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Our View: Culture of self-interest on full display

People protest against former Kiti bishop Chrysostomos outside the archbishopric

The culture of self-interest in Cyprus is evident almost on a daily basis but the past week has been exceptional.

Firstly, we had the disgraced Bishop of Kiti who refuses to go away. He is not only appealing his judicial conviction but also the meaningless decision by the Holy Synod to put him out to pasture. At the age of 85, and as a priest, he might want to focus on repenting enough to get into heaven and not worry about his worldly comforts.

But the bishop is just one symptom of this general malaise of self-interest that often extends to the interests of ‘our particular tribe’ but never beyond that, something which plagues society from the top down.

It was revealed on Wednesday that a cabinet minister is being investigated for alleged tax evasion while elsewhere it was said that more than €2bn in taxes is owed to the state, which shows how widespread the rot is.

Also on Wednesday we heard that millions will be spent on new government buildings while civil servants have issued a demand to work from home because no doubt the public is better served that way.

Group interests can also come across as somewhat hypocritical. In the ‘gender equality’ arena for instance, a statement for Father’s Day last Sunday was notable by its absence. The last woman commissioner – as meaningless a holiday as it is – always had the grace to acknowledge it.

Instead, we were treated to a lecture two days prior on the twin evils of the patriarchy and gender stereotypes. Could generalising about men not doing enough housework not also been seen as stereotyping? The reality is there are good and bad fathers and husbands, and good and bad mothers and wives. It’s true that men remain the worst offenders but #notALLmen are jerks.

In other news, the prison can’t find psychiatrists to employ. Maybe having to deal with troubled convicts is too much work for pampered shrinks. So much for vocation and helping society. We also heard that some shops might possibly have kept prices at the same level and pocketed the VAT reduction meant to help consumers.

Meanwhile, the Polis mayor has called for an extension of the four-month objection window for the interminably-delayed local Akamas plan. At the same time, we found out that shepherds’ huts were illegally converted into holiday homes in the Natura area. The ingenuity is staggering.

Down in Dali there is a showdown between open-air concert organisers and locals who say they are trying to “protect a rare spider”, and in the sphere of sex education for children, the ‘anti-crowd’ do not seem to consider how much it could help fight child abuse.

Only incidentally relevant, but worth mentioning, is the Morphou bishop’s opposition to… Mickey Mouse, because he’s actually “a demon”.

The only conclusion from all this is that we are driven to oppose everything that threatens our interests no matter what it is and irrespective of whether it may benefit society.

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