my Cyprus, my Κύπρος, my Kıbrıs

For the love of education

Nicosia blue skyAs a blustery wind sweeps through Nicosia, wrestling the last of the autumn leaves to the ground below, I’m reminded of our need to sometimes just let things go.

Our society has not necessarily been very good at this.

The recent attacks on Turkish Cypriots in south Cyprus, by some high-school students protesting the UDI of the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, sparked the establishment of another technical committee, as part of the negotiations, as well as a public outcry.

First of all, the attacks confirm not only that we’re far from closing wounds and letting things go, but also that we have also become experts at creating an inheritance of pain for our children. It’s bad enough that our grandparents and mothers and fathers have to carry around this baggage but us too?

Having grown up in the southern part of the island I know how successful the Greek Cypriot-dominated Republic of Cyprus has been in cultivating a one-sided biased hegemonic narrative, and unfortunately continues to be.

I completely understand that you cannot stop secondary school children from stepping outside of the school grounds, but why have these ‘marches’ not been banned? They are outdated and breed an atmosphere of hatred during a time when our leaders are trying to do the complete opposite.

Secondly, the fact that a technical committee has been established and that the Education Minister Costas Kadis condemned the attacks on Turkish Cypriots is not nearly enough. And even the fact that a number of arrests were made is not enough, considering we don’t know the action that followed the arrests.

I’m all for action, but the right kind of action. Not action for the sake of action.

Just a few months ago the news that Sean Paul was coming to play a gig in the north also sparked an unnecessary war of words and imagery on the Facebook event page. It was incredibly sad that the vast majority of these people engaging in hate language and pictures, from both sides, were aged between 15 and 25.

Certain ideas that have been bred in the minds of the island’s youth run deep, with children being exposed from as early as six to imagery and terminology regarding events of the 1950s, 60s and 70s.

Perhaps one issue that needs to be addressed is the significance that both sides’ education system places on the history of the so-called mother and fatherlands. Another issue that I feel is of vital importance within schools is the bolstering of our own Cypriot culture and dialect.

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