A Tale of Two Cities

A well-known folk song succinctly expresses the Cypriot national dilemma: ‘my homeland has been divided in two, which part out of the two am I supposed to love?’ Indeed, many people feel caught in between these two worlds, however the last two generations did not experience the division or the other side of the city. This is perhaps a good time to wonder whether we are holding on too tight to the romanticised idea of the divided city. At what point does the divided city become two different cities? Is it when all its administrative functions operate separately? When people don’t really see the other side? How about when every single person that remembers the city united has passed away? It is incredibly hard to love a city that can be only found in narrations. However, failure to express this nostalgia about the lost land is at least frowned upon – more commonly regarded as betrayal, disgrace, treason. Being aware of the danger to appear as traitorous, I cannot help but wonder: should we stop being nostalgic about the other half and begin talking about the other city that needs to be integrated? A city is defined by its name, boundaries and local government. Nicosia, or Lefkosia to the Greek Cypriots and Lefkosha to the Turkish Cypriots, fails in all three aspects.

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