Recently a monthly newspaper titled ‘Enosis – a monthly newspaper for the union of Cyprus with Greece’ commented on ‘The Cypriot Puzzle’ and on our efforts as a team.
You can take a look at it on their website. It’s in Greek, but google translate might do for the non-Greek speaking.
First of all, we would like to thank Alekos Michailidis (and the paper itself) for taking the time to go through our website, take a look at our mission statement and the work we’ve carried out. Even though they mostly disagree with our approach, they have still presented our team accurately on their website before presenting their critique.
The following letter is an open response to the paper.
Aleko, Enosis newspaper,
We’d like to begin by making clear that in the one year the Cypriot Puzzle has been alive no member has received any money at all for the time they’ve dedicated to it. On the contrary, many of us have used our own money to pay for our website and the creation of videos. We are committed as a team to refrain from accepting funds from any organisation or institution that might challenge our desire to stay objective or from the political interests that have led to the saturation of this issue.We have no specific political agenda other than trying to get people involved, and where possible reach a consensus through a democratic process.
You state clearly that you do not like organisations that promote the idea that the “Cypriot problem can be solved with parties, doves and balloons over the green line, or through lovemaking of G/cs and T/cs in Troodos and Ayia Napa”.
The current method of going about in solving the problem, the one taking place on an official level, is clearly failing. In the last half-century there has been little notable progress and there seems to be a repetition of the official statements, processes and international press, always reaching a dead end.
We do not stand for parties and lovemaking between the 2 communities. We are not any more in favour of bi-communal activities than we are against them. However, at the end of the day, it would be much easier to solve this puzzle if we start by talking to each other about it. If we want the island to be put back together in a single piece, then these ‘getting to know each other sessions’ are probably necessary if we want people to have incentives for a solution, a true solution. But above all, if we are to know the people involved the issue. If after we get to know each other we realise that we don’t actually like one another and that a united Cyprus is out of the question then that is a valid option as well.
We don’t view Turkish Cypriots as The other side. Our mission is, as you imply, to be able to co-exist (as a bare minimum) and debate freely as the best possible strategy for ensuring a stable and sustainable common future. We are already a group of friends and partners from various ethnic and cultural backgrounds and we are proud of it.
At the same time, it is undoubtable that a true and viable solution will not be found simply through such social events. There needs to be critical dialogue and debate where everyone presents their opinion and respects each other’s. And this has to be reflected in the official procedures carried out by our politicians as well. We believe that the only way to do this is by engaging people on a grassroots level with the goal of them having a better-informed opinion on the matter. So, if we do stand for a type of a bi-communal activity, it would be that of debating and yes (!) arguing over the matter. We are not in favour of a particular type of solution, but if we do not face each other we will not even know what the real options are for Cyprus.
The matter of the Cypriot Problem should not lie solely in the hands of the president but in the hands of each one of us.
You also touched upon our name, stating your belief that it ridicules the matter of “invasion and occupation”. The name sprung out of an effort to present the status quo in a more approachable manner to the increasingly disinterested youth. The “Cyprus problem” has been beaten to death by countless statements and speeches across the island which made it look so overly-complicated to understand and deal with, that it discourages anyone to. What we try to convey with our name is that the essence of this problem, its fundamental concepts, should be accessible and interpretable by everyone on the island, and not just a handful of politicians or lawmakers. Besides, this approach is based on our essential belief that as we are all involved in this issue, we should all have a share in the attempts to solve it.
And that is our message. Everyone can understand the issues at hand well enough to be able to have a conversation about it and everyone is entitled to an opinion no matter how unknowledgeable they consider themselves.
At the end of the day, whatever the solution, be it a unitary state, or partition with enosis and taksim, the island relies on well-informed, critically-thinking citizens.
On behalf of the Cypriot Puzzle team,