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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Martial law and the olive pickers


Martial law has arrived – police road-blocks, curfews, documentation to drive in and out of the 21st century leper colonies of Paphos and Limassol (and PCR test from Wednesday) which have been turned into giant prisons by government decree.

The only places you can now catch Covid-19 in these districts are the supermarkets because everything else has been shut down, including the churches. The lockdown will last until the end of the month, even though there would not be too many people protesting if Paphos was kept in lockdown and Paphites were banned from leaving their district for a year or two. If only there was a decree forcing Paphite politicians back to their birthplace as well.

The government decision to lockdown the two districts was probably epidemiologically justified because they have for some time had the most infections per hundred thousand, accounting for 70 per cent of the island’s infections and most of the recent deaths. The question everyone is asking is, why are infections so high in Limassol and Paphos?

Have the citizens not been washing their hands often enough, have they not been wearing their face masks, or have they been ignoring the safe distance diktat because they have no sense of personal space? Perhaps they are more touchy-feely and have the need to get close to other people, even if they do not know them, or they may be more rebellious and unwilling to follow the rules. For the buttoned-up, conservative Nicosia folk, keeping a safe distance from others is something they do naturally, hence the fewer infections.


TRITO’s morning radio show had the police spokesman answering questions about the decrees from listeners. Some came up with the most unusual scenarios for needing to travel to Limassol, but the most common question related to olives, presumably because this must be the oil-picking season. “Will I be permitted to go and pick my olives from my field?” was a recurring question, to which the answer was not straightforward. The potential olive picker would have to be registered with some farming association and provide a title deed to the field where his olive trees were and probably have to donate a litre of olive oil to the police association. It is not just our personal liberty that is being threatened by Covid-19, but also the olive crop.


WE WILL know there is an Allah if it pisses down with rain all day on Sunday when the megalomaniac ruler of Turkey Erdogan and his circus goes to the fenced area of Varosha for his planned picnic to mark the 37th pseudo-anniversary of the pseudo-declaration of the pseudo-state. There will also be a military parade which would also benefit from a heavy downpour.

The Cyprus government on Saturday issued another announcement about the visit saying it was an “unprecedented provocation”. I think it is high time we found another word for describing Turkey’s actions and declarations, because ‘provocation’ and its derivatives have been so abused they have lost their meaning and impact.

The CyBC copy-pastes ‘provocative’ (proklitikos) to describe every Turkish official that opens his mouth while every Turkish action is a ‘provocation’ (proklisi) which they are most of the time, but is there not another noun or adjective in the Greek language they can use to describe it?

The government, the parties and all the media also use it, provocatively betraying their limited vocabulary.


EVERYONE seems to have realised that Erdogan is not bluffing about opening the fenced area of Varosha and are demanding action. The party leaders met Prez Nik on Wednesday to discuss whether he should attend to proposed, informal, five-party meeting on the Cyprob and predictably the loony fringe parties all expressed their objection.

They all agreed that this was not the right time to go to a conference, with Turkey provocatively insisting that a two-state solution should be put on the table. The implication was that we should wait for the time when Turkey will be ready to discuss reunification under the Cyprus Republic with majority rule and the return of all refugees to their homes.


STRANGELY, the leaders’ council did not deem it necessary to discuss the impending opening of Varosha by the Turks and how we would it prevent it from happening.

Why had Nik not asked for the suggestions of the party leaders, who have all the patriotic answers, about how we would avert the opening of the fenced area and make Turkey respect UN resolutions on the town.

The loony leaders simply used the opening of Varosha as an argument for not going to talks – we cannot negotiate when plans are afoot to open Varosha is the line – something that will not only guarantee the cementing of the two-state solution they allegedly oppose, but also end the last glimmer of hope of a return of Varosha.

The uber-patriots over the years averted the ‘Famagustisation’ of the Cyprob which they fanatically fought against, because it was unpatriotic and thus led us to the Turkification of Famagusta. It will go down as another glowing achievement of our courageously uncompromising struggle for vindication.


ALL IS not lost because the loser leaders of Edek and Alliance, Lillikas and Sizopoulos have decided to join forces in an ‘anti-bizonal front’ that rejects BBF and will fight for settlement of the Cyprob based on one state and one people. Why had nobody thought of this before?

Probably because they had not moved permanently to cloud-cuckoo land like the two deluded leaders of steadily contracting parties. The conditions said Lillikas were right for the establishment of “a strong anti-bizonal front that has a special significance in the current conditions and expected developments in the Cyprus issue”.

Now I would join the anti-bizonal front tomorrow if the two loons called the front ‘Ein Reich, Ein Volk, Zwei Fuhrers.’


THE ISSUE of temperatures in the classroom continues to be Kyproulla’s number one educational issue. Having debated the lack of air-conditioning in public schools to death as a society in the previous six months, we have now found a new topic for the education debate.

With health protocols stipulating that doors and windows of classrooms stay open, there are concerns children will be cold because the heating will be ineffective. How kids will survive Kyproulla’s Arctic winter with classroom doors and windows open, is the big question.

Younger children could be given blankets, it was suggested at the House education committee on Thursday and minister Prodromou went along with it, not wanting to be vilified for showing insensitivity to the prospect of children suffering from hypothermia in the classroom.


BLANKETS was one of the few stupid ideas not thought up by the parents’ associations whose commitment to classroom temperature control cannot be doubted. Paphos and Limassol parents are now more concerned because their kids in the third form of lyceum (graduation class) will be disadvantaged in the final year exams.

In Limassol and Paphos, third form lyceum kids will be obliged to have 10 days of classes through distance learning, whereas in all the other districts students will carry on going to school, thus having an advantage in the final year exams, say the parents’ associations of the districts. These people have a say in the shaping of public school education policy.

ARCHBISHOP Chrys has bowed to the pressure of the four Bishops that are provocatively acting like agents of the Russian Orthodox Church in its dispute with the Ecumenical Patriarch over the recognition of the Ukrainian Orthodox Church.

After the public criticism he received for his decision to bless Bishop Epiphanios of the Ukraine Orthodox Church in Cyprus church services without consulting the Holy Synod, he has decided to call a Synod meeting. Chrys has sided with the Ecumenical Patriarch and the Church of Greece which recognised Ukraine and angered the Moscow Patriarchate which is controlled by President Putin.

What is astonishing is that the patriotic camp has been siding with the four Moscow-leaning bishops taking Russia’s side against the Greek Ecumenical Patriarch and the Greek Church. Normally, when anyone takes the side of another country in dispute with Greece, the patriots are baying for his blood accusing him of high treason.

It seems when the choice is between Greece and Mother Russia, we choose Mother Russia, because it has many more generous oligarchs, not to mention its principled stand on the Cyprob.

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