My two islands have much in common. A reputation for hospitality and friendliness, a history of British occupation, civil strife, emigration, a brain and labour drain due to poor economic prospects. And within the past 50 years major changes owing to political upheaval between their north and south.

The Irish clung to their Christianity and culture but let their language decline, Cyprus held onto her Turkish and Greek inherited cultures and languages. One benefit from the imposition of English on Ireland and Cyprus was it gave access to a tongue that would become universal.

The question of reunification has hung over both isles for recent decades. Sinn Fein, a party known for its closeness to the Irish Republican Army whose guerilla war sought to rid the North of British ownership, has seen its share of votes steadily grow fueled by voter disillusionment with the two major parties. Now there’s talk of a possible reunification armed struggle couldn’t achieve. Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, back in power in a two-year shared arrangement with opposition leader Micheal (Me-hall) Martin, almost immediately voiced his willingness to talk to northern politicians on mutual problems including solutions to customs and import disagreements on the border between them as Ireland is still within the EU. The North, under historic treaty obligations, is within the UK.

The Good Friday peace agreement fostered by America, headed by willing Irish, British and northern leaders decades ago, led to economic growth, and an end to a war, unwinnable by either side, that caused 3,000 deaths. Post Brexit, some in the North felt the UK had lost interest in their welfare, some wanted to maintain the gains brought to north and south by access to the EU. Some resolutely wanted to retain their identity as British citizens when unification began to surface as a reasonable solution to obstacles on free flowing trade. Level-heads in Ireland say that those wishing to keep their British identity, under equal treatment for all, should in the event of reunion, freely do so. After all, due to Brexit, many Brits took up residency and Irish passports and have integrated very successfully.

Greek and Turkish Cypriots have the ability to co-exist amicably outside the island. If the majority on either side act with common logic and understanding of the other, that’s possible here starting with equality for all. Our next president needs to consider Varadkar’s open example and immediately instigate talks with our estranged neighbours; talks based on the reality of the present not on the dream of reattaining the way things were in the past. Mr Guterres’ representative on the island Colin Stewart may have been misquoted, but what else has this side done to change the status quo other than talk?

The old saying ‘if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em’ stands for Greeks. Erdogan has made every move he wanted to towards swallowing the north into the map of Turkey. He obviously believes actions speak louder than words and words of protest are mostly what we have offered. Aphrodite needs a warrior who has the courage to do what might be unpopular by telling it as it is, not trying to go back to where it was. There is no regaining life as we knew it back then, the whole world has changed while we cling to an illusion. The sweet beauty and joy of a Kyrenia, Morphou or Famagusta summer, places we all love, are all now under the control of a man who wastes no time in just talking about what he covets; he takes.

That old term ‘fait accompli’ is back, it’s done. All we can talk about now is how to improve on what confronts us – the terrifying prospect of complete absorption by a major force determined on change. It’s only a matter of when. The much maligned UN relationship with this side is all that keeps us safe. Value it, listen to its voice of reason and act, because if we insult too often those that keep us from further invasion may decide we are not worth the effort and simply tell us ‘We can’t help those who won’t help themselves.’