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Robin’s Ramblings – May You Always Grok in Fullness

The relativity of life is in my mind not a debatable concept. It’s all about standpoint. I often wander down memory lane and find, with increasing age, that it has a fork in it. The one branch, I’ll call it, the “fantasy route”, the one dealing with all the “what ifs” and “if onlys” and the “justification route”, the other dealing with why things are like they are.

Back on this meandering track of memory, which like my hearing gets more selective as I age, I stumbled across a quote from an author who made a great impression on me as a child. The book was “Stranger in a Strange land” by Robert Heinlein. I was science fiction mad at the time so I was not put off by the seemingly illogical stance of the hero of this story. What struck me though was the quote, “all men are gods, because god created the universe and every person creates his/her own universe”. Yeah ! I thought, that’s great philosophical stuff, that’s the sort of stuff which world shaking movements are built on.

In retrospect, I find the idea cute, rather than profound. All very well to exclude Mr Smith from your world because he poisoned your cat. For you he doesn’t exist. Block out Bangladesh and its food shortages, Pakistan and its flooding, the turmoil in Libya, Egypt, Tunisia and your universe becomes a whole lot better. Close your eyes to the ugly things around you and accept only the good and it gets even better. Living in this bright shiny little soap-bubble you find that everything is sweetness and light. Hello, wake up! What happens when two soap bubbles collide? Ever blown bubbles as a kid? POP! All gone!

So where does this rambling lead, you may well ask? The thought of millions of people simultaneously existing in parallel universes, is in retrospect, not very logical. Yet living on this island makes me feel this philosophy is not dead. I can’t imagine every man, woman and child here has read or even heard of Robert Heinlein, but the mind-set of blanking out things they didn’t want to happen, didn’t want to say or want to deny, lives on here on a daily basis. You may call it hypocrisy, maybe mental aberration, maybe just plain lying but it’s a pernicious all-pervading philosophy in Cyprus.

Look at the promises the current regime made during the election campaign that ousted President Talat. Do you see any apologies for non fulfilment? No a bit of it. Got your deeds yet? Sorted out the scams? Protected your interests? I could go on. What we see is rationalisation and denial, “the justification route”. Not just a northern thing. Seeing the latest AKEL machinations I observe the trend is also very prevalent south of the crossing. Andros Kyprianu recently said: “as AKEL we never accepted the Annan Plan, not even as a basis for a Cyprus settlement. And had it not come from the (UN) Secretary General, we would have rejected it immediately.”

The revelation can only be seen as a confirmation that Christofias was winding people up when he was adamant back in 2004 that AKEL’s decision to vote “No” was only to get a better bargaining position for the second referendum. We all know what the result of that was. Collective amnesia? An attempt to rewrite history? Similar discrepancies arise on other fronts in “southern” politics. All of a sudden NATO seems to be a big issue. The supposedly defunct PanCyprian Peace Council demonstrating, apparently at the behest of the government, against NATO and the sovereign bases. It’s a shame that Christophias in his memorable speech to the Brookings Institute in Washington last year (see my previous Article) maintained the bases were a subject to be dealt with by our childrens’ children. The troops should not leave now. The anti-NATO sentiments of Skordis (TV) and other demonstrators were untouched by this and the fact that they didn’t raise a finger when allowing NATO to over-fly the Island with warplanes on the way to the Iraq war, or for the right for NATO troop carrying planes to stopover. Were landing fees an issue?

Is there a common denominator? I think there probably is. When I recently heard that 87% of the TRNC Budget is eaten up by state salaries and pensions, I could hardly believe my ears. I cannot confirm this figure (must be a state secret), but it is staggering. Still Turkey is paying so who cares? When I hear that the electricity workers are threatening not only to strike if the talks about the privatisation of the industry continue, but to destroy the generating plant as well, I think I’m hallucinating. To cap it all the story of the so-called state airline CTA made me wonder what the real plan is. Apparently it wasn’t the bad CTA that left all its customers standing on the tarmac without information or refunds. It was the staff, the people who had for so long been molly-coddled in the comfortable non jobs. The story I heard was that they had maliciously destroyed all computer records of bookings and payments in a spiteful act against whoever was even discussing closing the operation down. This apparently was before the plug was officially pulled hence the chaos in the later stages of the winding up. So folks it wasn’t incompetence (this time) it appears to have been deliberate sabotage.

Parallels with the other “Universe” in the south? Cyprus Airlines and the bankruptcy caused by not being able to fly through Turkish airspace? The plot is “take the money and run” and neither side seems to be interested in the island, its heritage or its people. Just the protection of privilege and “get enough (cash) to get out”. “I’ll develop the picturesque hillside with substandard, eyesore villas, wiping out an important archaeological site in the process, sell them, two or three times if I’m lucky and off I go to America or Britain or whichever other paradise takes my fancy.” Who cares about Cyprus? Not the Island of the Gods as they would have us all believe. Not a piece of earth touched by heaven, more like scorched earth, left by a deserting army. The last one out won’t even have to turn the lights out if the electricity workers have their way. There’s consideration for you.

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