Nicosia is one of five cities around the world featured in a new global documentary series launched by The Guardian on Thursday.
According to the newspaper, the series is an effort to rethink division from a new perspective, which meant avoiding some quite well-covered cities such as Belfast and Jerusalem “a place as thick with history as it is with journalists”.
Instead, The Guardian team started in Nicosia, as the paper says “with the UN-patrolled barricade that cleaves the island of Cyprus into a mostly Greek Cypriot south and Turkish Cypriot north. The story that seized us most strongly there, however, was new: a young generation who didn’t experience the war, and who reject the military conscription that requires them to point guns at their friends across what is now an shabby, overgrown buffer zone.”
In Africa, the focus was on Melilla, a Spanish outpost in north Africa, separated from Morocco by a fence.
Havana was chosen because though it lacks a physical barrier, it has a “bizarre system of two currencies”: one for the socialist state sector, which pays the salaries of doctors and other civil servants; and one for the newly booming private sector.
In the USA, other divisions exist. Memphis, Tennessee is a place where many neighbourhoods lack what seems a basic right in richer neighbourhoods – a supermarket – a ‘food desert’ in the land of plenty.
The fifth episode depicts the situation in Delhi, where more than a hundred residents died as a result of heat and pollution in the summer, while others can protect themselves via air purifiers and air conditioning.
“None of these divisions is carved in stone. In each city, we found irrepressible people who don’t just passively accept their fate”, The Guardian noted. One example mentioned in the documentary are the young Nicosians willing to face prison rather than take up arms against other teenagers on the opposite side of the divide.