by Christos Kyprianou
I belong to that generation that was born and grew up in the decade after the invasion when the existing state of affairs in Cyprus began to consolidate. We are that generation that didn't live through the disaster, didn't live in tents, didn't see the dead. We heard about refugees, missing people, and enclaved people. In our childhood innocence, we didn't understand what exactly all this was and then we were taught specific numbers. Numbers that became symbols in our childhood minds like this chilling number of the missing, 1619.
Our own generation was hardened through the economic crisis and now demands answers from those who aspire to rule us.
Our childhood was one of "I Won't Forget", anti-occupation marches and slogans and photos in school notebooks. When we crossed the threshold of adulthood they started referring to new terms bi-zonal, bi-communal, federation, referendum and no one bothered to explain them to us. We saw people arguing over a "Yes" or a "No" without knowing why. Once again we were left in the dark. We were filled with questions and questions that no one was answering. Questions that we found answers for ourselves and we still don't have all the answers. There are many things that we had to learn on our own, growing up.
But the moment of our real coming of age came one day when we woke up and realized with horror how much we had become accustomed to seeing the barbed wire, the barricades, the dividing line on the map, those two marks, the red and the white, which are like wounds on the Pentadaktylos and how on such days we just counted years. This year it is 48, last year it was 47 and next year it will be 49. When we realized that every number since 1619 was a person and behind it was a tragic story.
Through our coming of age, however, we realized a lot more. How many meaningless slogans have they told us for so many years? How many political careers were built on the corpses of the Cypriots? Unachievable promises for votes. A whole system that was used by the Cypriot for vote hunting, played with the pain and emotions of the people in order to be able to hold on to positions of power. This is how we got to today with zero trust in those who bought into empty words. The same empty words we hear on almost every black anniversary of that day in July 1974.
The worst thing is that they say that now the interest in the Cyprus problem has decreased, pointing fingers at the new generation, and using this excuse to do absolutely nothing. Generations they had deliberately left in ignorance. Just look at the history textbooks. Young people who have been hit by successive crises, from the economic crisis to the pandemic, while realizing that what they dreamed in life could never be accomplished, it is logical that they do not consider the Cyprus issue a priority. Especially when in recent years there has been no development in the Cyprus problem and the division lingers on. However, if there are developments, either negative or positive, interest will be rekindled and all political leaders do well to keep this in mind. Especially the three main presidential candidates,
Forty-eight years later, the formalities every year at the national commemorations are done out of obligation. Forty-eight years later, we finally want to hear clear positions on our national issue and how the path to partition will be reversed. Let them finally do something they never did, speak honestly and tell us the realities without wishful thinking. Our own generation was hardened through the economic crisis and now demands answers from those who aspire to rule us. The generation that grew up in ignorance has come of age and is asking for answers.
Mr. Christos Kyprianou holds a BA in Sociology and an MA in New Media and Society.
[This article was translated from its Greek original]