Monday, February 13, 2006

Cyprus fieldwork: nationalist extremists' and governments' responsibility for conflict

Cyprus fieldwork notes extracts

At 6.40am on the 9th of January 2006, I pondered,
It's strange to think that, although Cyprus is closer to peace and settlement, Kosovo will probably achieve a final status first. That suggests to me that the governments bear a grave responsibility for the perpetuation of conflict here, as, along with the nationalist extremists, they bore responsibility for the origins of the conflict.

In Kosovo, by contrast, there are still many active (actively violent) nationalist extremists. The Greek soldier [who I met in a cafe near the Green Line in the old town], however, wouldn't have it, arguing that, "the most difficult is to persuade an individual, one-to-one".

Our viewpoints began to converge, as we both recognised that, although, "with a government, you have to persuade a lot of individuals", their public responsibility and accountability, in one way or another, may make them easier or more difficult to persuade.
Trying to visualise the states' conflict, I offered that:
At the moment, it appears that the governments of southern Cyprus and Turkey have their arms interlocked, slapping each other with their free hands, as the governments of Greece and northern Cyprus cheer them on and the people of northern Cyprus are trodden underfoot; the EU, meanwhile, stands on the northern Cypriots' ankles.
I explained,
This may be an overblown metaphor, but the peace and settlement process does appear to be at a stalemate with those directly involved trying to score points off each other and those indirectly involved doing little productive.

I would've thought, for example, that because of the accession of the island of Cyprus into the EU, the EU could justify fully recognising the (legal) human rights of all of the island of Cyprus's citizens and residents, as well as, possibly, ideally, dropping the trade embargoes.

I would've thought that the EU could've said that, despite the status of the north of Cyprus, all of its citizens were members of the EU and deserved to be able to trade within the EU; this ought, consequently, to undermine some Turkish nationalists' defences of continental Turkish action.
At 12pm, I scribbled down some signature tags written into concrete on a path (either Leoforos Aigyptou or Leoforos Markou Drakou), near Pafos Gate and the intersection of the Green Line and the Venetian city walls: "Kibris" was written in the top right corner with, left and below, "Sordar/Surdar[?], Kibris, Tarik, 2001(?), Turk, Tbird, Firat".

At 1pm, I jotted down a line of anarchist graffiti I'd seen as I wandered round: "Mpous-Saron foniades ton laon [Bush-Sharon murderers of peoples/multitudes]", signed with a circle with an "A" in it for anarchy or anarchism.

By 8pm, I had decided that:
My research terminology needs refinement. I don't know yet what would be appropriate for Turkish language discussions, but "cultural heritage [koinoniki klironomia]" is inappropriate, or at least inexact, in Greek language conversations.

Unlike in Britain, it is very strongly tied to dance, costume, song, etc., rather than archaeological and historical artefacts and sites. So, in Greek contexts, if not Turkish ones, the terminology should be something akin to "archaeological objects and historical buildings" or "cultural/community objects".

I wish I could get photographs along the Green Line wall and around its immediate environs; more even than those, though, I wish I could get photos of the checkpoints themselves - the gates and their decorations, elaborations, etc. It would be nice to capture Lidras Street's peace mural, blood-and-soil-type wall slogan and UN activity/publicity panel.

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