GOVERNMENT celebrations of a few months ago concerning legislation before the US Senate to lift the decades-long US arms embargo on Kyproulla turned into a lament on Wednesday when our Prez read the amendment that was added to the bill.
According to the amendment the US president would have to certify to the appropriate congressional committees every year that “the government of the Republic of Cyprus has made and is continuing to take the steps necessary to deny Russian military vessels access to ports for refueling and servicing”.
Prez Nik was put in a bit of a fix. His foreign minister’s multi-dimensional foreign policy, which envisaged Kyproulla as a loyal and obedient ally of both Russia and the US, was thrown into disarray. The trouble was that in 2015 he had signed an agreement with President Putin giving Russian military vessels access to Cyprus ports for refueling and servicing.
What was he going to tell his friend Putin now? That he can’t honour the agreement he signed four years ago because the Yanks made him an offer he couldn’t refuse. My guess is that he will do no such thing, as his instinct will tell him not to piss off Putin. Russian military vessels will continue to dock here which means the US arms embargo will stay in place. Not a problem, considering there was no plan to buy US weaponry.
How naïve Nik and Nikos have been thinking Kyproulla could enter a strategic cooperation with the US without any conditions being imposed by the superpower on the midget country.
IN AN attempt to appease Mother Russia, Nik said he was saddened by the amendment, which he felt was “unfortunate” and “affects the independence and sovereignty of the Republic of Cyprus to a large extent”. What was he going to do about it? Report the US Senate to the UN for violating the Republic’s sovereignty through an “unfortunate” amendment?
He would have been more believable if he had stood at the podium and sang Mary MacGregor’s 1976 number one hit ‘Torn between two lovers’, which is Kyproulla’s current predicament. As the chorus goes, “Torn between two lovers, feeling like a fool, loving both of you, is breaking all the rules.”
He could then address Mother Russia with more lyrics from this terrible song. “You mustn’t think you failed me, just because there’s someone else, you were the first real love I ever had, and all the things I ever said, I swear…”
Kyproulla now has a problem for she never knew when she jumped into bed with her new, strategic love interest that he would demand exclusivity in an era of free love and multi-dimensional diplomacy.
THINKING about the main argument used by our Prez and his foreign minister to dismiss accusations that the Cyprob was discussed at the Nik-Kudret social dinner that was not secret, I was surprised that nobody picked up the overt sexism.
What Nik said and was repeated by Nikos was that the presence of the wives was in effect proof that the Cyprob had not been discussed. Why? Is the Cyprob an X-rated subject that is not discussed in the presence of ladies? Or perhaps they were suggesting it was too serious and complex an issue for the female brain and its discussion at the dinner table would exclude the wives from the conversation?
Whichever way you look at it, the argument, apart from being pretty lame, was insulting to the women at the dinner table. While you would expect this type of sexism from Prez Nik, who is an unreconstructed male of the older generation and untouched by concepts of sexual equality, there is no excuse for his much younger foreign minister. Despite being a Paphite he is a modern man with an expertise in caressing everyone’s ears when speaking publicly.
Perhaps the silk-tongued Nikos Christodoulides, who has attained the role of Mr Perfect, calculated there would be no backlash from women’s groups about his remark; he was right. He may have had some explaining to do to his own wife, a foreign ministry hawk and arch-rejectionist who’s currently in charge of the Prez’s diplomatic office and in whose presence I am certain the Cyprob is regularly discussed.
NOW THAT another school year is over, the secondary school teachers’ union Oelmek has been coming up with new ideas to deflect attention away from the unstoppable decline of public education standards. It does not want anyone talking about the new record of failure set this year in national exams in case its members are blamed.
Last week’s conference of Oelmek representatives approved a resolution on “Issues of Safety and Health/Violence and Delinquency”, creating the impression that this was the biggest problem facing public schools rather than the free-fall in education standards. The conference expressed “particular concern about the unchanging number of violent incidents” and especially the “extreme incidents of violence by students against other students but also against teachers”.
There were no figures to give us an idea of the extent of the exaggeration about the violence, but the union’s project fear did not end there. The resolution also said there was “a surge in crime and particularly incidents that were linked with the illegal sale of addictive substances”. They also noted “serious social problems, such as the easy access to and use of addictive substances and excess consumption of alcohol that led uncontrollable behaviour”.
I can’t help thinking that all this exaggeration, unsupported by any figures, is aimed at frightening parents, and making them feel eternally grateful to teachers as long as their kids do not become drug addicts, drunken delinquents or victims of extreme incidents of violence while at school.
That kids will leave public school uneducated because their teachers are rubbish does not matter as long as they are in one piece and avoid heroin and cocaine addiction.
WARNINGS about the “use of addictive substances” was a pitifully transparent attempt by Oelmek to step up project fear that presents public schools as drug dens plagued by violence in which kids are too stoned to learn anything.
Some schoolkids might smoke marijuana, which happens in secondary schools all over Europe, but reference to the “use of addictive substances” implied they were into heavy drugs like heroin and crack.
The union also mentioned that teaching staff at a series of schools had been the target of threats and attacks by criminal elements when they tried to prevent outsiders entering schools. “It is tragic that the police authorities did not take effective action to protect teachers,” said the resolution, which “identifies a huge chasm between primary and secondary education in relation with the handling of cases of violence and delinquency”.
Oelmek’s resolution offers the solution. “With the timely prevention and correct dealing with incidents of violence, during pre-primary and primary education the possibilities are reduced of students displaying similar behaviour when they get older.”
Are there cases of violence which need policing in primary and pre-primary schools, perpetrated by four, five and six-year-olds beating up each other as well as their teachers? At least they are not using addictive substances in pre-primary. If they were, Oelmek would have informed us.
WILL public school teachers seek an extra day off next year for missing out on the public holiday declared on Tuesday for the funeral of Demetris Christofias? They were already on holiday and did not benefit like the rest of the public parasites who did not have to go to work in order to mourn the passing of the former president at the beach; they weren’t at the funeral.
I blame Prez Nik, for the over-the-top honouring of Comrade Tof. Not only had he declared four days of mourning, he ordered a state funeral, with the honours afforded to a serving president and a public holiday on the day. The calculating Nik had only one purpose – to ingratiate himself with the communist masses by showing their former leader fawning respect.
The newspapers were not much better, publishing embarrassingly hagiographic obituaries as if Tof was a great statesman. Understandably, they did not want to speak ill of the dead, but lavishing praise on a president who drove the state to bankruptcy because he had died was plain hypocrisy.
Meanwhile the Cyprus Football Association announced on Thursday that it had decided unanimously to dedicate the Super Cup 2019 match, between the league champions and the cup winners, to the memory of Demetris Christofias, “a friend of football”.
Now we need to find a stadium to name after him, because giving his name to a few streets and avenues is not be an adequate show of gratitude for his service to the country.
THERE was no hypocrisy in the tribute paid to his former comrade by the Russian ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy who said that the death of Christofias was a great loss for Cyprus as well as for Russia after he signed the book of condolences.
He also said, according to Cyprus’ Tass news agency, that the deceased was a friend of Russia, a gross understatement. “He will stay in our memory forever because such people who are real politicians are worth a lot,” said Osadchiy, stressing that “for us this is a big loss.”
Now just consider if when Glafcos Clerides died the US ambassador declared that his passing was a big loss for the US, what Akelites would be saying. That he was an agent and that he represented American interests, citing this as confirmation of what they were always saying when he was alive.
Serving the interests of the Soviet Union and subsequently of Russia, in contrast, is an act of pure patriotism.
I LOVED the big Cyprob news of the week. Prez Nik wrote a letter to the UN secretary-general to complain about Turkey’s actions in our EEZ, demand a resumption of talks and support the need to extend Unficyp’s presence on the island, which is up for discussion at the UN Security Council next month. We hope, Russia, which has always supported the extension of the Unficyp mandate, will not change policy now that it has found out about Kyproulla’s infidelity.