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Tales from the Coffeeshop: Avoiding responsibility, what we always do best

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THE DEMO against corruption and the Covid restrictions that took place in Nicosia on Saturday afternoon was crushed by the cops, as you would expect in any self-respecting police state. According to an eyewitness, there were as many cops as there were protestors and the officers of the law were particularly forceful in dealing with the lawbreakers, whom they chased all over the place. The cops had even brought their water-cannon truck to use against the protestors who were not more than a few hundred.

Several people were arrested, but it is unclear whether it was on the grounds that they were attending a gathering decreed illegal by the police state, or because they had not received SMS authorisation to be out on the street. They were all wearing face masks, according to our man on the scene, but they did not keep the two-metre distance from each other, which may be the reason the police got even closer to them to arrest them.

I must admit I considered going on the demo to protest against the government’s handling of the pandemic (not against corruption), but changed my mind when I saw the list of loony leftist groups taking part, such as Antifa Aradippou, Antifa Lefkosa, Workers’ Democracy, Animal Liberation Cyprus, Movement Against Foreclosures, New Internationalist Left etc.

I know that most of these are joke, one-member groups, but I just could not risk my neo-liberal reputation being tarnished by being seen rubbing shoulders with members of Antifa Aradippou.

 

OUR ESTABLISHMENT received a rather vicious letter from an irate reader, slamming P. It said: “Your exhortation to flout, in illegality, the measures that protect those less privileged in their state of health or material comfort than yourself, has gone beyond any bounds of decency.”

The reader, who said he had been following the Coffeeshop for 29 years added: “You have the gall to incite readers to illegally ignore such measures just as any spoiled Cypriot kid would do if their favourite mantra were proven wrong,” and concluded thus:

“Man-up and admit that your ‘libertarian’ crusade has been misguided, as proven by the real-life results, or else wallow in your ‘kaimaki’ forever more. I will not find out because I will avoid reading your now extremist column, forthwith.”

The members of the Branch Covidian, apart from applauding our state for placing us under house arrest and demanding we request permission to be let out, consider anyone questioning this policy as an extremist. Even civil disobedience or public protest is not permitted in the era of Covid democracy as the comrades of Antifa Aradippou found out on Saturday afternoon.

 

SPEAKING of Covid, Mother Russia’s ambassador Stanislav Osadchiy turned salesman for the Russian vaccine Sputnik V last week. In an interview with Tass news agency, Cyprus branch, he gave a sales pitch that a used car salesman would have envied, saying the overall effectiveness of Sputnik V was 91.6 per cent while for those over 60 it was 91.8 per cent.

The Russian vaccine, said the ambassador, with the authority of a pharmaceuticals expert, would be effective even against new coronavirus variants, while immunity could last longer than two years. The Tass news agency reporter, who conducted the interview, did not think of asking the ambassador for a comment about the three-year imprisonment of Alexei Navalny, for violating the terms of his parole – he was in a German hospital recovering from poisoning with a Novichok nerve agent. Somehow I doubt Navalny would ever agree to be vaccinated with Sputnik V, despite its 91.6 per cent efficacy.

 

AVOIDING any responsibility, personal or collective, is something very few countries do as adeptly as us natives of Kyproulla. I do not have the academic expertise to offer the reasons for the culture of passing the buck that pervades our country, but we witnessed it again on Friday when different state services were all declaring they had no responsibility for the family tragedy at Ergates.

The problem for the state services is that they do not have the fallback position available to politicians when they mess up. They cannot blame Turkish intransigence, British duplicity or the double standards of the EU for their failure, as the politicians have always done with great success. Prez Nik walked out of Crans-Montana, having told Mevlut Cavusoglu that a federation was unattainable and proposing a two-state solution, but he is now blaming the Turks for wanting a two-state solution.

And nobody seems to think he is blame for Turkey banging on about the two states. When he walked out of the talks in 2017, he blamed Turkish intransigence and that was it. Now, he wants the talks to resume where they were left off in Crans-Montana but nobody has asked why he walked out if the talks were at a desirable point. It is because Turkish intransigence is a constant in the Cyprob narrative that can always be cited by a politician to justify his blunders.

 

NOW OUR negotiator, the smarmy Mavroyiannis, is complaining because the UN keeps putting back the holding of the informal five-party conference, that most political parties do not want Nik to attend anyway because there would be traps.

He said the government was ‘not satisfied’ with the delay, behind which it could see Turkish expediencies (not intransigence this time). Surely, we should not complain, bearing in mind Prez Nik only just started the consultations with the constitutional experts that will help him discover what type of settlement he actually wants.

Under the circumstances, he seems to have been a bit rash in announcing that he wants the talks to be based on the Guterres framework, (having accepted that there was only one framework and that the second one he insisted was the valid one did not actually exist). What if the constitutional experts advise him that he should opt for a settlement that is incompatible with the framework?

He can always blame Turkish intransigence for refusing to deviate from the Guterres framework.

 

SHE MAY be the most stylish minister we have ever had but she is also a walking PR bomb that detonates as soon as she opens her mouth in public. Justice minister Emily Yiolitis did it with the Politis columnist that she threatened with a libel suit, and then she detonated the big one, by reporting to the police the parody twitter account ‘Lady Emily Kardashian Duchess of Yiolou.’

Every time she spoke about it, she made matters worse, but this week she set off another bomb, when she decided to speak about the matter to the Trito radio show. It was a monumentally stupid move, considering the matter had disappeared from the news for 10 days, while she was recovering from surgery.

But on Wednesday, not only did she revive it, but she also infuriated the police command, by claiming that entering the home of the person believed to be behind the Twitter account had been a “disproportionate action” by the police! A few hours later she had to issue a corrective statement, saying the police had followed the standard procedure handling her complaint. Did the justice minister not know the standard procedure followed by the force she is in charge of?

It was her way of avoiding responsibility. The police were to blame for raiding the home of the teacher but her attempt to pass the buck backfired. If only she could blame Turkish intransigence, everyone would believe her.

 

IT GETS worse for her. On Friday, CyBC television compared the speedy police response to the minister’s complaint about the Twitter account with the failure of the police to do anything about the complaint they had received from the sister of the woman killed by her husband in Ergates.

A few days earlier Yiolitis’ partner, the sunshine boy of Sigma TV, Chrysanthos Tsouroullis, decided to defend her by claiming on his Twitter account that Akel was behind the parody account. This sparked a flood of abusive and vicious comments, most of them probably coming from Akelites. The couple seem to be going out of its way to lose friends and alienate people.

Yiolitis would do well to hire the communications advisors of our European Commissioner Stella Kyriakides, who may have become the target of the nasty German media for her handling of the purchase of vaccines for the EU, but in Kyproulla we are still seeing glowing reports on telly telling us that she is receiving praise from Chancellor Merkel among others for her sterling work.

 

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