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Opinion Tales from the Coffeeshop

Tales from the Coffeeshop: Hysteria reaches new heights over semantics

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LACK of perspective and a sense of proportion have always marked the way the drama queen politicians of Kyproulla view the world but they surpassed themselves last week in the hysterical way they reacted to a slogan used at a protest march held last weekend by loony fringe lefties and so-called anarchists in Nicosia.

It was another march under the title ‘Os Dame’ (from Cypriot dialect which literally means ‘up to here’ but would more accurately be translated as ‘no more’ or ‘enough’) and the national crime committed by the unwashed lefties that took part was that they referred to the government as the ‘government of the south.’

They subsequently claimed their slogan had been ‘distorted’ and they had referred to the ‘government in the south,’ but this was only after mass hysteria had taken hold of the political parties and they started issuing fire and brimstone statements slamming the treacherous lefties that were downgrading the Cyprus Republic and working for its ‘de-recognition’.

A disgusted Dr Eleni said “we would not be surprised if relations between (Turkish) jihadists and ‘Os Dame’ were discovered”, which was bit excessive even by her standards, but it was indicative of the toxic climate created by the hysterical defenders of la Republique and exponents of patriotic correctness over such a trivial matter.

 

BEFORE our establishment is accused of undermining/downgrading/disregarding la Republique, we would like to make it very clear we do not identify in any way with greasy-haired Trotskyites in Che Guevara t-shirts and the rest of the loony-left. The question is why are they taken seriously?

Have the parties got nothing more serious to deal with than to issue indignant announcements responding to some lefty losers who nobody with half a brain would take seriously, because they referred to the ‘government in the south’? And did any of these breast-beating politicians actually think la Republique was in danger of being de-recognised, or even downgraded, because of what the demonstrators said?

Even the government jumped on the condemnation bandwagon, its spokesman KK feeling obliged to speak out while in Covid-19 isolation. “We express our great disappointment for that at a critical period, in view of the five-party conference, organised groups of citizens use phraseology about the Cyprus Republic similar to that of the underminers of our state existence.”

What was he suggesting, that Turkey would go to the conference and argue that because ‘Os Dame’ demonstrators referred to the ‘government in the south’ the Cyprus Republic could not be recognised by the UN or anyone else?

 

KK made a very costly blunder in his statement that could be more costly than ‘Os Dame’s’ phraseology – he forgot the adjective ‘informal’ to describe the five-party conference, which is obligatory for our side.

If it is not informal, it is formal, which means la Republique is equated to the pseudo-state, although it is not clear whether this implies the downgrade of the former or the upgrade of the latter. Whichever the case, it was a costly slip that none of the parties picked up even though it could have the same devastating consequences for our country as ‘Os Dame’s’ treasonous reference.

 

SOME parties opened their condemnations with the classic assertion that they support the right of every citizen to demonstrate and to freely express their demands. But the Lillikas Alliance drew a line when reference “offended the dignity of every Greek Cypriot.”

The fledgling DIPA party, under Marios Garoyian, who wants to be all things to all people, said: “We respect the right of anyone to express themselves in any way they choose…. References by organised groups, though, which downgrade the Cyprus Republic are unacceptable and must be condemned.”

In short, the right to free speech is fully respected but cannot be exercised if it offends the dignity of Greek Cypriots as defined by Lillikas or downgrades the Cyprus Republic in Garoyian’s imagination.

ΠτΔ – Επίσκεψη σε εργοστάσιο παραγ
Prez Nik inspecting a halloumi producer on Tuesday

EVERYONE has been milking the registration of halloumi as a PDO (protected designation of origin) so much we will have enough milk to double our halloumi exports. Prez Nik, always looking for something to take credit for, hailed the registration by the EU on Monday as “a milestone day for halloumi/hellim and our country.”

On Tuesday, he upgraded the registration from ‘landmark’ to ‘historic’. “I think yesterday was a truly historic day for Cyprus, especially for the economy, farming, cheesemaking and in general the efforts of the Republic of Cyprus (not the government in the south) to register one of the most important GDP contributors,” he said after a visit to the premises of a halloumi producer in Athienou.

Nobody mentioned that the reason we waited so long – our application for a PDO was made in 2014 – for the historic day to arrive was because Prez Nik was constantly submitting objections to the Commission, refusing to honour the agreement he made with Mustafa Akinci in 2015 in the presence of the President of the Commission Jean-Claude Juncker. Once Nik gave up his attempts to change the agreement, the historic day arrived.

The mystery was how the halloumi producers, who were threatening protest marches because the PDO specs would drastically cut production, joined the celebrations instead of ruining them. We hear their silence was secured by promises of hefty state subsidies.

 

IT WAS not only Nik that took credit for the PDO registration. Both Edek and Diko insisted they played their part by voting against the ratification of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA).

Edek reminded us that “The procedure for the registration of halloumi was speeded up after Edek’s initiative to propose to the House the rejection of CETA.”

Diko spoke ironically about “the sheer coincidence” of the European Commission proceeding with the registration of halloumi after the Cyprus House rejected CETA. “It is obvious to us that the stance of the House in rejecting CETA played a decisive role in the registration of halloumi, after many delays.”

And the conclusion both these combative parties arrived at was that great things are achieved with political assertiveness.

Not everyone agreed with this spin. One paper claimed that it was the efforts of our Health Commissioner Stella Kyriakidou that secured the registration of halloumi. Perhaps it was her commitment to the halloumi registration that did not leave her enough time to sort out the vaccinations for the EU. Halloumi always comes first.

 

WITH the House set to post the names of the PEPs that had their non-performing loans to the co-op restructured or discounted on Monday, two leading Akelites decided to take pre-emptive action on Saturday.

First Bambis Kyritsis, the general-secretary of the Akel union Peo, clarified that the loan with which his name was linked in the auditor-general’s report had been taken out by Peo. His name came up because he was in charge of the union. Kedipes, which ended up with the bad loans reduced the loan (Kyritsis claimed the amount cut came from excessive charges). After the discount – any case of favourable treatment? – the loan was paid off, said Kyritsis.

The second Akelite to issue a ‘clarification’ was former Labour Minister Sotiroulla Charalambous, who according to Odysseas’ report had €10,000 written off her NPL as part of the restructuring. Charalambous said that after she stopped being a minister in 2013 her income as well as her husband’s, a civil servant, had been reduced and they needed to restructure their loan in order to be able to make repayments.

She could have paid off a chunk of the loan with the lump sum bonus she received after ending her service as a minister but the money went to Akel. The lump sum bonus received by Akelites serving in public posts is deposited in the party’s Fund of Colleague Solidarity, as happened in her case. This is political party as pimp. It takes the money earned by its employees even if this prevents them paying their debts.

 

THE COFFEESHOP was filed before Saturday’s positive tests were announced, but I am terrified of how the scientific dream team and their enforcer the health minister will react if there is another day of 700 cases.

Our establishment has learned that all clinical labs have instructions from the health ministry to record as positive everyone found with a very low viral load – so low that the person is not contagious and will never develop any symptoms. Lab bosses have been trying to persuade the ministry to change these specs but have been ignored so far.

So, with this ministry directive to clinical labs and the number of tests increased to a ridiculously high number (almost 60,000 on Friday) the government is going out of its way to maximise the number of positive cases even if many of them are only positive in theory. And when it maximises the number its starts telling off citizens for not respecting the safety measures. I just hope they do not decide another lockdown is necessary because of our naughtiness.

 

GYMNASIUM children returned to school on Friday, after three months away, but they will only be there for three weeks before schools close again for the Easter holidays. Asked whether he was considering keeping schools open over Easter so that children could catch up with the work they missed, Education Minister Prodromos Prodromou said this was not a possibility. Of course it was not. There is no chance the laziest teachers in the world would agree to give up their two-week Easter holiday for the sake of their students. Prodromou knew if he did not rule this out he would have teachers demonstrating outside his house wanting to drink his blood.

 

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