “With all due respect, there is a lack of vision in your positions and lack of recognition about the geopolitical position… This Cyprus Republic is in a position to fight for freedom and justice.” Why he has not moved here to offer his leadership and vision – perhaps run as the visionary presidential candidate that will liberate us from the Turks – he has never explained.

Christopher promised that overseas liberators would continue their “struggle for the Cypriot people, for freedom and justice,” from the safety of their geopolitical position in the US. The overseas liberators in the UK were a little less defiant, because their geopolitical position was only 2,000 miles away from the front line.

 

THE CONFERENCE also featured video footage of Congressmen supporting Kyproulla. Republican Gus Bilirakis said that Kyproulla was “a powerful and loyal ally of the US.” He failed to mention that we were an even more loyal ally of Russia, something that would most definitely have been appreciated by President Trump.

Speaking of Trump, on his election the astute overseas Cypriots in the US urged our government to hold back on a settlement, because with him in the White House we would get a better deal. There is no better deal on the cards, but the Trump administration, which would have supposedly been good for the Greek Cypriots, has also been pressing for withdrawal of Unficyp because it was a big waste of UN resources.

The only reason the US agreed to the renewal of the Unficyp mandate for another six months on Thursday, was not because of pressure by Pseka and Pomak, but because the UNSG was exploring the possibility of undertaking another peace initiative. First, though, he wants to be sure the probability of failure is less than 90 per cent.

 

PREZ NIK’S meeting last Monday with the UNSG’s representative Jane Holl Lute did not go as he had hoped. He had prepared a pile of files to explain that the conference in Crans-Montana had failed because of Turkey’s intransigence but was cut short by Lute who told him the purpose of her visit was to establish whether there were grounds for a new peace drive.

Did Nik seriously think the UN did not know the reasons for the failure of the procedure in Switzerland and he had to enlighten the UNSG’s representative? Lute’s message was that the current status quo, which all our politicians including Nik, zealously support and want to maintain forever, would change if the current deadlock continued.

The Unficyp mandate would be renewed for the last time in its present form, she said. Nik was aware of this given the big difficulties the government faced in ensuring it was renewed last week, for another six months. The status quo without Unficyp policing the buffer zone loses quite a bit of its appeal.

This may explain the overnight transformation of our negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis, who sat in on the Nik-Lute meeting, from a Cyprob hardliner into settlement champion.

 

SPEAKING on Super Sport FM on Monday, Diko deputy, Panikos Leonidou, did not buy the presenter’s suggestion that the UN would give up on the Cyprob. He could not hide he surprise at what the presenter was saying. His response said it all in a classic Dikhead way. “I do not understand, why would the UN stop dealing with the Kypriako? What? Has the organisation got tired? It is its obligation to deal with the Kypriako and apply pressure on Turkey.”

 

REGULARS of our establishment will know that I never respond to readers’ critical views, abuse or put-downs posted in the website’s comments section. It is not because I have been blessed with ultra-thick skin, but I subscribe to the wisdom imparted by a Cyprus Mail editor of the past, that “if you dish it out you also have to take it.”

And I have learnt to “take it”, even though today I will break my rule, by referring to an orchestrated attack by public school teachers on the Cyprus Mail Facebook page, in response to what was written in the Coffeeshop last Sunday. Personally, I was quite flattered that a few teachers took the trouble, during their holidays, to criticise me without even demanding a free period in the new school year, as a reward, but my bosses were not happy with the 10 negative reviews on the Mail’s Facebook page.

I would therefore like to issue an appeal to the hundreds of thousands of fans of our establishment to go to the Mail’s Facebook page and give it positive reviews to counter the negative ones that have landed me in a spot of bother with my bosses who want the page not just to attract ‘likes’, but to be loved.

 

THE NEGATIVE reviews of the teachers were exactly what you would expect from people accustomed to grading children’s essays. These included:

“Bad biased journalism… yellow press… only coffeeshop talk… unprofessional… untrue information… inaccurate, offensive, misleading articles… biased… without shame.”

I am no expert on social media, but aren’t commenters supposed to back their views with some kind of evidence so that the targets of the bad reviews could learn from their mistakes and become professional, unbiased, accurate and less yellow? Probably not.

I just have to accept that I received a zero mark from the teachers and from September will have to have private lessons on professional, unbiased and accurate reporting in the afternoon in order to improve my grade and, hopefully, get a good review on Facebook, at least from the teacher I will be paying.

 

PREZ NIK acting as the head of the labour ministry’s mediation service invited the teaching union bosses, representatives of parents’ associations as well as education minister Costas Hambiaouris and his sidekicks to the presidential palace on Friday to try to resolve the dispute and avert the early September strike threatened by the teachers.

I hope no teacher considers this biased or consider the observation that the strike threat worked misleading. The meeting took place in a good climate and the warring sides agreed to have a week of meetings, with an open agenda, starting from tomorrow, in an attempt to resolve their differences.

The primary teachers’ union boss Filios Fylaktou said, after the meeting, “every effort will be made in the dialogue for the smooth start of the new school year.”

“We all want the smooth operation of the schools, we want neither tension nor measures,” said the secondary teachers’ union boss Yiannos Socratous. It was as if the smooth operation of the schools was being threatened by aliens, or perhaps the Turkish occupiers, and union bosses had nothing to do with it. They just wanted a smooth start of the new school year, despite threatening an all-out strike at the start of the new school year.

 

IN THE END, three of the four unions representing the workers of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank, grudgingly agreed to the government’s obscenely high compensation package for voluntary retirements. The maximum a worker can receive is €180,000, which is pretty generous coming from a bankrupt company.

A worker is entitled to 26 per cent of his annual salary multiplied by years of service. This means that some will receive five years’ salaries for doing absolutely nothing. The bank employees union Etyk, renowned for its boundless greed, rejected the proposed package as inadequate.

Those who took the package would still be entitled to free health cover, life insurance and subsidised interest rates on their loans. As for staff that had not been paying their loans to the CCB, the retirement scheme envisages that 30 per cent of the compensation amount would be held until the employee comes to an agreement on the repayment of the loan! He could stop the loan repayments again once he has collected the remaining 30 per cent of the compensation.

 

THE COUNCIL of Ministers, to the chagrin of our political parties, has decided to exempt Cypriot shipowners and their sons from military service, as an incentive for them to put their ships under the Cyprus flag. Some people asked our establishment if ownership of a speed-boat would make their sons eligible for exemption. They were also in a bit of a quandary over the size of the Cyprus flag they had to use and in which part of the boat it had to be placed.

 

I WILL leave you with a joke. Ayia Napa has applied to be European Capital of Culture in 2030.

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