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Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Odysseas takes to the battlefield of social media

Online: bullying, public shaming and moral outrage

IN CONTRAST to his more famous literary namesake, the modern-day Odysseas, performs his acts of bravery not in unfriendly seas ruled by monsters or the caves of one-eyed giants, but on social media. It is on social media that Kyproulla’s very own super-hero is writing a contemporary Odyssey starring not a conventional warrior but a fearless, number-crunching auditor-general.

On the battlefield of social media, the modern-day Odysseas has scored some of his greatest victories using an array of tactics, ranging from bullying to public shaming and from self-glorification to expressions of moral outrage. He has been the nemesis of those insufferable teaching union bosses, exposing their lies and mocking their propaganda on his Facebook account and on Twitter. No other state official dared confront them publicly, but Odysseas kept fighting them on his own even though he could never claim victory. The Gods of Olympus may have taken pity on him and rewarded his bravery by handing him another victory to make him feel good about himself and carry on the good fight.

The brave Odysseas caused another major embarrassment to the man he has made it his mission to destroy – Finance Minister Harris Georgiades, whom he seems to regard as a 21st century Cyclops. All it took was a courageous tweet about the appointment of Harris’ koumbaros Yiannos Stavrinides to the Cyta board, which was subsequently deemed to have violated the principle of impartiality by the attorney-general.

NOW the council of ministers might have to cancel the appointment because Harris participated in the decision benefiting his koumbaros or face another social media onslaught from our anti-corruption super-hero.
If Stavrinides’ appointment was considered a violation of administrative rules any decision taken by the Cyta board in his attendance would be ruled null and void by the Supreme Court if there was an appeal against it.

This was certainly not what Harris wanted to hear in the week when he was parading through the TV and radio shows taking credit for the fact that government bonds were no longer considered junk. Standard and Poor’s had upgraded them to investment grade after six years in the junkyard, and Harris was feeling very pleased with himself.

Harris is a bit of a rusfetologist having appointed his good buddy Nicholas Hadjiyiannis CEO of the Cyprus Co-op Bank and his koumbaros Stavrinides strategy boss at the same bank. There was also his suspect secondment of Savia Orphanidou to the European Investment Bank last year which sparked another merciless assault by Odysseas.

Being as cunning as his literary namesake, Odysseas chooses who he will savage. There have been two appointments by the council of ministers of koumbari of Prez Nik but there were no tweets or expressions of moral outrage on the auditor-general’s Facebook account about lack of impartiality. Has he made a pact with the Prez to turn a blind eye to his transgressions or do they never come to his attention?

ODYSSEAS’ most vicious attack on the man he regards as the big-eared Cyclops was during his appearance before the Co-op investigating committee when he accused Harris of lying, keeping the council of ministers in the dark, ignoring the EU recommendations, appointing his friend and more.
Harris would do well borrowing Kenneth Williams’ cry in the Carry on Cleo film – “Infamy. Infamy. The auditor-general has got it in for me.”

But even the co-op attack may have been welcomed by Nik as it placed all the blame for the collapse of the bank on Harris while giving the impression our prez had zero responsibility. As Odysseas told the committee, Harris had kept the cabinet in the dark about what he was doing at the co-op, implying the prez had no part in the fiasco.

THERE was no tweet by Odysseas congratulating his sister for very recently landing a highly-paid job at the interior ministry probably fearing that some mean-spirited people who do not recognise his moral perfection would have accused him of engaging in rusfeti.

His sister, a Cyta employee, applied for the senior post on the A14 pay-scale that was advertised by the ministry and after a rigorous procedure was deemed the best candidate for the job despite a plethora of highly-qualified candidates. I am certain it was beneath Odysseas to pick up the phone to ask for any favours and his sister got the job strictly on merit as the best candidate.

And I am certain that the sister’s appointment will not exempt interior minister Constantinos Petrides from getting the Harris treatment and feeling the full force of Odysseas’ righteous rage if he puts a foot wrong in performing his ministerial duties.

The public service is turning into the family business of the Michaelides clan (Odysseas’ dad was also a public servant), which may explain why Odysseas gets so angry when he sees money being wasted and rusfeti being carried out. It is no way to run a family business.

THE CAMPAIGN by Phil to make foreign minister Nicos Christodoulides into Makarios IV was given another boost last Wednesday by a grovelling article penned by the paper’s editor Giorgos Kallinikou who presented the ultra-ambitious Paphite as the Mother Teresa of diplomacy.

Back in May Kallinikou had written a story about a Cypriot mother suffering the ordeal of her 12-year-old son being trapped in war-ravaged Syria with his Syrian father unable to return to Cyprus. He had been trapped there since 2012, first his father refusing to bring him back and subsequently the Cypriot authorities refusing to grant him a visa so he could return with the boy.

When the hack informed Christodoulides about the mother’s ordeal the minister invited her to his office with the hack to see how he could help. He was “extremely human, without the slightest hint of condescension,” and “offered the greatest possible psychological support.”

The “struggle to bring the boy back continued from May until a few days ago, with Christodoulides personally following the case,” wrote Kallinikou. Unfortunately the struggle was not successful and the boy is still in Syria, but this “takes nothing away from the behaviour of the politician, and primarily the human, Nicos Christodoulides.”
At a time when politcians’ actions and behaviour are seen negatively by society, “glowing exceptions must be recorded,” declared Kallinikou. God help Kyproulla if the self-promoting, self-serving Paphite that constantly tweets pictures of himself and has hacks eating from his hand is the glowing exception.

Prez Nik making his point in Salzburg, or possibly someone else’s

PREZ NIK made significant contribution at Wednesday night’s dinner of the EU leaders in Salzburg, reported Tass news agency. Government spokesman Prodromos Prodromou said that at the dinner “the President of the Republic had the opportunity to propose a summit between the EU and Arab world, with special mention of Egypt.”

Was it his proposal? On the morning of the same day the President of the European Council Donald Tusk was quoted as saying: “Tonight I will ask for support for our efforts to intensify cooperation with North African countries and the idea of calling an EU-League of Arab States summit in Egypt in February next year.”

At a press briefing on the same day Austrian Chancellor Sebastian Kurz also spoke about tackling the migration crisis by talking to transit countries. “In that respect, it is important to talk to North African countries and Egypt,” he said. In Kyproulla people will be thinking that the EU summit actually adopted Nik’s proposal.

HAVING failed to persuade his comrades to make him their presidential candidate in the last elections, despite hardening his position on the Cyprob, Akel MEP Takis Hadjigeorgiou has begun his search for a job. There are elections at the European Parliament next year and Akel has a two-term limit for its MEPs, so Takis has begun his search for a public post from which to carry on selflessly serving the people.

Rumours reaching the Coffeeshop say that he has opened a channel of communication with Prez Nik in the hope of being offered a public post next year. He does not consider his ideology an obstacle as it is pretty flexible nor is he as strongly opposed to rusfeti as Odysseas. He may have asked Mother Russia, the interests of which he always supports at the European Parliament, to put in a good word for him as Nik always listens to Moscow.

NIK AND his human foreign minister are off to the Big Apple this week to attend the UN General Assembly. In the city that never sleeps, Nik will meet the UNSG Antonio Guterres to inform him the outcome of his 14 months of contemplation on the Cyprob.

He will tell him that after contemplation of the Cyprob every single day since July 2017 he reached the conclusion that he would go to another conference on condition this was well-prepared and proper preparation would require a resumption of open-ended talks that never reach a conclusion.

Meanwhile, Makarios IV has been telling everyone that the objective in New York was to avert a deadlock. How is he going to avert something that has been in place for the last 14 months? He said the prez would propose certain ideas relating to the procedure that could avert the deadlock. But there has been no procedure for 14 months because of the deadlock we want to avert, by relating to the procedure.

If this makes no sense, I suggest you call Christodoulides for a meeting at his office where he will explain everything “in an extremely human way and without the slightest hint of condescension.”

His beatitude Makarios IV


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