On 28 June, an article of mine was published in the Sunday Mail and in Alithia, under the title “We are alright, thank you”. I must admit that the response I got was impressive and in numerous cases readers went to the trouble of writing letters. Because the following four comments had something which made them stand out but also because their content expresses a pain and a concern, which I share (each one from a different perspective), I got their permission to publish them.
Stelios Anastasiades, communications consultant, Nicosia: We are not alright. I liked the article very much. It was clear, to the point and threw enough cold water on our faces to wake us up.
Erdem Erginel, Lawyer, Kyrenia: The Greek Cypriots, who share your views (and, in particular, those expressed in the last paragraph of your article), present hope for the Turkish Cypriot community. A better future for all Cypriots can be created by the cooperation and joint action of the progressive and enlightened members of the two communities. I see such cooperation as the only road leading to a better Cyprus..
Lakis Zavallis, entrepreneur-environmentalist, Nicosia: In your article (We are alright, thank you), once again, you set out in simple language and by means of good examples, the dramatic choices confronting the Greek Cypriots today. Regrettably, the majority of our compatriots and almost all our politicians do not really understand what the real options we have are. In practice, these people invariably address the problem with flamboyant slogans that sound very nice but have no practical impact on the political situation.
This situation, in a way, reminds me of the tragic period of 1972-74, when we believed that we had the upper hand – in political as well as in military terms – and our leadership was unwilling to seek an honourable settlement with the Turkish Cypriots, even when most of our initial demands had been satisfied. Within a short period of time, our internal conflicts and the lack of a strategic objective led us into the July of 1974 events.
In a very similar fashion we focus today on grandiose declarations relating to bilateral and multilateral alliances, setting aside the Guterres proposals that probably represent the last opportunity we have to resolve the problem. Instead, we generally fire bullets in the direction of the European Union and the United Nations, personally at Ms Spehar and, more recently, at Ms Merkel.
At the same time, we systematically avoid giving even the slightest indication that we are concerned about the passage of time without holding any discussions with the Turkish Cypriot side. Our leaders do not even dare to talk about the vision and the benefits of a solution, despite the fact that they had formally undertaken the commitment to do so, in the presence of the UN secretary general.
I must admit that I have always wondered how the Cyprus public, a large segment of which has credible academic qualifications and the ability to think rationally, can remain so apathetic when it comes to the future of our homeland.
Panayiotis (Takis) Zaphiropoulos, ex-president of the Greek Accounting Oversight Board, Athens: Your article has shocked and moved me. I believe that you will never be able to write on this issue anything which will contain more pain and concern about the prospect of the further contraction of Cyprus’ Greek elements.
What you write is the bare truth, which every Cypriot and every Greek, who does not wish his children and grandchildren to inherit an amputated Cyprus, must confront today.
We have placed our future in the hands of “others” and we exclusively rely on the hope that “better days” will ultimately come. In other words, we have voluntarily abdicated our responsibility to take the lead in shaping our own future. Unfortunately, as the poet says, “opening doors when there is a pressing need to do so, is not an easy task”.
The Cypriot and Greek politicians must find and, more importantly, must take practical steps to resolve the problem now. Tomorrow it will be too late and the day-after-tomorrow it will serve no purpose to address the question: “whose fault was it?”
I honestly wanted to publish one to two letters written by people who disagree with me. Unfortunately, I felt that this was unfeasible because, not only these letters were mostly written by people hiding behind the mask of anonymity and probably on the payroll of organisations serving interests that are alien to Cyprus, but they were also full of abusive phrases and derogatory comments. What I find strange is that these self-described “super-patriots” have the guts to claim that they speak on behalf of the majority of Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, respectively; a claim that they never bother to substantiate. The problem which we face in Cyprus is a problem of survival, and it deserves a better dialogue to that which we often come across in the social networking media but also in the columns of certain publications.
Christos Panayiotides, columnist