George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life
Tag

cyprus

Apathy is not the reason people don’t bother voting

The lack of interest in the forthcoming presidential elections in Cyprus is noteworthy. Contrary to previous elections, I don’t see people passionate about any of the three candidates (perfectly understandable) and I don’t hear heated political arguments for or against either of them. I reckon the abstention rate will be high. This, of course, is not to say that Cyprus is in any way special. After all, voters are disenchanted with formal politics everywhere and in particular where there are high levels of nepotism fueling distrust towards the political system as a whole. As a result, people who generally want little to do with formal politics often engage in alternative political action or end up supporting unorthodox (read: populist or radical) candidates. Others are just...

The enosis fiasco signified a new low

What I find most disappointing is not that the whole enosis debacle almost led to the collapse of the negotiations, though it is deeply disheartening to see two leaders almost giving up on a joint Nobel peace prize for the sake of satisfying the extremists within the bounds of their respective communities. Rather, what I find most disconcerting is that mainstream political parties decided to support a bill promoted by the self-professed sister party of the Greek Golden Dawn. And let’s not kid ourselves – it is by now evident to anyone possessing the slightest sense of dignity and reason, that the Golden Dawn, and by extend, ELAM, are full-blown neo-nazi parties and not the mere nationalists they so desperately portray themselves to be. Whereas in other countries mainstream parties form...

Setting red lines

​Setting red lines is really not a good idea. When one sets a red line, he proclaims that some options are off the table. He specifies how much he is willing to go in relation to a contested issue, effectively showing off all of his cards at once. Sometimes red lines are genuine, other times they are symbolic or a product of political maneuvering. Proclaiming something as non-negotiable is costly and should be done only with full awareness of the potential cost. Red lines are maybe useful when discussing the terms of the negotiations; that is, the conditions and the format of the negotiations, especially when there is room for getting once’s own prior to the actual diplomatic process. Otherwise, red lines render one vulnerable to the label of the aggressor; you become the person to...

Τα δικαιώματα των Μαρωνιτών στην επανενωμένη Κύπρο

Σήμερα θα σας μιλήσω για αυτά που θεωρώ ότι πρέπει να διεκδικήσει η Μαρωνιτική κοινότητα στα πλαίσια των διαπραγματεύσεων για τη λύση του κυπριακού προβλήματος. Δε θα μπω στις λεπτομέρειες των διεκδικήσεων, αλλά στις βάσεις αρχής πάνω στις οποίες οι διεκδικήσεις αυτές πρέπει να τεθούν. Ας αρχίσουμε πρώτα με μια καταγραφή των πραγματικοτήτων στην Κύπρο. Στην Κύπρο έχουμε δυο κύριες εθνοτικές ομάδες[*], τους Ελληνοκύπριους και τους Τουρκοκύπριους. Οι δυο αυτές εξέχουσες ομάδες, έχουν ιστορική παρουσία στο νησί, δική τους γλώσσα, ήθη, έθιμα και θρησκεία. Βάση του συντάγματος του 1960 τα πολιτικά δικαιώματα των πολιτών της κυπριακής δημοκρατίας απορρέουν μέσα από τη συμμετοχή σε μια από τις δυο μεγάλες εθνοτικές ομάδες. Αυτό είναι που ονομάζουμε τον δικοινοτικό χαρακτήρα του συντάγματος του...

Ζώνες και αποκλειστικά δικαιώματα

Δημοσιεύτηκε στο Φιλελεύθερο (31/9/15) και την Καθημερινή (8/9/15) Η Διζωνική Δικοινωτική Ομοσπονδία είναι το συνταγματικό μοντέλο πάνω στο οποίο θα βασίζεται η οποιαδήποτε επικείμενη λύση. Η Διζωνικότητα είναι το πλέον αμφιλεγόμενο κομμάτι του υπό διαπραγμάτευση συνταγματικού μοντέλου, καθώς εξασφαλίζει στην κάθε κοινότητα συγκεκριμένα εδαφικά δικαιώματα. Δηλαδή, οι δυο κοινότητες, οι οποίες εκ των πραγμάτων είναι εθνικά διαχωρισμένες, θα ορίζουν διαφορετικές γεωγραφικές περιοχές. Άτομα και πολιτικά σύνολα που διαφωνούν με τη διζωνικότητα, όπως για παράδειγμα η ΕΔΕΚ, ισχυρίζονται ότι η διζωνικότητα δεν υφίσταται ως πολιτικός όρος, και ότι η Κύπρος χρησιμοποιείται ως πειραματόζωο στα πλαίσια υλοποίησης ενός ρατσιστικού γεωγραφικού διαχωρισμού με βάση τις εθνικές ταυτότητες. Οι...

Η έλλειψη δημοκρατικού διαλόγου στην Ελλάδα και τα ατυχή κυπριακά παραδείγματα

Το ελληνικό δράμα δείχνει για ακόμη μια φορά την αδυναμία των Ελλήνων να συζητήσουν πολιτισμένα και με επιχειρήματα θέματα κοινού ενδιαφέροντος για τα οποία υπάρχουν αντικρουόμενες απόψεις. Πριν την κορύφωση του δράματος, γίνονταν δημόσιες τοποθετήσεις που πρόδιδαν τις ανέλπιδες προσπάθειες των συγγραφέων τους να συγκαλύψουν τα πραγματικά τους πιστεύω, τα οποία υποκινούνταν όχι απο πολιτικά επιχειρήματα αλλά από τον κλασικό, εξόχως ελληνικό οπαδισμό. Τωρα που η Ελλάδα βρίσκεται στο τέλος του δρόμου ή στην αρχή του επομένου ή στο χείλος του γκρεμού (διάλεξε κλισέ βάση ομάδας), βλέπουμε τα ίδια άτομα που μάταια συγκάλυπταν τις οπαδικές βάσεις των πολιτικών τους τοποθετήσεων να δείχνουν — επιτέλους — τον πραγματικό τους εαυτό. Απο τη μια έχουμε τη τρομολαγνεία του λαϊκίστικου...

If you object to the army, you should stay true to your convictions

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Army lessons from Socrates,” June 28th, 2015. Should one support an immoral institution just because the law says so? What are the options available to those who are ideologically opposed to what is charitably called the Cyprus Army? In this article I address the brave young men of Cyprus who oppose militarism urging them to stay true to their conscience. When one objects to serving in the army for reasons of conscience he has two options: to pay 50 euros and get a note from a shrink verifying that he is not fit for service, or to declare that he will disobey the law on the grounds of conscience, which is an inalienable right guaranteed by the European Court of Human Rights. Sadly, teenagers usually opt for the first option which...

The UN and the EU should use their carrots to steer towards a multicultural solution

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Role upgrade needed for EU and UN,” May 21st, 2015. Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots have not been able to solve the Cyprus problem between them. Neither have they been able to solve it through the involvement of their respective motherlands. The Cyprus problem will only be solved through the United Nations and the European Union, who are already involved in the process, and who should use the carrots that they hold in order to steer the two sides towards a multicultural solution. Bear with me, this is not yet another oft-repeated Cyprob cliché. The aforementioned intergovernmental organisations must promote the respect of diversity and the rights of all people — including non-dominant national minorities (e.g. Maronites...

Should we reconsider the “Bi” in Bizonal Bicommunal Federation?

Published in the Cyprus-Mail under the title “Reconsidering the ‘bi’ in bizonal, bicommunal federation,” May 24th, 2015. Once the dual meaning of the term “Greek-Cypriot” is deciphered, then one must proceed to understand the process of misrecognition that took place during the crafting of the 1960s constitution. Non-dominant minorities have experienced their ethnic, religious and linguistic identities denied to them in the name of their membership to the Greek Cypriot culture. This is what I describe as the process of misrecognition, where the initial classification of a cultural group conditions the demands that the group is entitled to make. Such acts of misrecognition have been legitimised with the 1960 bicommunally-organised constitution, and perpetuated in...

What it means to be a Greek-Cypriot?

Published in the Cyprus-Mail, May 17th 2015. In the case of Cyprus one must distinguish between the dual-meaning and usage of the dominant cultural identity. The identity and label of the Greek Cypriot (GC) can have two completely different meanings: there is a constitutional (civic) definition and a cultural definition. The civic definition is that which is found in the 1960 constitution of the Republic of Cyprus, where a GC is a member of the Greek national group. Nevertheless, the civic definition of being a Greek Cypriot includes Armenians, Latins and Maronites, who “chose” to join the GC ethnic group back in 1959, only months before the introduction of the new constitution, as well as recently naturalised third country nationals. As such, to be a GC in the civic sense...

Solve it already 

The Turkish-speaking Cypriots have expressed their political will by overwhelmingly supporting a pro-solution politician. Now the ball is in Anastasiades’ court. He has to prove that he is willing to work towards solving the Cyprus problem and that he is not going give in to the nationalists of DIKO whose careers depend on there being a Cyprus problem.

Against the protection of primary residences, in favour of general welfare

Published in the Cyprus-Mail on August 17, 2014, under the title “When should the state help?“  I don’t think it’s the government’s job to protect primary residences. Here, I said it. Considerations of general welfare take precedence over protecting people from the bad choices that they have made, even if those choices generate unfortunate circumstances due to no fault of those that made them. Let me explain. Private individuals made private contracts with private organisations (banks) regulated by the state (Central Bank of Cyprus) to get mortgages to build houses. In some cases these loans were sensible, in others they weren’t. Some of the non-performing loans (NPLs) are a product of error (POE) — the banks and their debtors during the initial loan agreements have miscalculated the...

I still feel guilty for my indifference towards football

I have absolutely no interest in the World Cup. Until yesterday I didn’t even know which country was hosting it. My relationship with football is rather peculiar. When I was young I used to attend all the games of my local football club, OMONOIA Nicosia. Football in Cyprus is politicised and OMONOIA reflects my political views — it is supported by left wing working class people and it emerged as a reaction to the ethnic nationalism of APOEL, the other big football club in Cyprus. I never liked football though. I grew up in a politically active household where both mum and dad claimed to be socialists, with football being at the centre of their social relations. Naturally, I tried to like football. I remember going to OMONOIA games with my walkman listening to music and trying to find the...

Orphanides in his paper on ‘What happened in Cyprus’ is being partisan

Professor Athanasios Orphanides published an article titled What Happened in Cyprus? The Economic Consequences of the Last Communist Government in Europe. You can find the MIT Sloan Research Paper that Professor Orphanides published on May 28th here. I include the abstract of the paper below: This paper reviews developments in the Cypriot economy following the introduction of the euro on 1 January 2008 and leading to the economic collapse of the island five years later. The main cause of the collapse is identified with the election of a communist government in February 2008, within two months of the introduction of the euro, and its subsequent choices for action and inaction on economic policy matters. The government allowed a rapid deterioration of public finances, and despite repeated...

Multiculturalism in Cyprus: watching the Third Motherland, a documentary about the Maronite community

Costas Constantinou and Giorgos Skordis created a documentary back in 2001, called The Third Motherland. It contains a series of informal interviews at the village of Kormakitis. The interviews show the internal exclusion that Maronites have experienced. As Constantinou himself says: “the film reveals the dilemmas of identification and belonging and accounts for opposing feelings and beliefs within and beyond the community”. It is “a film about cultural loss, co-option, denial of rights and everyday social problems, but also of ethnic pride, cultural revival, communal joy and resistance”.

George Iordanou Politics, Philosophy and (not much) Real Life

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