Cyprus Mail
OpinionTales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: welcome to the world of Big Brother

Edek leader Marinos Sizopoulos

OUR CIVIL liberties that are being eroded in the name of the war against the invisible enemy were further restricted last Monday when Prez Nik announced the new government decrees barring all movement without state authorisation.

“We are at war, a war that can only be won if we stay in our shelters,” he said. Nik sounded more like an angry headmaster than an inspiring war leader when delivering his televised address, which this time started on promptly.

The reason we had to stay in our shelters he said was because, despite the existing measures and sacrifices, “a minority exhibited irresponsible and undisciplined behaviour, and this was why measures would be implemented from tomorrow at 6pm until 13/4.” He was referring to the large numbers of people in the parks and beaches at the weekend, despite government instructions for everyone to stay at home.

It was rather severe punishment of all of us for the undisciplined behaviour of the minority. Why had he decided to punish the disciplined and responsible majority for the misbehaviour of the naughty few? It was a disciplinary measure from the 50s – Costakis and Yiannakis were naughty in the classroom so the whole class will stay in detention after school.

The truth is that the martial law measure was going to be imposed by Nik anyway, and the previous weekend’s bad behaviour was just a cheap excuse for justifying it. Did he not know that in a time of war, the leader does not have to justify decisions for protecting the nation?


AS FAR as I know, no presidential address is scheduled for Monday night, so for the time being there is no danger that the list of reasons for leaving the house will be cut or the use of cars will be banned, because of the irresponsible behaviour of a minority who drive around town without state permission, because they want to get out of their shelter.

The newly-appointed deputy minister of research, innovation and digital policy, Kyriakos Kokkinos (another KK in the government), who is in charge of the digital system granting permission to leave your shelter, warned on a radio show that the system could record the number of times per day each person applies to go out and place restrictions if someone was overdoing it.

That will probably feature in the next presidential address, but for now there is a way of going out without Big Brother KK knowing about it. You can just print forms at home and fill them in whenever you want to go out, a concession made by the state to people that cannot send an SMS to Big Brother for permission to go to the supermarket.


THE BRITISH satirical magazine Private Eye has a regular item entitled ‘Luvvies’, which mocks the words of earnestness, sensitivity, positiveness and pretentiousness of actors. Kyproulla’s luvvies decided to do their own bit in the war against the invisible enemy by posting pleas to stay at home.

In a report carried by Tass news agency, we were informed that “prominent actors stepped down from the stage because of the coronavirus, but not from the social media networks, with a preference for Facebook.” It said the “prominent actress Popi Avraam placed under her photo the message in the Cypriot dialect ‘minisko esso’ (I stay home).”

Luvvy, Valentina Sophocleous, who was not referred to as prominent, put up a longer post, which said: “We stay at home and listen only to the experts, while we have individual responsibility for the collective good.” Should we heed her advice, considering she is no expert herself? As a luvvy, however, she is an expert on what constitutes the collective good.


SPEAKING of experts, I really do not understand what expertise the president of the patients’ association, Marios Kouloumas possesses, to appear as a regular pundit on the Trito radio show commenting on health issues.

Before the appearance of the coronavirus, Kouloumas would be invited on as a Gesy expert on the pretext that he would give the view of the patients. But why is he invited to speak (three times in the last 10 days) about the coronavirus-related matters such as the government’s measures, the problems faced at the hospitals and health equipment?

What is the guy’s expertise apart from being chronically ill? I am presuming he is chronically ill because if he is not, how could he be the leader of the patients’ association? And does being a long-term patient qualify him to speak with any authority about coronavirus? It is not even as if there are any coronavirus patients that are members of his association that he could claim to represent.


EDEK leader, Dr Sizopoulos wrote to the minister of health on Friday to tell him what drugs to give to people that had been struck by the coronavirus. The medical team of the health ministry that was handling the pandemic had not proceeded with the treatment that entails the use of two specific drugs – hydroxychloroquine, a malaria drug, and azithromycin.

“Through my long experience as a doctor I assure you that the two drugs are absolutely safe and show no side-effects…” But can they treat coronavirus? Sizopoulos is a dermatologist, who prides himself on being the first person to carry out Botox treatment in Kyproulla, which makes him an authority on advising the government how to cure coronavirus sufferers.

He is not the only expert to claim the malaria drugs are the cure. President Trump has heralded them as ‘a game changer’, even though US health experts have still to establish their effectiveness.


PUBLIC parasites’ union Pasydy took great exception to the employers’ federation OEV’s suggestion that there should be a horizontal pay cut in the broader public sector to help state finances in these difficult times when the government was spending large amounts of money to protect jobs. 

These suggestions were dismissed as “untimely, provocative and unacceptable” in a Pasydy announcement which said it was “inconceivable at a time the government with the full support of the public service was battling the coronavirus pandemic, for OEV to be beating drums of division.” 

This was a lie. The overwhelming majority of the public parasites have been working from home and a week ago when the government demanded health and labour ministry employees went to work, Pasydy issued an announcement complaining that this would “put at grave risk the health of citizens”. 

Pasydy called on all its members, “the overwhelming majority of which are on the front line of the fight against the coronavirus” to ignore OEV’s divisive rhetoric. Another lie – the overwhelming majority of parasites are at home, being paid for doing nothing. Here I would like to apologise to the health professionals who are on the frontline, putting their lives at risk, but it is “provocative and unacceptable” for Pasydy to mention them in order claim all its parasitic members are in fighting when they are in fact holed up in their shelters doing what they specialize in – nothing. 


HOW MANY more times will House President Demetris Syllouris offer to abandon plans to build a new legislature so that the €110 million could be used for propping up the economy in these difficult times? The way he presents the matter gives the impression that he is some public benefactor, sacrificing his private property to help the country. He may consider this vanity project as his baby, but someone should inform him that it is not his to give up.


TWO ROMANIANS found walking around in the Asporkremmos area in Paphos were each fined €400 by the Paphos district court on Friday for violating the decree banning unnecessary movement. The speed with which they were charged, taken to court and fined was unprecedented, but the authorities wanted some people to make examples of and frighten the rest of us.

Of course, they had to be foreigners, because Paphite police rarely arrest fellow-Paphites, especially for minor transgressions such as violating the government decree banning movement.


STOP PRESS – I have just read on the Cyprus Mail website that interior minister Nikos Nouris was considering tightening restrictions on movement, because people were abusing the permits. He told Rik that the government was not happy with way people had responded to the latest measures, people not realising that permits should be used only in exceptional cases. Perhaps there is another presidential address in the offing.



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