Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Information? Political graffiti on Christian buildings, Cyprus

I have very little internet access in Turkey, and Blogger's (currently [no longer]) banned. But I'm in the UK for my viva, so I can post these photos of political(?) graffiti on Christian buildings in Cyprus - and appeal for information!

I've also got some religious(?) Arabic graffiti on Christian buildings.

There is a Greek Cypriot Orthodox church in Lapithos/Lapta (which has been converted into the Lapithos Ballet Section of the Kyrenia Music Education Centre), on which someone has written 'enough [yeter]' and painted an open hand (see fig. 1).

Figure 1: open hand painting and 'yeter' inscription, Lapithos/Lapta

When I first saw this (walking past), I thought it was the Hand of Fatima (also known as the Hand of the Prophet), which would have been a charm to protect the building against envious or hateful people's curses of harm or misfortune.

However, when I looked at it, the writing looked less like Arabic and more like 'DMP [Demokratik Mücadele Partisi/Demokratik Mücadele Platformu (Democratic Struggle Party/Democratic Struggle Platform)]', which was a coalition of opposition against then undemocratic, nationalist rule in northern Cyprus.

Again, when I first saw this, I thought 'enough' was an appeal against desecration of other communities' sacred places.

But 'yeter' could also be a reference to the Cypriot Youth Platform's appeals to the former paramilitary, nationalist president Rauf Denktaş, 'artık yeter! Söz gençliğin istifa et ve önümüzü aç! [Enough is enough! Promise to resign and open us youth's way!]' (Işık, 2003).

There is another painting of an open hand on the perimeter walls of the Greek Cypriot cemetery in Lefkoniko/Geçitkale, with more (to me, unreadable) graffiti (see fig. 2a); and next to it, there is a (clearer, but separately-written and more recent) DMP tag (see fig. 2b).

Figure 2a: open hand painting, Lefkoniko/Geçitkale

Figure 2b: DMP tag next to the open hand painting, Lefkoniko/Geçitkale

If anyone knows what these are, I'd love to hear!

[21st June 2011 update]

Reaasuringly, fellow Cyprus Forum member Denizaksulu has observed that:
The hand could be an emblem of some party, but not so sure. If the fingers were wide spread, it would be an offensive gesture, but these do look like the hand of Fatima.

Işık, A. 2003: "Artık yeter!" Kıbrıs, 13. Aralık. Şu adreste bulunabilir: http://www.cypriot.org.uk/Documents/Haber/13-Aralik.htm

Thompson, C J S. 2003 [1932]: The Hand of Destiny: The folk-lore and superstitions of everyday life. Kila: Kessinger Publishing.


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