(Η Ελληνική εκδοχή
Mr. Papadopoulos said that we should not exaggerate with regards to the issue of opening the roadblock in “Ledras street”. To me this is an indication –if not a proof –that we ought to direct our efforts exactly towards that point.
One thing that we need to understand … is that the significance of this issue IS NOT TO be found in the “hole”… that is, in the opening of the roadblock… but rather in all those things that surround it and in the manner in which we will handle them. Upon this ground, all those who believe that “Greeks and Turks can never BE together” must suffer a substantial defeat –their first upon Cypriot soil in quite a long time. This is what they are afraid of… and therefore this is exactly what we should do.
It is for this reason that all the parrots / mouthpieces of intolerance and bigotry, along with all the gullible people that answer their calls, speak mostly of issues that relate to the opening in a negative manner (smuggling & drugs, imaginary recession before “the enemy”, compromising with the occupation)… and studiously avoid mentioning any of the positive things that we, Turkish Cypriots and Greek Cypriots, can do together in that part of our town. They do not mention them because they are afraid of them… therefore, these are exactly the things that we ought to do.
This effort of ours …must occur regardless of the course / outcome of any efforts to find “a solution to the problem of Cyprus”… and it must occur regardless of the attitude that the leaders of each side will assume.
Firstly, because any attempt for a solution that involves a “together” (either in the form of a Bizonal Bicommunal Federation …or in some other form) demands of us to prepare the ground and to thoroughly investigate the possible problems that may arise.
There is a lot of talk about “parthenogenesis” (virgin birth / generation) and other such fancy terms… but all this talk cannot make me change my mind about an obvious fact; that regardless of what the solution might be, even if it appears as a Whore, what remains of essence is that it “lives a moral life” once it commences. This “moral life” is one that we must live –and advertise –exactly in that piece of land, the core of OUR town… as an example of what is to come.
Neither the Anan Plan, nor any of the other suggestions / pointers / ideas about a “new common start” cannot have a meaning… unless the two communities feel that they have good reasons to want to live together. And neither can the opening of Ledras offer us a single thing… unless it contributes to us “acquiring” such reasons.
Unlike all the other cases of propositions / initiatives with regards to the Cyprus problem… the opening of Ledras offers an opportunity of “a trial on the ground”. That is, instead of operating as “a layout” … a theoretical promise of an Utopia… it may become “a living quest” … and also an effort to construct ways of tolerating –and cohabitating –with our fellow human beings. An Utopia …remains one only for as long as you are unable to present it to the people. It ceases to be one… once you rub it in the faces of every dissenter.
Secondly, because even in the case where one of our leaders remains attached to ideas and stances that reek of division… the only way to exert pressure upon him is to have a significant part of “his own people” desiring exactly the opposite. In Ledras we can reinforce such a tendency amongst us. Or we can destroy it.
One element that Mr. Christofias seems to understand –at least on a verbal level –is that neither Turkey nor Greece (nor any other Foreign Power to that matter)… can impose its own plans IF there is an expressed, common will and a common attitude by both TC and GC. In essence however, the first ones that are required to understand and apply this are us. Here… in our city.
I consider it our duty to convert Ledras and the area surrounding it into a living cell of coexistence. Not “just another crossing” …but a passage to a practical way of dealing with the problems and challenges of a cohabitation. That is, it should become “an interaction core”, so as to trace any possible problems of cohabitation between TC and GC and investigate any possible solutions of such problems…. something that will lead to the creation of a common consciousness with regards to our country… and the dissolution of our fears through a process of common struggles.
Many are those who will attempt to fill the area of Ledras with the poison of hatred. We have an obligation to make an antidote out of our actions… and to make our actions the antidote.
PREPARATION - INFRASTRUCTURE
Aren’t there other roadblocks that have opened? There are. So, where’s the difference? The difference can be found in the possibility of turning that particular area NOT JUST into another crossing… but into a common area of interaction.
And what is essential so that it will function as that?
It takes preparation and infrastructure. That is, it needs all those elements that can encourage the masses of both communities TO REMAIN THERE AND TO OPERATE TOGETHER IN THAT AREA instead of just passing by and leaving.
Some questions that are relevant to such an effort are the following:
“How do we create jobs together?”
“How can we sit on the same table?”
“How do we build families together?”
“How do we stand together in a European Union? How can we produce products of our own land together and how can we promote them in the E.U.?”
“How can we commonly take advantage of any European grants / funding?”
“How can we, together, make life in our own city more humane?”
These questions were there before. But it is only now that we can attempt to answer them in a practical manner and in a specific area, right in the middle of OUR city. An additional important advantage of that specific area … is the direct ability to “change the scenes” for a number of people in our city… who had –so far –erased North and South in their mental maps… even during everyday activities such as a walk in the streets of Nicosia. The other opened roadblocks, thus far, functioned as mere crossings… while this roadblock … or rather the area that surrounds it… can function as one unified area … which can be both familiar and –at the same time –brand new to all of us.
The Roadblock in Ledras Street is something that concerns all Cypriots in general. At the same time however… it specifically concerns the citizens of Nicosia. It is the right of every citizen… and of the Municipality itself… to have a say upon the manner in which the political decision to “open the gates” will be handled. The same thing can be said fr any other Authority with regards to issues under its jurisdiction.
For example, in “our side”… it is true that in the Municipality of Nicosia (even though TC may regard it as one that does not represent them)… "…The Service manages important Cultural Centres of the Nicosia Municipality and co-ordinates large cultural events and cultural institutions -as they are defined by the Cultural Committee of the Nicosia Municipality..."
The municipality itself says so in its
Are there no grants / funds by the E.U. in relation to cultural issues? Doesn’t the Municipality itself have a Bureau of European Affairs? Who could inform us about such possible grants? Isn’t there a
I refer to the creation of such services … and to a possible common employment … because this concerns much more that an occasional stroll around Ledras. More than that, it relates to a more permanent co-existence and a constant effort. As such, it can force US (TC and GC alike) to come up with solutions to whatever problems may arise and learn how to co-exist.
(The important element here –and please pay attention –is not the opportunity to improve our lives alone …but the joint effort for that. They say that we cannot do anything together. We have an obligation to prove them wrong.)
Such a co-existence may already exist in worksites / construction sites and in other areas. However, they do not bring large parts of the middle classes together in the centre of the town…they concern mostly the lower parts of the working class… a class whose size is diminishing in “the GC side”. On the contrary, the kind of initiatives that I will refer to… relate to the largest part of the social spectrum –at least on “this side” –the lower-to-middle and middle-middle classes. Isn’t it the truth that this is the part of “our” social spectrum that bears with it the greatest fear for such a “reunion”?
Similarly, any cultural activities / events … (see 4 paragraphs above) SHOULD NOT be of a momentary nature but of a permanent one… at the same time creating opportunities of common employment / engagement / expression. That is, they ought to “force us” to be there together, to remain there and to operate together… there. This is the only way they can become truly important.
Are there not any E.U. programs for funding multicultural projects? Don’t some of them concern the higher and highest level educational institutes? In “our” last presidential elections, one of the propositions of today’s opposition… concerned issues related to the TC universities. Could something be done about this anywhere near Ledras, either on “this side” or “the other”? What can the aforementioned authorities and the Ministry of Education tell us about this issue?
And what about the Ministries of Commerce and Industry, Labor, the various Citizen Service Centers? Have they no suggestions whatsoever? What can be done with regards to business? Are there no E.U. funds related to such issues?
And what about the Mass Media? Why haven’t they –so far –mentioned anything about such issues? Why do they deprive us of our right to be informed? Are they not supposed to be the guardians of this right?
I think it is quite obvious that the opportunities for the creation of the circumstances that I have described (interaction cores, common effort, co-existence and cooperation, common struggles, investigation of possible problems and solutions) are there. They are in the centre of our city. Anyone who can see beyond “the hole on the wall” can see them.
At this point, I would like to specifically address my Turkish Cypriot brothers. Please forgive me if I refer to” the matters of our side” too often. I do that because I consider my knowledge of what goes on “in the other side” as insufficient. I believe that it is more appropriate to let you –those of you that share the vision of a Common Homeland –express your own relevant opinions.
I understand that any references to the Ministries and other Authorities of the Republic of Cyprus may cause difficulties to some f you. And even if you are not bothered by them… they may provide an excuse for the eternal lovers of NO “on your side”, helping them to come up with counter-arguments and weaken such an effort. Exactly the same would occur with the corresponding, unworthy lovers “on our side”… if I directly spoke about any relevant Authorities “on your side”. There is a way to deal with such arguments. Europe.
It is a known fact that the Acquis Communautaire
has been suspended in the area under the jurisdiction of the Turkish army. But IT IS NOT in the spirit of the E.U. to obstruct the inhabitants of this land, both TC and GC, when they jointly attempt to and succeed in applying it. This is the answer. The protection and the assistance of the E.U. can shut many of the mouths of those unfortunate “division lovers”. On “our side” at least, one of the most commonly used excuses is that they “…desire a European solution to the Cyprus issue”.
Now back to the “US” part.
INVOLVEMENT – DIFFUSION
None of these efforts will have any result whatsoever if it does not include the involvement of private individuals at a deeply personal level.
Are you a member of a political party? Exert pressure onto your leadership so that they will move towards the right way. Are you employed in the Media? Do your job right and inform the public about these possibilities, help by covering all the efforts that may take place in the Ledras area. Are you a plain citizen? Ask from the relevant services to inform you about the questions raised above, especially those related with issues of common employment and E.U. grants…. and also about your right to be informed itself.
Are you a young scientist? Ask to be informed about how to get involved in common efforts. Do you know the language “on the other side”? Ask about employment opportunities in the area around Ledras. Are you a young businessman? Seize the opportunity and try your luck in that particular area, in business ventures that address both communities… both with regards to the consumers as well as the workers.
Is literature your job or your hobby? Contact those alike you “on the other side’ … in Ledras we need a library / bookshop that specializes in Cypriot literature (TC and GC alike). Is technology your profession or your hobby? Search and find out if something can be done jointly with the ones like you somewhere in that area. Are you a cook /an owner of a restaurant? We need restaurants / taverns / coffeehouses in that area that address the culinary habits of both communities.
Do you produce something that can be considered as a truly Cypriot product? The areas near Ledras and around the city walls are ideal for the joint promotion of such products. Handicraftsmen, owners of small industries, farmers… they all can –under the protection of the E.U. –do a better job together.
Are you an architect or a civil engineer? You can come up with ideas / projects for common efforts related to the landmark buildings in the area and the improvement of the quality of life in our city.
Are all the buildings in the area “reserved” by big business? Then we should ask to be informed about who they are and exert pressure so that the proper authorities assist… in order to find suitable areas and make these opportunities happen.
Are there already such businesses there? Are you a young person that frequents the pubs / cafés / restaurants of that region? Then we should demand, as customers but also as employees, that they move towards that direction, towards becoming able to commonly use and commonly be employed. And if they don’t accept? What if they send away the “evil others”? Name them and abandon them. It is within your powers, as a consumer and as an employer/employee to make an effort… so that all those that resist our common vision will be kicked out from the areas that WE frequent and so that they will be replaced by our more willing compatriots.
The possibilities are endless…
And we don’t have to stay there… Slowly but surely… once this efforts is consolidated at the centre of our city, we can achieve the diffusion of our vision. Not for the sake of personal gain / profit… but so as to make co-existence a living, breathing practice.
The specific area can become the starting point for a further development of such an effort in the rest of the land. If it works there… the necessary basis will exist … also in terms of competitiveness… to succeed elsewhere. Those people that dislike the idea… need not to come. When we will become strong enough we will come and find them ourselves.
However, the significance of such an effort is not to be found in personal / corporate profit…. but in the fact that through such a process we will be forced to explore each other… and –this being the most important element of all –learn how to live together.
This time, allow me to specifically address my GC brothers. Or at least that part of them that share the vision of a United Cyprus. I cannot ell if it is too late for such an effort. I do know however that if such an effort fails… those forces that only have an eternal NO echoing in their hearts and in their ears … will reappear stronger than ever.
This is what I had in mind when I expressed my concern… about the way that both candidates that made it to the second round of the recent elections… failed to minimize the role of those forces that –traditionally –avoided any effort of this kind.
These force have always –openly or secretly –hoped against any possibility of a common life, a common effort. The importance of Ledras is not to be found in the opening itself… but rather in the area that surrounds it and in all those things that we can do there together.
If we don’t turn all these ideas into action now… then we will achieve nothing. We will merely open a hole. Or as we say in Greek… we will achieve “a hole in the water”.
(I apologize for the long post, the "rough" translation and the mistakes. I had no time for proofreading. If anyone can translate in Turkish, I will be eternally grateful.)