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Politicians too young?

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Politicians too young?

Postby devil » Sat Apr 09, 2005 1:16 pm

1. My first 18 month visit to Cyprus was in 1952/3. I observed GCs and TCs cohabiting well, in reasonable harmony. In villages like Peristerona and Kalo Chorio (and many others), the mosque and the church were side-by-side and both communities used the same coffee houses in the small villages. Even in the towns, there was intermingling; Ayia Sofia and the archbishopric were just a minute's walk apart. Yes, there a few lyceum students, instigated by you-know-who, crying for Enosis, but this was not taken too seriously, especially in the villages.

2. My second visit, just 3 years later, was very different. The "troubles" had started and the Brits had started hammering in their "divide and rule" wedge, by using TCs as police against EOKA and young hot-heads, who had no clue what was really happening.

3. The events betwee 1956 and 1960 had the wedge driven in so far that the two communities were totally split apart and, later, caused the split of parliament and, eventually, the 1974 invasion.

4. IMHO, based on experience, youngsters under, say, 25 are likely to espouse extremist politics, without knowing what they really stand for. By 25, they are more likely to start having some political maturity with the ability to discern what the real issues are, rather than an emotional consecration to a "cause".

5. Based on my personal observations above, the rot set in between 1953 and 1956, let's say 1954. A 25 year old then would have been born in 1929 and would therefore be 76 today.

None of today's politicians would therefore have been mature enough to remember the time when they could understand that TCs and GCs could live together in harmony. They have been nurtured on hatred and division, fomented by the Brits, especially during their politically formative years. Even the "old-timers", like Clerides and Denktash, would have been somewhat "nobbled" by the division long before they started their talks in 1968 that went on to into this century.

Is this why such a division is so perdurable? Maybe our chance for a lasting solution went away when the majority, who remembered the time when TCs and GCs were just Cypriots, together, with no need of an adjective, were eroded away to a minority and, today, are a negligible quantity.

Just a thought.... Any comments?
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Postby cannedmoose » Mon Apr 11, 2005 6:16 pm

I think that's a valid observation devil, particularly your point regarding the younger generation in Cyprus right now, who, against all trends elsewhere in Europe, seem to be the most nationalistic (largely a product of a slightly warped teaching of history in the Cypriot education system(s) during the past 30-odd years.

Just a suggestion for you, there's a book by Rebecca Bryant, published in 2004 called Imagining the Modern: The Cultures of Nationalism in Cyprus that might interest you. I'm currently doing a book review on it for an academic journal and some of it is rather heavy going at times, but it's a really good exploration of how 'Cypriots' came to define themselves as either 'Greeks' or 'Turks', rather than 'Christian' or 'Muslim' Cypriots. Interesting stuff if you can get your hands on a copy.
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Postby devil » Tue Apr 12, 2005 9:30 am

Yes, the Greek/Turkish nomenclature is totally artificial. DNA testing has shown that TCs and GCs are of the same race, mainly of Phoenician origin with a few European strains thrown in, according to a study I read a few years ago (sorry, can no longer give a reference). In fact, neither group had any significant typically Greek or Turkish background. Before the Ottoman invasion, the common populace was entirely Greek-speaking, because of the Church, and there was relatively little intermingling with the various invaders, so there was really only a single Cypriot race, of largely Levantine origin. Things changed in the 16th century because the Ottomans, despite a few excesses, did not directly rule Cyprus, but delegated the task, on a small regional basis, to Cypriots. These people obviously had to communicate with their overlords and thus had to learn Turkish. As this followed in families, Turkish, after a couple of generations, became their mother tongue and they also adopted Islam for ease and as a sign of trust and so the Turkish Cypriot was born. There was relatively little intermingling between these neo-TCs and the Turks, in just the same way, today, the settlers and the TCs each tend to consider themselves "different" from the other. The problem today, therefore, is not the difference between TCs and GCs but their similarity in nature, neither wanting to admit stubbornly that the other side should have an advantage.

I'm aware that this post will possibly raise some hackles because of the myth that the Greek-speaking Cypriots are Greek. The fact that the island has been Greek-speaking for over 2500 years, nurtured by the Church, with a consequent adoption of Greek culture, is because Greek was the lingua franca of the Eastern Med generally. Even the educated Jews spoke Greek (the New Testament was written in Greek and Paul's adopted nickname was because of his tiny stature - not to mention Jesus' pun about Petros being the rock on which his church was built, which would not work in his native Aramaic).

An interesting comparison can be made with other bicultural countries. You never hear of the French or German Swiss or French or Dutch Belgians (Romands/Schwyzertuutsch or Walloons/Flemish resp). At the most, you may hear of, e.g., French-speaking Swiss or Belgians, but neither race hide their national identity by claiming they are French, despite the language they speak. By analogy, it would be more correct, on this island, to talk of Greek-speaking Cypriots or Turkish-speaking Cypriots, because they are both similar Cypriots. Their difference is cultural, not racial.
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Postby insan » Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:32 am

1. My first 18 month visit to Cyprus was in 1952/3.


So you should be in your 70s then.

I observed GCs and TCs cohabiting well, in reasonable harmony.


It is true that they were cohabiting well particularly before 1950.

In villages like Peristerona and Kalo Chorio (and many others), the mosque and the church were side-by-side and both communities used the same coffee houses in the small villages. Even in the towns, there was intermingling; Ayia Sofia and the archbishopric were just a minute's walk apart.


So how can we explain this situation? Ottomans came and built mosques near the churches. Most probably; in the begining neither of the GCs liked to see the mosques side-by-side with churches. Then they realized that there's nothing to do. They had to consent everything the ruler wanted. The question we should answer is why did Ottomans build their mosques near the churches? Any ideas?

Yes, there a few lyceum students, instigated by you-know-who, crying for Enosis, but this was not taken too seriously, especially in the villages.


Are you sure that Enosis was not taken seriously by GCs and TCs in 1952-53? Then why did %97 of GCs signed the Enosis petition? Did TCs also sign the Enosis petition in church, in 1950? Or do you think TCs didn't care about Enosis?


2. My second visit, just 3 years later, was very different. The "troubles" had started and the Brits had started hammering in their "divide and rule" wedge, by using TCs as police against EOKA and young hot-heads, who had no clue what was really happening.



Let's say Brits didn't want to use TCs as police against EOKA. Assume, TCs wanted to join British police forces to fight against Enosists but Brits rejected. Do you think TCs would just sit down and watch the Enosists annexing Cyprus to Greece? At that time(1956) TCs already had several, irregular underground organizations namely Volkan, Kara Cete(Black Gang), 9 Eylul(September 9) that were formed to defend TC community against attacks of Enosists and organize TCs for Taksim struggle.


3. The events betwee 1956 and 1960 had the wedge driven in so far that the two communities were totally split apart and, later, caused the split of parliament and, eventually, the 1974 invasion.


Between the years 1956 and 1960 EOKA was strongly keen on end the British rule and annex Cyprus to Greece. Although overwhelming majority of GCs signed the Enosis petition in 1950; I don't think majority of GCs approved the armed struggle of EOKA for Enosis. On the other hand as a consequence of GC's strong desire for Enosis, TMT also was strongly keen on achieving Taksim. Although no petition was held among TCs for Taksim; I think if such a petition was held overwhelmin majority of TCs would have signed it. But I don't think majority of TCs would have approved the armed struggle for Taksim.

1963-67 period almost had the same parameters that was revolving around the axis of self-determination right-Enosis-Taksim.

In 1967-74 period things had changed. The violent actions of TC underground organizations evolved into a passive resistance and diplomatic dialogue with Makarios. However Grivasites under command of Greek Junta started the second Enosis movement with more extreme groups. Their first target was Makarios and the leadership of GC left because Grivasites thought that Makarios and GC left betrayed to Enosis cause.

4. IMHO, based on experience, youngsters under, say, 25 are likely to espouse extremist politics, without knowing what they really stand for. By 25, they are more likely to start having some political maturity with the ability to discern what the real issues are, rather than an emotional consecration to a "cause".


This is true. However fascist mentality and brute force approach never change its traditional stance, armed struggle tactics and bigotry. These kind of groups has always had their own clans. They have always founded a considerable number of volunteers who partisantly support their ideas.

5. Based on my personal observations above, the rot set in between 1953 and 1956, let's say 1954. A 25 year old then would have been born in 1929 and would therefore be 76 today.

None of today's politicians would therefore have been mature enough to remember the time when they could understand that TCs and GCs could live together in harmony. They have been nurtured on hatred and division, fomented by the Brits, especially during their politically formative years. Even the "old-timers", like Clerides and Denktash, would have been somewhat "nobbled" by the division long before they started their talks in 1968 that went on to into this century.


devil, for a better analysis of the events you need to go a deep retrospection into Greco-Turco relations from 1800s until then. Greek independence war, magali idea and Greek irredentism, Asia Minor, Istanbul, Crete etc.

Is this why such a division is so perdurable? Maybe our chance for a lasting solution went away when the majority, who remembered the time when TCs and GCs were just Cypriots, together, with no need of an adjective, were eroded away to a minority and, today, are a negligible quantity.


I don't think there was a time when two communities felt themselves just Cypriots. Before 1950, they had good relationships to a degree. Intermarriage was prohibitted by church until 1960 and then by laws in RoC. In the past, religous factors; especially Orthodox mentality was the biggest barrier between the relationships of two communities. Then came Greek irredentism and Enosis. Both communities have always been aware of their differences and difficulties of living together. Until the eraly 1950s they lived like two distinct but neighbourly tribes. when in 1950 %97 of GCs signed the Enosis petition; the first big hammer blown on the good relations of two communities. Amore severe hammer blown came a few years later with the start of EOKA's armed struggle for Enosis. Retaliation of TMT blow the third hammer on good relationships of two communities.


That's my two cents.
Last edited by insan on Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:08 pm, edited 3 times in total.
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Postby insan » Tue Apr 12, 2005 11:39 am

DNA testing has shown that TCs and GCs are of the same race, mainly of Phoenician origin with a few European strains thrown in, according to a study I read a few years ago (sorry, can no longer give a reference).


However DNAs have nothing to do for building humane relationships. If you believe in God we all came from father Adam and mother Eve. 100 thousands of years ago, perhaps there was just 3 or 5 races. Who knows?
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Postby magikthrill » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:19 pm

insan wrote:However DNAs have nothing to do for building humane relationships. If you believe in God we all came from father Adam and mother Eve. 100 thousands of years ago, perhaps there was just 3 or 5 races. Who knows?


I don't disagree with you on this. I beleive that the only thing that should be used on building human relationships is ANY kind of DNA.

What do you believe should be the basis? The same religion and language? Can you not cohabitate with someone that is different from you in this sense? Because I believe that is a form of racism.
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Postby insan » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:36 pm

magikthrill wrote:
insan wrote:However DNAs have nothing to do for building humane relationships. If you believe in God we all came from father Adam and mother Eve. 100 thousands of years ago, perhaps there was just 3 or 5 races. Who knows?


I don't disagree with you on this. I beleive that the only thing that should be used on building human relationships is ANY kind of DNA.

What do you believe should be the basis? The same religion and language? Can you not cohabitate with someone that is different from you in this sense? Because I believe that is a form of racism.


Personally, my only difficulty for building better relationships with GCs is the language barrier. I don't know their language and they don't know mine. My English speaking skill is not adavanced neither the vast majority of either communities. When I speak to a GC in English I lose my concentration and can't feel the meanings of the words I speak/hear. Even most of the times we misunderstand what each other really meant. Thus, in the end I can't deepen and strengthen my relationships with GCs. In this case, how can one cohabit with someone who even he/she cannot understand him/her?
Last edited by insan on Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:42 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby magikthrill » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:41 pm

insan wrote:Personally, my only difficulty for building better relationships with GCs is the language barrier. I don't know their language and they don't know mine. My English speaking skill is not adavanced neither the vast majority of either communities. When I speak to a GC in English I lose my concentration and can't feel the meanings of the words I speak/hear. Thus, in the end I can't deepen and strengthen my relationships with GCs.


well that is an acceptable barrier but that only concerns your generation I believe. if the education system requires good knowledge of english and also greek and turkish to be offered as viable third language options that won't be a problem.

i mean in the end what it comes down to is what piratis constantly repeats. the island belongs to both communities and EVERYONE has to accept that. since there is no way of splitting it up and making everyone happy the fairest and most human solution is to live together. of course i am not against a bizonal federation since this is the desire of the TC community but I am against imposing restrictions on this bizonal federation as long as the TC political rights are not harmed.
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Re: Politicians too young?

Postby erolz » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:47 pm

devil wrote:3. The events betwee 1956 and 1960 had the wedge driven in so far that the two communities were totally split apart and, later, caused the split of parliament and, eventually, the 1974 invasion.


You do not think the very desire of GC for ENOSIS also caused a wedge between the communites that would have existed regardless of any British action? It sounds like you believe it was the British who caused antagonism between the two communites and not the desire of GC for ENOSIS?
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Postby insan » Tue Apr 12, 2005 12:58 pm

magikthrill wrote:
insan wrote:Personally, my only difficulty for building better relationships with GCs is the language barrier. I don't know their language and they don't know mine. My English speaking skill is not adavanced neither the vast majority of either communities. When I speak to a GC in English I lose my concentration and can't feel the meanings of the words I speak/hear. Thus, in the end I can't deepen and strengthen my relationships with GCs.


well that is an acceptable barrier but that only concerns your generation I believe. if the education system requires good knowledge of english and also greek and turkish to be offered as viable third language options that won't be a problem.

i mean in the end what it comes down to is what piratis constantly repeats. the island belongs to both communities and EVERYONE has to accept that. since there is no way of splitting it up and making everyone happy the fairest and most human solution is to live together. of course i am not against a bizonal federation since this is the desire of the TC community but I am against imposing restrictions on this bizonal federation as long as the TC political rights are not harmed.



I don't think majority of TCs would accept a non-restricted bi-zonal, bi-communal federation under the current circumstances. As I said majority of each community have this language barrier. Even the ones who to a degree know each other's language are not fluent and cannot speak each other's language effectively. Thus, in the end; the people of each community build better realtionships with the people whom they can communicate comfortably and effectively.

I strongly believe that if majority of each community could speak each other's languages; I'm sure the people of two communities would create at least a thosand time bigger social interaction. There would be just a little to fear about each other. Until then I don't think any other power than a sincere friendship would elliminate the fears of each communities about security, political rights and socio-economical status.
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