Although I don’t dwell on the Old Reaper, this squirrel thought it time to throw away junk to make sorting easier for those left behind when I pop off, aware that my diaries may be gone through – or not, and that the contents of my knicker drawer can’t be disposed of in advance.

In an old file I found post war drawings by my then eight-year-old son: tanks, planes with Turkish flags dropping bombs, soldiers, Greek flags – the pantheon of war in colour by a child too young to comprehend it.

Connie, a longtime friend sent me a link, an episode of Real Stories from the History Channel called The Wall That Stands Between Two Warring Factions. Her daughter Natalie Hami, whose father is Turkish Cypriot, is in it. Natalie and Turkish Cypriot Esra Aygin, like other courageous, far sighted people from the divided island communities, work on a personal level towards representing the best intentions and aspirations for a shared, peaceful future.

Another mixed group examines the unearthed bones of people missing on both sides, identification will bring closure to some still grieving families. These dedicated scientists hope that future colleagues will never have to undertake such sad labour.

Turkish Cypriot journalist Sevgul Uludag has striven long and hard with Greek Cypriots to uncover graves in unholy ground of those who suffered untimely, unholy, brutal deaths in both communities.

The show opens with the happier tourism side of Cyprus today but Uludag reminds of a less sunny past still impacting the present, one of ‘…blood and pain – for what? Look at the mirror, it’s a shitty face!’ That old face is quietly battled by the good faces above, anxious to overcome the obstacles verbally dueling politicians deal in. Committed people creating groundswell movement in political stagnation.

Philanthropist Stelios Haji-Ioannou uses his wealth to reward efforts by Cyprus’ divided peoples working together in a spirit of unity. He’s aware of the problems Greek and Turkish Cypriots face when they fall in love, marry and worry about their children’s lives.

The balanced documentary shows neither Cypriot ethnicity can be recognised in interviewees’ faces.

In another file was a letter from a Cyprus-involved Irish man with an article by Kathy Sheridan, a very knowledgeable journalist, fearless in her present The Irish Times column, and I admire her honesty. Back in the 80s she was filing articles on tourism. My Irish correspondent added it wasn’t a review the Cyprus Tourism Organisation would like.

In the segment on Turkey, Sheridan mentions an Irish woman poet who gave her advice on what and what not to do/see in Turkey, who ‘speaks the language like a native.’ She also says that when the Turks annexed (?) the north they took what was probably the best part of Cyprus, praising the ‘frozen in time’ beauty of Kyrenia. 

Troodos; quiet, pretty Paphos and the island’s archaeology got a good mark but she advises stay well away from the ‘overcrowded, roasting pit’ that is Ayia Napa and to give Larnaca and Limassol ‘a wide berth’.

I wrote letters to Irish editors over pieces like that, reminding them that the Irish also live with a problematic north-south divide. Asking if their journalists, presumably accepting free hospitality for publicity, were conscious while writing that the ‘overcrowded roasting pits’ were due to displaced people fleeing from ‘frozen’, ancestral, beauty spots to safe areas. People who had lost everything starting from scratch in limited spaces.

I had no desire to stop struggling or displaced Turkish Cypriots earning a living. More so, that post-war, we Irish with half Greek children, couldn’t take them to the occupied areas that Irish journalists were openly encouraging their own to illegally visit. Sheridan said entry to the north was ‘difficult’ but listed ways to do it naming a Brit travel company advert in the Sunday Times.

Children of 74, north and south, now have children whose lives will be badly impacted if indigenous leaders, looking into that shitty, mistake flecked mirror, don’t make a leap of faith for the blameless young, now.