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Tag: Cyprus

Cavafy on the Mediterranean migrants

Monday, 14 May, 2018 0 Comments

One can read C.P. Cavafy’s In the Harbour-Town as a poem about home-sickness or a poem about migration, or both, as the two are often intertwined. In another way, it can be interpreted as a poem that speaks to our times because he mentions “a Syrian harbour” in the same breath as “the great pan-Hellenic world”. Recent reports of a rise in unaccompanied child migrants reaching Greece and Cyprus through the Central and Western Mediterranean Routes make this Cavafy poem sound uncannily prescient.

In the Harbour-Town

Emis – young, twenty-eight –
reached this Syrian harbor in a Tenian ship,
his plan to learn the incense trade.
But ill during the voyage,
he died as soon as he was put ashore.
His burial, the poorest possible, took place here.
A few hours before dying he whispered something
about “home,” about “very old parents.”
But nobody knew who they were,
or what country he called home
in the great pan-Hellenic world.
Better that way; because as it is,
though he lies buried in this harbour-town,
his parents will always have the hope he’s still alive.

C.P. Cavafy (29 April 1863 – 29 April 1933)

Translated from the original Greek by Edmund Keeley and Philip Sherrard.

Harbour town


Islands divided: Northern Ireland, Northern Cyprus

Tuesday, 19 November, 2013 0 Comments

After the cataclysm of the First World War, Winston Churchill looked across the sea towards Ireland and noted, grimly: “The whole map of Europe has been changed … but as the deluge subsides and the waters fall short we see the dreary steeples of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again.” The steeples are still there, the dreariness persists and the hatred is tenacious.

Like Ireland, Cyrus is deeply divided. On 15 November 1983, the Turkish Cypriot leader Rauf Denktash proclaimed the unilateral independence of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the resulting wound has scarred the island and its capital, Nicosia, ever since. At the weekend, the Famagusta Gazette stated: “The unilateral declaration of independence (UDI) proclaimed by the illegal regime in Turkish-occupied Cyprus is ‘null and void’, the Foreign Ministry stresses in a press release.” Reconciliation is not in sight and reunification is as unlikely as in Ireland.

In his video clip, “Nicosia — A timelapse”, Alex Cican presents the beauty and melancholy and energy of a divided island.


How Cyprus was robbed

Tuesday, 26 March, 2013 0 Comments

Reuters: “As new President Nicos Anastasiades hesitated over an EU bailout that has wrecked Cyprus’s offshore financial haven status, money was oozing out of his country’s closed banks.”

All those TV and newspaper images of Cypriots standing in line to get their daily €100 from the ATM show the real victims of the bailout/bailin. The reality is that the big money has left the island and the Brussels PR campaign that the real pain would be felt by the “rich” is exposed as just another Big Lie. Check this out:

“The two banks at the centre of the crisis — Cyprus Popular Bank, also known as Laiki, and Bank of Cyprus — have units in London which remained open throughout the week and placed no limits on withdrawals. Bank of Cyprus also owns 80 percent of Russia’s Uniastrum Bank, which put no restrictions on withdrawals in Russia. Russians were among Cypriot banks’ largest depositors.”

And who’s left holding the can? We’ll see real suffering at the end of this week when Cypriot firms are scheduled to pay their workers.

When the euro was launched, its most ardent defenders used to argue that monetary union would eventually require political union. Their moment came, they thought, with the Greek nightmare. However, instead of being the expected catalyst, it turned out that the “cure” of forcing bitter economic medicine down reluctant throats in Athens generated hatred, not gratitude. The Cyprus crisis has exacerbated the situation and the thing that was meant to unite is now becoming the great divider. What we’re left with is an increasingly unhappy marriage of totally incompatible partners.


How Cyprus was betrayed

Monday, 25 March, 2013 0 Comments

“We are all prisoners of knowledge. To know how Cyprus was betrayed, and to have studied the record of that betrayal, is to make oneself unhappy and to spoil, perhaps for ever, one’s pleasure in visiting one of the world’s most enchanting islands. Nothing will ever restore the looted treasures, the bereaved families, the plundered villages and the groves and hillsides scalded with napalm. Nor will anything mitigate the record of the callous and crude politicians who regarded Cyprus as something on which to scribble their inane and conceited designs. But fatalism would be the worst betrayal of all. The acceptance, the legitimization of what was done — those things must be repudiated. Such a refusal has a value beyond Cyprus, in showing that acquiescence in injustice is not ‘realism’. Once the injustice has been set down and described, and called by its right name, acquiescence in it becomes impossible. That is why one writes about Cyprus in sorrow but more — much more — in anger.”

Hostage to History: Cyprus from the Ottomans to Kissinger by Christopher Hitchens


Cyprus banks pass EU stress test

Tuesday, 19 March, 2013 0 Comments

That was the headline on an article by Poly Pantelides, which appeared in The Cyprus Mail on 16 July 2011. Best bit: “In Nicosia the Finance Ministry issued a statement saying: ‘The measures which the banks are taking or planning to take will further increase solvency.'”. Two years later, the same paper is today reporting that “Eurozone finance ministers last night urged Cyprus to protect small savers’ deposits while still coming up with €5.8 billion from a deposit levy so the island’s €10 billion bailout could go ahead.”

Hero to zero in just two years. How come? Because EU stress tests are as reliable as EU promises and policies.