Monday, September 28, 2009

Fielding, Jansen, Hellenist propaganda: Dalibard's UNESCO Cypriot cultural heritage report

I've finally checked some of my sources' (supposed) sources in the British Library's newspaper archive, like John Fielding's 1976 report on the Rape of Northern Cyprus.

Fielding discussed Jacques Dalibard's 1976 Cypriot cultural heritage report for UNESCO, and Hellenist propaganda has polluted understanding of both. Unsurprisingly, Michael Jansen's work has yet again been called into question.

(UNESCO first suppressed, then released a heavily-edited version of Dalibard's original report on the treatment of cultural heritage in both northern and southern Cyprus. I've previously noted what Jansen insinuated, and discussed how she misrepresented Dalibard's and others' reports.)

We must ignore how closely Jansen paraphrased some of Guardian journalist John Fielding's lines without quotation or attribution, because there are other, bigger problems.

Jansen has used Fielding's genuine and just criticisms of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot nationalist extremists' treatment of Greek Cypriot cultural heritage, but she has also misrepresented Fielding's article.

Jansen deliberately - and lazily obviously - excluded Fielding's argument and claims, and denied by omission Greek Cypriot nationalist extremists' treatment of Turkish Cypriot cultural heritage.

Directing the reader of the paragraph to '[s]ee the report by John Fielding published in The Guardian, May 6, 1976', Michael Jansen (1986: 315) said that the '"bowdlerized version [of Dalibard's report]" was published..., with a UNESCO disclaimer attached disassociating itself from the author's views'.
Thus, instead of using the full Dalibard report as a means of exposing the situation and applying pressure to both the authorities in northern Cyprus and Ankara, UNESCO and its member states dropped the issue, giving the looters and smugglers both license and immunity - even from moral pressure.
In her book on War and Cultural Heritage: Cyprus After the 1974 Turkish Invasion, Jansen (2005: 27-28) stated that the 'bowdlerized version' 'was not scheduled for release until April 1976 because of Turkish and Turkish Cypriot objections.
If his original report had been published and promptly acted upon, it might have compelled the Turkish side to abide by the spirit, if not the flawed wording of the relevant provisions of [Turkish Cypriot Antiquities] Law 35.

Before UNESCO managed to muster the nerve to promulgate the second five-page Dalibard report, the Turkish Cypriots had forced him to to quit his position as conservator of the treasures of northern Cyprus.

To deflect attention from what was taking place in the north, the Turkish Cypriot administration claimed that the Greek Cypriots had burned to the ground a mosque in the village of Peristerona west of Nicosia.

When Dalibard visited the mosque he found it to be undamaged and he said so, enraging the Turkish side. Dalibard went home to Ottawa and UNESCO shelved the abridged report.
Jansen's (2005: 28n20) footnote for this quotation cited 'John Fielding, "The Rape of Northern Cyprus," Guardian, 6 May 1976'.

Jansen implied that pressure was only necessary against 'authorities in northern Cyprus and Ankara', and that Dalibard only endured 'Turkish and Turkish Cypriot objections', that 'publish[ing] and promptly act[ing] upon' Dalibard's full report would only have affected 'the Turkish side'.

And it is true that Fielding (1976: 13) described the Turkish Cypriot administration's propaganda and UNESCO's censorship of Dalibard's report as 'a depressing indicator of Unesco's timidity and the Turkish Cypriots' calculated disregard for the truth'.

Yet the very first paragraph of John Fielding's (1976: 13) study of the Rape of Northern Cyprus stated (with my emphases) that,
Almost two years after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus, a Unesco report on the looting and vandalism of Greek churches in the occupied north of the island has been suppressed for fear of upsetting both Greeks and Turks.
Fielding did claim that the Turkish Cypriot administration must have 'perceived and approved' of 'vandalism and desecration' 'so methodical and so widespread that they amount[ed] to institutionalised obliteration of everything sacred to a Greek'.

But (again with my emphases) Fielding also stated that
The [Turkish Cypriot] hatred and lies are deeply rooted in the memories and mythology of massacre and spoliation in the 103 Turkish villages destroyed by Greeks in 1963 [sic].
Jansen denied this claim by omission, and thus misrepresented Turkish Cypriot nationalist violence in particular, and the Cyprus Problem in general (as well as Fielding's work).

Fielding judged that, because of the Greek Cypriot nationalist violence against Turkish Cypriot cultural heritage before 1974,
Since the invasion of 1974, it is the Greek churches, perceived as monuments to oppression and symbols of a divisive constitution that made the Turks second class citizens, that have borne the revenge.
Not only is this knowledge essential to understanding the destruction of Greek Cypriot cultural property, but it's also essential to honest and just histories of the Cyprus Conflict. Denial of any community's suffering is both historically misleading and morally wrong.

Obviously, I do not expect Jansen or others to discuss everything every time (or indeed, everything any time); but when education and research are so grossly one-sided, they are mere propaganda.

[I quoted all of the sources word-for-word the same, but I added paragraph breaks to long quotations to make them easy-to-read in a blog post.]


Dalibard, J. 1976: Cyprus: Status of the conservation of cultural property. Paris: UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation). Available at:

Fielding, J. 1976: "The rape of Northern Cyprus". The Guardian, 6th May, 13.

Jansen, M. 1986: "Cyprus: The loss of a cultural heritage". Modern Greek Studies Yearbook, Volume 2, 314-323.

Jansen, M. 2005: War and cultural heritage: Cyprus after the 1974 Turkish invasion. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.

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