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A truth and reconciliation commission... is it workable

Propose and discuss specific solutions to aspects of the Cyprus Problem

Would you be in favour of a truth and reconciliation commission?

Yes
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Total votes : 3

A truth and reconciliation commission... is it workable

Postby cannedmoose » Sat Jul 09, 2005 5:29 pm

Dear friends, there seem to be so many ambiguous 'facts' flying around about Cypriot history, particularly during the period 1955-1974, when various accounts are almost entirely polarised on certain issues, such as:

The role of TMT in the enclaving process
The role of EOKA in targetting GC civilians who interacted with TCs
The motivation behind Makarios' 13 points
Turkey's motivation in launching operations against Cyprus

etc. etc. etc. in ad nauseum...

Is there not therefore a case for the two proto-states, I call them this because any future federal government would be composed of pretty much the same actors currently involved, to create a truth and reconciliation commission, along the lines of that in South Africa, to explore these issues with first hand testimony from those involved, and from everyday folk whose experiences relate, in order to forge a common view on Cyprus' recent contested history. I think it would go a long way to dispel some of the myths that surround certain events.

I know why this is unlikely, given that some very powerful people's roles would come under close scrutiny from this - TPap and Denktas particularly. But since these are also the people who are running today's show, does this not reflect a dangerous trend in that the histories accepted by GC and TC will continue to diverge until such a commission is held?
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Re: A truth and reconciliation commission... is it workable

Postby Alexandros Lordos » Sat Jul 09, 2005 10:26 pm

cannedmoose wrote:Is there not therefore a case for the two proto-states, I call them this because any future federal government would be composed of pretty much the same actors currently involved, to create a truth and reconciliation commission, along the lines of that in South Africa, to explore these issues with first hand testimony from those involved, and from everyday folk whose experiences relate, in order to forge a common view on Cyprus' recent contested history. I think it would go a long way to dispel some of the myths that surround certain events.


Cannedmoose, I think we need to look at this in terms of "order of priority". First, the two communities need to learn to co-operate on a daily basis, concerning their daily affairs, without thinking too much about their past. If we "rush into the deep" of the past prematurely, the almost certain result is disagreement and bitter disputes.

Once we have learned to live with each other and we experience the past as "definitely gone", then yes, it will be a good idea to start exploring our history with objectivity.

In the interim though, the best strategy would be to somehow "ignore" the history of the last forty years, as far as this is possible.
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Re: A truth and reconciliation commission... is it workable

Postby cannedmoose » Sat Jul 09, 2005 11:36 pm

Alexandros Lordos wrote:In the interim though, the best strategy would be to somehow "ignore" the history of the last forty years, as far as this is possible.


Alex, while this may be the best strategy, it's an unlikely one is it not? As this forum adequately proves, the last 40 years of history are repeated ad nauseum every single day - with each side espousing the 'facts' that they've been brought up with since the cradle. Unless these 'facts' are qualified and myths dispelled, will they not continue to deflect reasoned argument aside in favour of repeating the old mantras?

You mention that one everyone has learned to live with each other and the past has 'gone', that is the time to address these issues. I would counter that the time to address these issues is before it gets to this stage. Do you not think that the process of reintegration and living together would be a far smoother process if the real events of the past had already been exposed, thus removing the ability for hardliners to twist events to suit their purpose. I can envisage a situation where nationalists will still be arguing about the past even as integration moves ahead. Is it also not more likely that hotheads will seize on past 'facts' to punish members of the other communities for perceived 'wrongs' against them?

Anyway, I'll wait for your comments on these points before I make any more.
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Re: A truth and reconciliation commission... is it workable

Postby Alexandros Lordos » Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:27 am

cannedmoose wrote:
Alexandros Lordos wrote:In the interim though, the best strategy would be to somehow "ignore" the history of the last forty years, as far as this is possible.


Alex, while this may be the best strategy, it's an unlikely one is it not? As this forum adequately proves, the last 40 years of history are repeated ad nauseum every single day - with each side espousing the 'facts' that they've been brought up with since the cradle. Unless these 'facts' are qualified and myths dispelled, will they not continue to deflect reasoned argument aside in favour of repeating the old mantras?

You mention that one everyone has learned to live with each other and the past has 'gone', that is the time to address these issues. I would counter that the time to address these issues is before it gets to this stage. Do you not think that the process of reintegration and living together would be a far smoother process if the real events of the past had already been exposed, thus removing the ability for hardliners to twist events to suit their purpose. I can envisage a situation where nationalists will still be arguing about the past even as integration moves ahead. Is it also not more likely that hotheads will seize on past 'facts' to punish members of the other communities for perceived 'wrongs' against them?

Anyway, I'll wait for your comments on these points before I make any more.


I am just worried that if we push ahead now with a "common view of history", it will be rejected by the majorities of both sides and accepted only by fringe groups of bicommunal activists.

I think it is a more effective strategy, to respond to "hardliner comments" with "this is not relevant to the challenges of today" rather than with "Well, you know, it didn't really happen that way, there are other sides to the issue as well, etc. etc.". Such arguments would only invite counter-arguments, those who use them will be branded as traitors ("what do you mean, Turkey had an obligaton to intervene?"), and these discussions would distract everyone from the real task of everyday co-existence.

Whereas, the "this is not relevant today" strategy will take the wind from the sails of those who would like to promote dispute, and emphasise the distinction between "conflicted past" and "harmonious present".
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Re: A truth and reconciliation commission... is it workable

Postby cannedmoose » Sun Jul 10, 2005 1:38 am

Alexandros Lordos wrote:I am just worried that if we push ahead now with a "common view of history", it will be rejected by the majorities of both sides and accepted only by fringe groups of bicommunal activists.

I think it is a more effective strategy, to respond to "hardliner comments" with "this is not relevant to the challenges of today" rather than with "Well, you know, it didn't really happen that way, there are other sides to the issue as well, etc. etc.". Such arguments would only invite counter-arguments, those who use them will be branded as traitors ("what do you mean, Turkey had an obligaton to intervene?"), and these discussions would distract everyone from the real task of everyday co-existence.

Whereas, the "this is not relevant today" strategy will take the wind from the sails of those who would like to promote dispute, and emphasise the distinction between "conflicted past" and "harmonious present".


Argument accepted... plus it's past midnight and my brain is too tired to conjure another devil's advocate response... If I find one tomorrow I'll let you know. Sleep well all.
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