- This year marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the “Green Line” along the historic center of Nicosia, a result of the bi-communal conflicts of 1963. This line in essence signaled the beginning of a ten-year period of ethnic conflicts and the division of the island into control zones. The interference of the English and later on of the UN’s multinational armies between the clashing ethnic troops did not prevent the conflicts, as their presence reflected the balance of the dominant forces in the region rather than a peacemaking force. So, after a decade of conflicts, we have been led to the military coup of the Greek Junta and the invasion by the Turkish Army, events which shaped the current status quo.
The recent history of Nicosia represents in the best possible way the recent history of Cyprus. Its division is a big and continuous failure of its people, who adopted the narration of the nationalists and got pushed into this long term conflict.
Armies, weapons, crisis, growth… and a nonexistent salary,
How beautiful it is, the militarized capitalism!
- It is pretty obvious: The number of troops and military bases that exist in Cyprus are disproportional to its size, but at the same time indicative of its strategic importance in the Eastern Mediterranean and the Middle East. The “National Guard”, the “Turkish Cypriot Security Force”, the “Hellenic Force in Cyprus”, the “Turkish Force in Cyprus”, the British and the American troops and the UN’s multinational force, have transformed the island into a huge barrack, making it one of the most militarized regions of the whole planet.
The recent military agreement between the Cypriot government and Israel dangerously escalates the situation in Cyprus and the wider region. The intention of the Cypriot government to extract hydrocarbons, be it natural gas or oil, without solving the Cyprus problem first, creates a new explosive situation, which automatically leads to a new arms race. So, whilst the public debt and the national deficit increases, whilst wages and pensions are being cut, and public spending, as well as the social welfare and environmental protection services are reduced, the Cypriot government expresses its intention to proceed with purchasing warships worth 100 million euros from Israel, as well as spending tens of millions of euros for the maintenance of old weapons.
The increasing militarization of the police and the use of the anti-terrorist special forces to suppress strikes, bi-communal actions, hunt immigrants and more recently, to control the central prisons, where they replaced the “untrained” guards, is also alarming.
The recent attempt by the government to quietly pass a law that would have enabled the government to use the army as an oppressive force in the internal affairs of the country, is another indication of where we are heading. At the same time that the crisis will marginal more and more segments / parts of the society, the repression would be the only weapon that the system will possess in order to take things under its control. The Cypriot state learns from the failures of other countries and it is getting prepared. As the experiment in Gaza – a prison country – is transferred to the so-called “first world”, the ally state of Israel will be a good teacher. Let us not forget that some members of the EU have already voted laws that allow the use of the army as a repressive measure against demonstrators and rioters, while it is no secret that NATO is preparing its army towards this direction as well.
- The ethnic conflict and the geographical division are the perfect excuse for the rulers to maintain the same peculiar and extended state of exception. This regime tries to expand its power and extend its dominance to every part of our lives. It is sufficient, simply by invoking it, to suspend our labor, social, political and environmental rights, but also to suppress class struggles and mobilizations of all insubordinate pieces of the society, those from the lower classes and the outsiders. During this state of emergency, it is not only our rights that are being violated and our freedom neglected, but even the provisions of “constitutional legitimacy” and the principles of the “rule of law” of the so-called “liberal democracy” are lifted.
The time has come for Nicosia to stop being the place of exclusions and of the excluded. The time has come to abolish all armies and stand together as residents of this island against the attacks of the capital and the nationalists, who poison our lives, our bi-communal ties and our quality of life.
We are calling for everyone to participate in the march for a demilitarized Nicosia on Saturday, 15 of February 2014.
We have reached the end of our tether; we are not obeying you anymore
Eco-Polis | Syspirosi Atakton
Saturday, 15 of February 2014, 14:00
Starting point: Peace Park (Roundabout Markou Drakou)
Αποστρατιωτικοποιημένη Λευκωσία – Demilitarized Nicosia – Askersiz Lefkoşa