“I hate to be morbid, but if war broke out in Cyprus where would we go? We don’t have a metro,” I asked a colleague as war broke out in Ukraine. She reminded me that we have bomb shelters.
It was a stark reminder that as much as we try and convince ourselves that we are safe in Cyprus, we are not. The status quo is not sustainable.
And when I speak of ‘safety’ I speak only of south Cyprus, as just across the border the Turkish Cypriot community daily feels their ‘debt’ to Turkey.
Nevertheless, the invasion of Ukraine in February undoubtedly got me thinking about our own situation. Naturally, many flocked to social media to voice their opinion. Here, I use the word ‘opinion’ and not necessarily ‘concern’ as some used it as an opportunity to compare with the 1974 invasion of Cyprus but to also criticise.
On Facebook, the social media of choice for people aged 35 and upwards keen to express themselves on the internet, they argued about how the international community treated the 1974 invasion of Cyprus by Turkey and everything after the fact, they compared Cyprus’ invasion with Ukraine’s and defended the stance that agreeing with the reaction of the West did not mean they were supporting Putin and his war.
Following President Volodymyr Zelensky‘s address to the Cyprus parliament, a notification from Twitter on my phone revealed a journalist who claimed he had shut down the live communication while the House president, Annita Demetriou, was responding (technical issues were cited). Both she and President Nicos Anastasiades expressed their displeasure at the fact that Zelensky had not mentioned Turkey’s invasion of Cyprus during his address. It should also be noted that the main opposition, left-wing Akel chose not to attend parliament during his address.
Is this not a time to extend sympathy and understanding, considering the horrors which continue to unfold in Ukraine? We should be extending sympathy for the very reason that Cyprus has lived through an invasion and continues to live through its aftermath.
- Too little too late?
- Government official turned performer