Cyprus Mail

Time to call it like it is

Your columnist Alper Ali Riza puts the case for devolution of power for a settlement of the Cyprob. I do not see how he thinks this type of settlement suits our island. It’s two communities have lived apart since 1963 and I don’t believe there is sufficient will or trust between them for what he is  suggesting.

Since 1983 when the north declared UDI, the issue of separate neighbouring states has been staring us in the face.

For me it all started on April 1, 1955 when a group of Greek Cypriots started an  armed struggle against their Colonial masters Britain for  Enosis with Greece. Inevitably, this created a rift between the two communities because the Turkish Cypriots clearly opposed this.

Seven decades later I often ask some of my then GC classmates as to what would have been the benefits of Enosis at the time. Without exception they all give me the same response. With hindsight it is not something that they would readily do now. What they also acknowledge is that the Enosis struggle not only alienated their own GC compatriots on the left – Akel – but also the Turkish Cypriots and to a lesser degree the Cypriot Armenians, Latins and Maronites. There were daily curfews which would be unfamiliar to a lot of your younger readers. During certain hours of the day and night we had to stay indoors. My family along with about fifty other Cypriot Armenian families emigrated mainly to the UK and other countries to escape the explosions, the shootings and the curfews in the 1950s.

I was in my early teens when the Enosis struggle began and I clearly remember the friction between the GC and TC students in my school, the American Academy Larnaca. When the Greek flag was visible high up on one of the huge cypress trees in the school grounds, it was a symbol for the  GC students  not to attend classes. They would be ‘encouraged’ to join the street demonstrations shouting for Enosis and carrying Greek flags. Demonstrations were held on most days and disrupted classes particularly in mixed community schools. GCs were the overwhelming majority in our mixed school and the headmaster had no option but to cancel classes for the day. This seriously affected our education and that’s when my parents decided to take drastic action and our family of five emigrated to London.

I would love  a settlement along the lines of what my compatriot Alper Ali Riza is suggesting, but unfortunately I could not see that ever happening. It’s about time it was realised by both sides that if a closure of the Cyprob is desired, compromises ought to be considered. Both communities must realise that it’s too late in the day for a ‘partnership state’. This was tried a very long time ago in 1960 and that it only lasted three years.

It’s time to make the present unofficial two-state island official. The north and south are and have been two separate functioning states for over 35 years. I know the RoC is the only internationally recognised state.

Alternatively, carry on seeking a ‘a workable solution’ for another 50 years.

Nazaret Shamlian, London,UK

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