When Silence Souls Speak
The illusive opposite ends of an argument
Go their separate ways…

Having witnessed several loud media debates on the so-called opposite ends of the spectrum on racism, namely the racists and the anti-racists, I cannot help but wonder where are the people being framed and stigmatized by all the players in these processes. Who represents who has dogged my thinking as an artist, academic and human being for many decades.

I can recall being at school in the late 1960’s and the teacher, a pleasant enough person in general whose name I cannot clearly recall sent me to stand in the corner for 45 minutes. It felt like a life time. I was disciplined as they say in draconian pedagogic methods. My crime – speaking my mind. It was a trivial issue. ‘Zorba The Greek’ had topped many a chart during that decade and our teacher, who was I think Welsh, had decided to teach us the steps. Zorbas or hassaposerviko as I later came to know it as a semi-pro folk dancer during my youth, was a dance I had learnt somehow from birth. But for those 45 minutes, despite knowing the teacher was wrong, it felt like my whole world had ended. One of the most humiliating things for me was being silenced, being told not to speak, not to move, to just freeze still obediently.

What does all this have to do with media debates or lack of on racism in Cyprus? Simple, the issue of who speaks in the media and who doesn’t is as old as charcoal etchings on stone cave walls. In Cyprus, the media, especially TV, Radio and newspapers have a paternalistic approach to audiences and giving every one a voice. Also many times they just manufacture blatant lies. For example it has allegedly been claimed ‘immigrants’ in a neighbourhood in Larnaca – we have never seen or heard them – but that’s the claim – are ‘insisting’ the bells of St Lazarus Church, a very sacred place in Christian Orthodoxy, should not be ringing. No one explains why, the alleged ‘immigrants’ have allegedly posited this, beyond of course the highly contentious myth that they could be muslims!

So there they sat, I do not need to name names. The racist MP and the anti-racist activist. Shouting their heads off at each other, full amplitude, deafening decibels. I know they are worlds apart, so whats the point in watching. The TV presenter loves it, the ratings always soar when an argument is heated. The Radio presenter loves it, the ratings always rocket when an argument sounds like its taking place between enemies in a coffee shop.

Amongst all this you wonder who speaks, who doesn’t and why the media simply don’t represent people with respect for equality and a right to exist as human beings. Have you ever seen an African, Asian or even a European citizen included in any of these debates. The question is obviously rhetorical as we all know the answer is a resounding “NO!”

I also wonder whether the racist MP and anti-racist activist aint got nothing better to do than look like a pair of fake gladiators, like those idjuts in those highly staged WWF TV bouts.

It is a lot more relevant to stick on an old LKJ LP called ‘Forces of Vicktry’ and take heed. The lyrics are just as relevant today as they were in 1979…..

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