Consider it or not, however not way back, Cyprus was the one nation within the European Union that was ruled by a Communist Celebration. And it was not likely too way back – between 2008 and 2013.
Additionally, comparatively just lately, unification of the Republic of Cyprus and the Turkish administered northern a part of the island, seemed to be achievable.
And when Cyprus, like Greece, virtually collapsed financially, it was Russia which provided to bail it out (earlier than the EU did all it might to stop this from occurring).
Now all of it looks like historic historical past.
The town of Nicosia continues to be divided, with the Greek Cypriot and the Turkish immigration check-points situated proper in the midst of an previous city. Graffiti painted in ‘no man’s land’ demand an instantaneous finish to the battle: ‘One country; one nation solution’.
The crossing is busy. And to make all of it someway extra colourful, maybe, there’s a large white Pitbull, phlegmatically hanging across the border space. It doesn’t bark; it’s simply there. No one is aware of whether or not he belongs to the Turkish or the Greek aspect, however it seems that he spends extra time with the Turks, as, I suppose, they feed him higher.
The Greek-speaking aspect of Nicosia appears like a barely run-down EU provincial city. On their flank, Turks are smoking shisha (conventional Center Japanese waterpipe), and their cafes look like extra conventional, and the previous structure extra elegant. Within the southern half, freshly brewed espresso is known as ‘Greek’, whereas a couple of meters north, you need to order ‘Turkish’, or at the least ‘Arabic coffee’. For sure, you get the identical stuff on each side.
In any other case, it’s one island, one historical past and one unhappy and pointless partition.
The division of the nation shouldn’t be the one insanity right here. Earlier than you get used to the thought, you might go psychological, discovering out that there are two British administered territories nonetheless engraved into the island.
When you drive round, you’ll by no means discover that you’re truly leaving Cyprus, and getting into the U.Okay. Some automotive license plates are totally different to these common Cypriot ones, however that’s about it.
You cross an invisible line, and you’re within the UK; traditionally probably the most aggressive (militarily and ideologically) nation on the face of the earth.
You drive by means of some agricultural fields, however quickly you see one thing very eerie throughout the street: a couple of kilometers after passing the historic Crusader’s Kolossi Fort, there’s an ocean of masts of various heights and shapes, in addition to concrete, fortified army installations. The masts are ‘decorated’ with unusual wanting wires. All of it seems like some previous Sci-Fi film.
Entrance to Akrotiri RAF base
In fact, should you come ‘prepared’, you understand what you’re dealing with: super installations of the BBC propaganda equipment aimed toward destabilizing and indoctrinating the Center East. However that isn’t all. This complete enclave – ‘Sovereign Base Areas of Akrotiri’ (in addition to Dhekelia a number of dozens of miles to the east) – is right here principally with a purpose to spy on the ‘neighborhood’ of the Center East. Whereas London is a few four hours flight away, Syria is only a brief distance throughout the water, and so is Lebanon.
Vile British army installations in Akrotir
Additional south, after you allow the propaganda and spy installations behind, is a small village of Akrotiri; a typical picturesque Cypriot charming settlement, with an previous church, slender streets and humble native cafes. It sits on prime of the hill. However you’re, truly, contained in the U.Okay. From right here, you possibly can see the blue sea, a salt lake and the town of Limassol; however you’re on British turf. How come? Easy: after Cyprus achieved independence from the British Empire, in 1960, the Brits ‘were concerned’ that they might lose management over their army bases in Cyprus, and at the very least partially, affect over the Center East. As this being unimaginable to the British imperialist thoughts, the U.Okay. arm-twisted the Cypriots into this weird association which holds to this present day.
Another kilometer additional south, and you hit the wall and a gate, adorned with threatening warnings. You’re on the perimeter of the RAF Akrotiri base. From right here, since December 2015, the RAF is finishing up unlawful (in response to worldwide regulation) airstrikes towards the sovereign Syrian Arab Republic.
In accordance with Jeffrey Richelson and Desmond Ball, The Ties the Bind: Intelligence Cooperation between the UKUSA Nations, (Unwin Hyman, Boston/London and others, 1990, p.194 observe 145):
As of 2010, round three,000 troops of British Forces Cyprus are based mostly at Akrotiri and Dhekelia. Ayios Nikolaos Station, within the ESBA, is an ELINT (digital intelligence) listening station of the UKUSA Settlement intelligence community.
That was then, however now issues are getting even deadlier. Virtually, the U.Okay. is at warfare with Syria. Many in Cyprus are deeply involved that Syria might retaliate, sending missiles towards the RAF bases, from which it’s being bombed (legally, unbiased Syria has the complete proper to defend itself towards the assaults from overseas). Such retaliation might endanger the lives of the inhabitants of Cyprus.
There have been protests and calls for for the British forces to return to Cyprus each of the ‘sovereign bases’, however the U.Okay. exhibits little interest in ceding what it controls.
As early as in 2008, former left-wing President Demetris Christofias (who was additionally the Common Secretary of AKEL, the Communist Celebration of Cyprus) tried to take away all British forces from the island, calling them a “colonial bloodstain”. Nevertheless, he didn’t succeed, and in 2013 he determined to step down and to not search re-election.
Dhekelia Base is carved into the japanese a part of Cyprus, bizarrely encircling each Turkish-controlled and Greek-speaking villages.
Up to now, the Cypriots fought towards the British presence. These days, within the period of omnipresent surveillance, sabotages and resistance had been changed by toothless protests. Nonetheless, lots of of native individuals have been detained, demanding the departure of British troops from the island.
Cyprus continues to be divided, though reunification talks started, as soon as once more, in 2015. Now it’s potential to stroll between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus (managed by Turkey).
It was not all the time this manner. As Papadakis Yiannis wrote:
On 15 July 1974, the Greek army junta beneath Dimitrios Ioannides carried out a coup d’état in Cyprus, to unite the island with Greece.
Hundreds of Turkish residents have been displaced, many killed. Turkey invaded and the island obtained divided. However inter-cultural violence dated even additional again than 1974. The historical past might be felt on each nook of Nicosia, and in lots of villages of the island. Northern Cyprus was by no means acknowledged by another nation besides Turkey, however the division continues to be there. There are nonetheless whole de-populated cities that used to belong to the displaced Turkish and Greek inhabitants.
One of many eeriest is Kofinou, within the south of the island, which suffered on at the least two events, unprecedented ethnic violence, which could possibly be outlined as ‘cleansing’. As soon as inhabited primarily by the Turkish Cypriots, Kofinou is now a ghost city, dotted with collapsed homes and agricultural buildings, with overseas visitor staff and livestock dwelling in appalling circumstances.
Cyprus has two faces. It’s proud to be one of many well-known European vacationer locations. It’s an EU member.
Concurrently, it’s a image of division.
Border fences between the Republic of Cyprus and Northern Cyprus are scarring its lovely countryside. Deadly British army installations, the air drive bases, in addition to propaganda warfare and disinformation campaigns are brutalizing, bodily and morally, virtually all the Center East.
Right here, in Cyprus, European and Russian vacationers coexist, uneasily. The ideological warfare between the West and the remainder of the planet is clearly felt in Pathos and different historic areas of the island.
Some British residents (round 50,000 of them), in addition to numerous British vacationers, typically behave insultingly in the direction of the widely humble Russian guests. Right here, the British Empire nonetheless seems to be ‘in charge’.
Within the port of Pathos, I handed by an aged Russian couple, who appeared to be merely admiring an previous water fort. A British couple was passing by, then seemed again and cast sarcastic, impolite grimaces: “Those Russians,” uttered the person. This was not the one occasion once I witnessed this kind of conduct.
In Cyprus, I drove precisely 750 kilometers, throughout the island, making an attempt to know and outline its current place, and its position within the ‘area’ and on the earth.
I hoped to seek out reminiscences of at the least some revolutionary spirit of the Communist (AKEL) authorities. However I virtually solely discovered pragmatism, so typical for principally all European Union nations. Solely questions like this have been widespread: ‘Would Brexit be good or bad for Cyprus?’ Or: ‘Would the bombing of Syria be dangerous for the citizens of Cyprus?’
Symbolically, close to the village of Kofinou, destroyed by the inter-cultural violence a number of many years in the past, I discovered a tough-looking refugee camp, constructed primarily for the immigrants coming from the destabilized Center East. It seems like a focus camp. Locals name it, realistically, a ‘prison’. Almost definitely, it’s.
As I used to be driving across the space, I noticed, just some kilometers from the camp, in entrance of an eerie and semi-abandoned farm, an enormous goat. It was on its aspect; dying, in agony, in the midst of the street.
Cyprus has turn into a divided island with some hedonistic resorts, but in addition with terribly marginalized communities, situated throughout its territory.
One might simply conclude: this former British colony continues to be permitting, for a payment, the super presence of the British/NATO army forces, in addition to numerous spy amenities and propaganda retailers. RAF Twister jetfighters are presently flying their ‘missions’ towards Syria. Missiles are being fired from Akrotiri. Individuals fleeing from the destroyed nations of the Center East, are then detained in Cyprus, like criminals, behind barbed wire.
Within the meantime, the individuals of Cyprus are calculating, whether or not all that is really possible, or not; whether or not to be an outpost of the empire is an effective enterprise, for so long as it pays, they may do little or no to vary the state of affairs. Regardless of of its complicated previous and current, in addition to its proximity to the Center East, Cyprus is, in any case, an integral a part of Europe, and subsequently of the Western empire.
• Initially revealed by NEO – New Japanese Outlook
• Pictures by Andre Vltchek