my Cyprus, my Κύπρος, my Kıbrıs

A conversation about hope

An olive tree in Potamia by the dry Gialias river

‘Hope is somewhat of a cliché’ – a phrase that has stuck and continues to play over and over since a conversation (or perhaps interview) I had a few weeks ago with a student from Germany.

She got in touch as she wanted to have a conversation about the Cyprus issue. And the subject was to be ‘hope’.

During our video call, I ended up ‘blabbing’ non-stop for 45 minutes. I laughed at one point, saying it was ‘like a therapy session’. For anyone who knows me well, warbling on about any subject is not me, my responses usually being concise and to the point. Although, this wasn’t just any subject. And let’s not forget the very little social contact we’ve all submitted to in the name of keeping ourselves and our loved ones safe over the last year.

When it comes to the Cyprus problem and reunification of the island, hope is a word that gets bandied about rather a lot. So much so that it seems to have lost all meaning (you know when you say the same word repeatedly until it starts to sound like nonsense?). It is the question most asked by journalists, by anyone: ‘Are you hopeful that the Cyprus problem will be settled/solved?’ Even the question feels empty these days.

To clarify, as part of the call I wasn’t being asked whether I had hope. In fact, it was more akin to the exploration of the word.

So much has happened over the last year and yet, at the same time nothing has happened.

We continue to weather the pandemic and we do so apart from the other community.

We have watched the leadership in the north change. It goes to show that not even a Cambridge man knows what’s best for his people, or the people of Cyprus.

A ‘golden’ scandal – which was a long time coming – landed on our shores, and a couple of public officials had to carry the blame of the many, but with no real retribution. Peaceful protesters were recently met by riot police and water cannons (yet far-right protesters shouting hateful and racist slogans are met with a police escort).

We each fight alone, on our own side. And some don’t fight at all.

There was no conclusion to my video call, only the realisation that we need a new word for ‘hope’.

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