Greek and Turkish Cypriots must set aside their differences and find a solution to the Cyprus problem sooner rather than later, as bigger challenges threaten the island’s existence.
Intervening at the Cyprus Forum, a policymaking conference, thinker Noam Chomsky was asked about the significance of the US decision to lift an embargo on arms sales to Cyprus and what this means.
The philosopher, political analyst and activist said he does not see it making much of a difference, stressing that Cypriot sides need to reach a deal as the world has bigger troubles.
“Local problems fall into insignificance in the face of the climate crisis, and there is only a narrow window to act,” Chomsky said in a recorded interview presented at the forum.
“Cyprus faces much more serious problems than the local problem of conflict with Turkey”, he said, pointing to the threat of climate change.
“The Middle East has now surpassed the European Union and India in emissions of Green House gases, and the region is a major producer of fossil fuels that are destroying us.
“What is happening in the region is of extraordinary importance, and it may destroy human life in the near future.
“Everything else falls into insignificance. All the local problems will disappear”.
He said a political solution to the Cyprus problem is possible, although there is no easy answer.
“It will take a willingness for both sides to reach an accommodation because there is a much bigger problem in the world”.
Chomsky noted that Cyprus is at the heart of a climate change hot spot with temperatures expected to rise by 5 degrees Celsius by the end of the century, making the region unlivable.
He mentioned that according to new studies, by 2050, sea levels in the eastern Mediterranean will have risen by a metre and, by the end of the century, 2.5 metres.
Another major issue is the increasing threat of nuclear war, which is in the headlines due to Ukraine. A more serious problem is in the Pacific region, with provocations over Taiwan.
“It doesn’t get much reported, but it’s a very serious threat that the US is increasing the provocations over Taiwan”.
He said that on 14 September, the Foreign Relations Committee passed almost unanimously a resolution which could become legislation, which calls for destroying the One China Policy, which has kept the peace for 50 years.
Chomsky was speaking at the island’s largest policymaking conference on Thursday and Friday at the Nicosia Municipal Theatre, focusing on diversity and inclusivity and making Cypriot society fairer.
Talking to the Financial Mirror, Nicolas Kyriakides, executive president and founding member of the Cyprus Forum, said, “this year, we wanted to focus on comprehensiveness and inclusion. We also want to push in our own way for Cypriot society to become more open and socially just.”
Attending were activists fighting for gender equality, the rights of the LGBTQIA movement, and people with disabilities.
“We had activists for gender equality such as British Asma Said Khan, a known chef and cookbook author, but also a fierce fighter for gender equality.
“We also had a panel on the rights and inclusiveness of the LGTBQI movement and people with disabilities,” said Kyriakides.
Representing the Cyprus LGTBQI movement, Costas Gavrielides, President Nicos Anastasiades’ advisor on diversity and inclusiveness, was a guest speaker.
“One of the main goals of this year’s event is the further involvement and participation of our Turkish Cypriot compatriots, with discussions that concern practical issues of both communities,” said Kyriakides.