HM SUBLIME THUMBNAIL

having produced over 250 installments of the column for The Cyprus Mail the termination phone call came as an expected surprise. The economic recession has hit print media in Cyprus more than any one else. At the same time my sentimental side wanted to do one last column but thats how it goes for all freelancers without a work contract. Its good in a way because you can leave any time but its bad as well because as they say in the Cy vernacular ‘Aaaaatsit!!!’ at any point in time. 
I bear no grudges to previous employers. Its a philosophy that has stayed with me from my first job in Dalston circa 1976 when I worked as an assistant in a ‘Bakaliko’ supermarket. The only exception to this rule being any one who actually conned me, and on that front, whatever goes around eventually and righteously will cometh around. 
Why carry on? Well as some of you may already know, I can be rather opinionated and seeing as we live in a place where opinion is not nurtured, look no further than the parrot like methods in which children are taught at state schools, I see a need to carry on writing. I also believe in staying active on my laptop, as a citizen, teacher, poet and where possible contributing, in some small way to a wider dialogue on Cyprus and its apparently unsolvable political Problem.
Occassionally, I go off on different tangents, poetry, music, football, food and the people and places I travel through, oh and there will be a lot of talk about them media who often deliberate on our lives. On said final point, there are two clearly defined contingent groupings on the Cyprus Ish – those who want a solution and those who don’t. These between them probably represent about 60% of the people on the plantation, with an even split between those who do and don’t. The other 40% are in many ways undecided not however in a cliche floating voter type manner. They are people who may have not made their mind up either way or people who are totally alienated from politics – mainly because politics does not do anything for them. There’s also the rationalisers amongst this flock whose wait and see attitude is largely focused on what they might gain from a solution or a non-solution. These differences between the nays and yeahs and undecideds are by no means homogeneous in terms of access to power. The Rejectionists have at their disposal the monolithic power of the church, headed by an Archbishop who would prefer to close the checkpoints yesterday. There is also a degree of hegemony when it comes to the media, both those who own private media companies and practitioners in them, who in their vast majority are against a federal solution – not becuase it is innately bad – but becuse their prejudices and phobias about the ‘other’ odften ovcershadow logical reason. The media moguls, small barons when compared to Berlusconi or Murdoch have immense political capital to gain from a non-solution. Partition by the media is a reality because on both sides of the green line media moguls have been practicing what they have preached from creation – namely separation and herding audiences/readers/listerners/users like sheep. As for the people in favour, The Solutionists, its a much harder reality but many still live in hope that one day this island will be free, re-united and demalitarised under a genuine federal form of governance. The relative weakness of those favouring a solution is an inability to convince people. This is partly due to the way the media protrays these people but also due to the dominance of the Rejectionist agenda and an a time frustrating inability of those favouring a solution to organise in unison and in a convincing manner. I know I know, it does sound a trifle pessimistic but doing a gig with Sofoz and Sonic Crime on May Day at Cetingaya in front of people waving flags of Stalin did seem a bit odd, especially as Sonic did a sincere rendition of ‘Imagine’ by the late John Lennon. So the lack of a common multi-party Movement for a solution has always been puzzling to me. And the longer Cypriots stay politically parted on ethnic lines the more remote a solution will become. 
The are different types in both camps, different shades of opinion, even in the undecided camp and these groupings are by no means politically homogenous. That does sound a bit strange, even freaky, coming from me, in a place where so many people are politically defined – fromn the cradle to the grave. Despite this dynamic however, many people fluctuate from official party lines when it comes to the Cyprus Problem.
 Of course there is a biographic issue with all my seriousness and perhaps its unavoidable. From  a reflexive viewpoint  my good police man friend, who shall remain totally anonymous (what do you expect he used to be a heavy metal head chewing lit Camel cigarettes as an intimidating party trick) once said ‘re Haji Mike, why don’t you leave all that politics to the side and just be Vragaman!’ Or as an aspiring music manager once told me about the Greek music industry ‘Cyprus does not sell’.  The fact is I am still said personna, its part of my artistic heritage just as much as is critical thinking and thoughts that provoke a discourse on matters which are often swept under the carpet. As for selling, if I wanted to that I would simply join the rank and file of aspiring pimped out TV sitcom scriptwriters who earn relatively more than the average plantationiot but far less than any Hollywood counterpart. 
So as long as the injustice that exists between those that have access to making distorted realities through the media and those who intepret these realities as either truths or half-truths exists, this scribe, sublime and ridiculous, will always carry on, inquisitive and resiliant, columnless bit fully blogged!

Having produced over 250 installments of the column for The Cyprus Mail the termination phone call came as an expected surprise. The economic recession has hit print media in Cyprus more than anywhere else. At the same time my sentimental side wanted to do one last column but thats how it goes for freelancers less a contract. Its good in a way because you can leave any time but its bad as well because as they say in the Cy vernacular ‘Aaaaatsit!!!’ at any point in time. 

 

I avoid bearing grudges with previous employers. Its a philosophy that has stayed with me from my first job in Dalston circa 1976 when I worked as an assistant in a ‘Bakaliko’ supermarket. The only exception to this rule being any one who actually conned me, and on that front, whatever goes around eventually and righteously will cometh around. 

 

Why carry on? Well as some of you may already know, I can be rather opinionated and seeing as we live in a place where opinion is not nurtured, look no further than the parrot like methods in which children are taught at state schools, I see a need to carry on writing. I also believe in staying active on my laptop, as a citizen, teacher, poet and where possible contributing, in some small way to a wider dialogue on Cyprus and its apparently unsolvable political Problem.

 

Occassionally, I go off on different tangents, poetry, music, football, food and the people and places I travel through, oh and there will be a lot of talk about them media who often deliberate on our lives. On said point, I have come to the following conclusion.  There are two clearly defined contingent groupings on the Cyprus Ish – those who want a solution and those who don’t. These between them probably represent about 60% of the people on the plantation, with an even split between those who do and don’t. The other 40% are in many ways undecided – not in a cliche floating voter type manner. They are people who may have not made their mind up either way or people who are totally alienated from politics – mainly because politics does not do anything for them. There’s also the rationalisers amongst this flock whose wait and see attitude is largely focused on what they might gain from a solution or a non-solution.  These differences between the nays and yeahs and undecideds are by no means homogeneous in terms of access to power or political persuasion.

The Rejectionists have at their disposal the monolithic power of the church, headed by an Archbishop who would prefer to close the checkpoints yesterday. There is also a degree of hegemony when it comes to the media, both those who own private media companies and practitioners in them, who in their vast majority are against a federal solution – not because it is innately bad – but because their prejudices and phobias about the ‘other’ often ovcershadow logical reason. The media moguls, small barons when compared to Berlusconi or Murdoch have immense political capital to gain from a non-solution. Partition by the media is a reality because on both sides of the green line media moguls have been practicing what they have preached from creation – namely separation and herding audiences/readers/listerners/users like sheep. With regard to political persuasion it is so tempting to say all AKEL people say this, DiSY people are like that and DiKO people are unanimous and all the rest. In reality though these kind of generalizations may refer to officials from these parties, who are lets face it figureheads in the media. Supporters may tend to follow their leaders but how people  actually vote, thats a different matter altogether. I know the electoral statisticians and researchers may bleat subjectivity on this issue but in some cases on the solution political parties are themselves divided – look no further than the current political cat fighting ensuing at DiKO. Further proof on this argument lies in the way people voted in the referenda of 2004, with voters in many cases defying their party lines right across the ‘no/yes’ divide. 

 

As for the people in favour, The Solutionists, its a much harder reality but many still live in hope that one day this island will be free, re-united and demalitarised under a genuine federal form of governance. The relative weakness of those favouring a solution is an inability to convince people. This is partly due to the way the media protrays these people but also due to the dominance of the Rejectionist agenda, a chorus that permeates so loudly in a consensual manner – school, army, church – the triangle of conservatism.  

 

The Solutionists also suffer from  a very frustrating inability to organise in unison and in a convincing manner. I know I know, it does sound a trifle pessimistic but in many ways, particularly post-2004 its just not worked. And when efforts at bringing people together occur they are often done in isolation or are totally marginal.For example, doing a gig with Sofoz and Sonic Crime on May Day at Cetingaya in front of people waving flags of Stalin did seem a bit odd, especially as Sonic did a sincere rendition of ‘Imagine’ by the late John Lennon. There are some exceptions to this rule, such as the committee that has been struggling for the opening of Liminitis, but generally, the mass movement still remains a mystery so in my opinion there is still this void, this vaccuum where a common multi-party Movement should be – and as time passes it is not only baffling, when we consider Christofias and Talat are allegedly from similar shades of the political spectrum, but extremely disappointing. The longer Cypriots stay politically parted on ethnic lines the more remote a solution will become. 

Of course there is a biographic issue with all my seriousness and perhaps its unavoidable. From  a reflexive viewpoint  my good police man friend, who shall remain totally anonymous (what do you expect he used to be a heavy metal head chewing lit Camel cigarettes as an intimidating party trick) once said ‘re Haji Mike, why don’t you leave all that politics to the side and just be Vragaman!’ Or as an aspiring music manager once told me about the Greek music industry ‘Cyprus does not sell’.  The fact is I am still said personna, its part of my artistic heritage just as much as is critical thinking and thoughts that provoke discourse on matters which are often swept under the carpet. As for selling, if I wanted to do that I would simply join the rank and file of aspiring pimped out TV sitcom scriptwriters who earn relatively more than the average plantationiot but far less than any Hollywood counterpart. 

So as long as the injustice that exists between those that have access to making distorted realities through the media and those who intepret these realities as either truths or half-truths exists, this scribe, sublime and ridiculous, will always carry on, inquisitively resiliant, with biting satire – we laugh with our pain – columnless yet fully blogged!

Advertisements