Cyprus division – deeper, wider, longer

2 mins read

Under normal circumstances, there is no rational endeavour that should encourage revisiting the diplomatic graveyard of the Cyprus problem so early into another miserable year.

We have lived so long with division and lowered expectations that resurrecting a dead peace process killed and buried by the politicians is absent from any New Year wish list.

Anybody who says they hope for the Cyprus problem to be solved in 2022 is being paid to do so.

If there is one thing we know about the island’s division, hope dies first while hubris gets you the gold.

Sure, the finer points of the argument are traded in coffee shops and dining rooms, but this is more from habit than motivation.

Cyprus politics is more predictable than the weather and slower moving than a melting glacier.

There is a debate to be had as to whether division can still be labelled a ‘problem’ as we seem to wear it so well.

Of course, Cypriots would like to live in everlasting peace and co-exist, but most are afraid to say how that looks in practice.

It is dangerously coming to the time when Cyprus reunification will become nothing more than a land grab as we build bigger walls to keep our neighbours out.

Only masochists would willingly seek out a United Nations report on Cyprus peacekeeping and the Good Offices mission.

UN reports on Cyprus cannot be described as page-turners. On the contrary, they are depressingly predictable, with a formula unchanged since the 1960s.

You don’t even need the Starship Enterprise to go back in time; any report on Cyprus will take you there and trap you in a black hole of nothingness.

Generations of failure have altered the Cypriot DNA — it can survive stupendous disappointment, walk the same path, and expect different outcomes.

A definition of insanity, but the Cypriot psyche has survived by believing that nothing changes until everything changes.

Political inertia has ensured that division is deeper, wider, and more pervasive than thought imaginable.

From where we stand, there is no turning back the clock.

Time has washed over us, rendering a mutually acceptable solution more futile than counting grains of sand on a beach.

Living without expectation is how Cypriots have endured heartbreak.

Residing where hope used to sit in a comfy chair are the terrible twins of mistrust and paranoia.

Try to win an argument with those two intruders.

Bad karma

But self-reflection is not a Cypriot strong point; we are not going to yoga this bad karma out of ourselves.

It usually takes a stranger to tell us that we need therapy to heal because Cypriots have become entrenched in blaming the ‘others’.

It didn’t even take a shrink to realise our disenfranchisement, alienation, and foreboding.

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres has it written down for everyone to see.

The government does not like to publicise or comment on it because, as always, it is faultless.

Guterres needing to urge Cypriot leaders to work together on confidence-building measures to improve the daily experience shows how far we haven’t travelled.

He wants the leaders to “rekindle” hope among the population to persuade it that progress can be made despite the absence of direct talks since 2017.

In the void created, both sides are going their separate ways.

With Turkey and the Turkish Cypriots adopting the mantra of two states and Anastasiades happy to run the clock down for a late own goal, Guterres knows the game is done.

Although he overplayed his hand by advising Tatar and Nicos to “look to the future with pragmatism”.

Guterres must have closed his eyes when calling on all “parties to refrain from any unhelpful actions and actively seek solutions through dialogue”.

Everyone knows the direct opposite will happen.

The UN chief has seen the writing on the wall, which spells disaster.

“Without decisive action, continuing dynamics in and around Cyprus and electoral timelines could render future efforts to reach a mutually agreeable settlement to the Cyprus issue unattainable.”

Uncomfortable reading for the leaders, but they dismissed the message quicker than a Trump conspiracy theory.

More than that, they will also ignore the suggestion that future talks delegations are 30% women who should be given greater participation.

It would set a dangerous precedent as women would get something done.

Cyprus isn’t where it is today because it promotes inclusion by giving women and the youth a voice.