In the interest of civil conversations and some interesting contemplation, perhaps whilst on holiday or for those who live in Cyprus or who have made Cyprus their home. This article isn’t exactly an article for a holiday blog post but I currently don’t have an alternative platform to try and discuss these issues. Perhaps you may be interested in some civil conversation, perhaps not.
Change comes about at the margins. People in the center are not going to be the big change makers. You’ve got to put yourself at the margins and be willing to risk in order to make change. But more importantly, you have got to approach differences with this notion that there is good in the other. That’s it. And if we can’t figure out how to do that — if there isn’t the crack in the middle where there’s some people on both sides who absolutely refuse to see the other as evil, this is going to continue. FRANCES KISSLING
I feel compelled to write about the unhealthy discourse often found on social media about the situation that Cyprus finds itself in at present. Without any political agenda for one side or the other I wonder why after 50 years the two sides cannot still put there differences aside. Why the blame game still continues and is there no other way to heal the wounds of the past. Whilst we cannot change what has happened surely now 50 years on the people should be asking some much deeper moral questions.
I am in fact, only a onlooker to such historical events and cannot for one minute imagine what it would be like being in the midst of war and the evil that exists within or what compels men to want to protect their existence by killing another human being. Nor am I of any religious affiliation. I am however drawn to the fate of living amongst a divided nation, whose disdain for one another drives me insane and at best pushes me to try to have some understanding and some dialect for encouraging some moral rhetoric. Surely we can draw on the human instinct to keep the possibility of living together alive or are we so stuck in negative default mode, democratised by our nation state that no-one can see a way out. Are we so unable to hear another's voice, to create civil dialogue with our neighbours, to hold space for the suffering encountered and to stand up for change.
There is a political and moral crisis about what the country is and who its citizens are and this makes us all vulnerable. It has also made the people protective of each other's nationality and each side tends to respond to the vulnerability in a way that is punitive to each other. Their vulnerability is in the current system itself. The North have been forced by the embargoes to a place where the people no longer have entitlements or presence. Where their rights have been eroded and the more interconnected the world gets, the more global it gets, the harder it is to become integrated and in turn the South has become globalized. It's interests lies with the accumulation of capital and expansion. Which has produced more inequality and has increased the divide.
Don’t we all care about justice, compassion and truth. The economic system is built on a system of producing wealth wherever possible, this produces a system that doesn’t care and one that is built on deception. Which makes us ignore the truth and resist the very thing that will set us all free.
It is easy to feel that as individuals our efforts won’t make a difference. The truth is that every choice we make does make a difference. To others and to ourselves. We need to see those who we consider different from us as fellow human beings and not just a group of people lacking an identity or personality of their own. With awareness we can create a better island for everyone. We can cultivate collaboration and full respect for ourselves and our own autonomy, as well as for the freedom of those around us and these should be are guiding principles. We should approach all obstacles in life as opportunities for developing compassion, creativity and resilience.
There are those who will always fight back, using disinformation, scare tactics and propaganda in an attempt to invalidate the evolutionary messages because it is economically viable for them to do so but awareness opens the doors to social change and people of integrity demand change. Powerful change is happening right now, around the world, as more and more people are opening their minds to more meaningful ways of living. We are seeing this in the social justice movements. The message is clear, we need to create a world built on compassion rather than cruelty, empathy rather than apathy, authenticity rather than dishonesty and justice rather than oppression.
Awareness can be healing for all of us. We can make choices that reflex what we authentically think and feel, we can make choices on how we wish to live with our fellow human beings. Those choices are yours choices and we can all make a difference.
For me, the question of democracy also opens up the question of what does it mean to be truly human. And it seems to me that we need to recognize that to develop the best humanity, the best spirit, the best community, there needs to be discipline, practices of exploring. How do you do that? How do we work together? How do we talk together in ways that will open up our best capacities and our best gifts? - VINCENT HARDING
So then the question is, how are we going to have a community that is hospitable, that is going to work in terms of protecting rights? The question is how does Cyprus start to have these civil conversations?
In researching this article I came across some guidance drawn from the Civil Conversations Project at http://www.civilconversationsproject.org. There are some very interesting podcasts available for those who want to dig deeper into the conversation. The Civil Conversations Project is a collection of audio, video, writings, and resources for planting new conversations in families and communities. How do we speak the questions we don’t know how to ask each other? Can we find ways to cross gulfs between us about politics and the meaning of community itself? How to engage our neighbors who have become strangers? Can we do that even while we continue to hold passionate disagreements on deep, contrasting convictions? How is technology playing into all this, and how can we shape it to human purposes? You will have your own questions, particular to your community and concerns to add.
We insist on approaching civility as an adventure, not as an exercise in niceness. It is a departure from ways of being and interacting that aren’t serving our age of change.
By gathering like minded people. Not with the intent to reach any resolution or conclusions but by creating and renewing common life. No one will be advocating to bring others to see things their way. No one will feel pressured to give up the ground they stand on. There is value in learning to speak together honestly and relate to each other with dignity, without rushing to common ground that would leave all the hard questions hanging. If we can learn to speak differently together then maybe we can learn to live together differently.
What questions would you like to pose and hold with others in the period ahead? This inquiry in itself is critical, and it deserves time and care and cultivation. You might feel called to address a particular issue or challenge in your direct community. You might want to attend to nurturing courage and resilience for the life and work in which you and others are already engaged. You might feel called most urgently to address different others in your community on a human level, humanising the issues or putting your differences to one side while coming to know each other as people. And of course all of these longings and aims can find expression in the same process over time.
Our young century is awash with questions of meaning, of how we structure our common life, and who we are to each other. It seems we are more divided than ever before, unable to speak across the differences we must engage to create the world we want for ourselves and our children.
Yet you and I have it in us to be nourishers of discernment, fermenters of healing. We have the language, the tools, the virtues and the calling, as human beings, to create hospitable spaces for taking up the hard questions of our time.
This calling is too important and life-giving to wait for politics or media at their worst to come around. We can discover how to calm fear and plant the seeds of the robust civil society we desire and that our age demands.
This is civic work and it is human work, in the most expansive 21st century sense of that language. We can learn for our time what moral imagination, social healing, and civil discourse can look like and how it can take work.
Public life is bigger than political life. We have narrowly equated the two in recent years, and we’ve impoverished ourselves in the process. Public life includes all of our disciplines and endeavors, including our selves as citizens and professional people and neighbours and parents and friends. The places we’ve looked for leadership and modeling have become some of the most broken in our midst. And so it is up to us, where we live, to start having the conversations we want to be hearing and creating the realities we want to inhabit.
This wisdom is possible in life and in society, it emerges precisely through those moments when we have to hold seemingly opposing realities in a creative tension and interplay: power and frailty, birth and death, pain and hope, beauty and brokenness, mystery and conviction, calm and erceness, mine and yours.
With Love x
If you are living in North Cyprus and want to contribute in any way to the civil conversation please join the UNITE CYPRUS NOW Facebook page or visit their website at www.unitecyprusnow.org.
PRESS RELEASE - 15.07.2018
(Scroll down for GR and TR translations)
UniteCyprusNow calls for an honest conversation about events of July 1974
July is a difficult month for Cyprus. This year we mark the 44th anniversary of the tragic events of 15 July and 20 July 1974. Although these events may carry different meanings for different people, they brought indescribable pain to all Cypriots, having led to the death and displacement of many, and having torn our homeland apart.
Today, UniteCyprusNow asks Cypriots of all communities including our leaders to start engaging in an honest conversation about our own part in the bloodshed and division, the pain we have inflicted on each other, and the role Turkey and Greece played in our sufferings. Without such a conversation, we will be stuck in an endless cycle of the past, holding us back from building a better future.
The anniversaries should serve as a reminder that we, Cypriots, need to acknowledge that our past is filled with common sufferings, mistakes and injustices. We will only be able to build a better future by facing our past, recognising our own mistakes, acknowledging each other’s pain, and offering forgiveness.
It is ultimately up to us to lead the way forward to uniting our country, so that we don’t hand down a divided island marred by hatred, enmity and nationalism to the next generations.
Join us by signing up on www.unitecyprusnow.org and help us unite our country and its people.
ΔΕΛΤΙΟ ΤΥΠΟΥ - 15.07.2018
H UniteCyprusNow καλεί σε μία ειλικρινή συζήτηση για τα γεγονότα του Ιούλιου 1974
Ο Ιούλης είναι ένας δύσκολος μήνας για την Κύπρο. Αυτή η χρονιά σηματοδοτεί την 44η επέτειο των τραγικών γεγονότων της 15ης και 20ης Ιουλίου 1974. Παρ’όλο που αυτά τα γεγονότα μπορεί να έχουν διαφορετικό νόημα για τον καθένα, έχουν προκαλέσει απερίγραπτο πόνο σε όλους τους Κυπρίους, έχοντας οδηγήσει πολλούς στον θάνατο και στον εκτοπισμό και έχοντας μοιράσει την πατρίδα μας.
Σήμερα, η UniteCyprusNow ζητά από τους Κυπρίους όλων των κοινοτήτων, συμπεριλαμβανομένων και των ηγετών μας, να εμπλακούν σε μια ειλικρινή συζήτηση για το δικό μας μερίδιο ευθύνης στην αιματοχυσία και τη διαίρεση, για τον πόνο που έχουμε προκαλέσει ο ένας στον άλλο και για τον ρόλο που η Τουρκία και η Ελλάδα έχουν διαδραματίσει στα δεινά μας. Χωρίς μια τέτοια συζήτηση, θα παραμείνουμε καθηλωμένοι στον φαύλο κύκλο του παρελθόντος που δεν θα μας επιτρέπει να χτίσουμε ένα καλύτερο αύριο.
Οι επετείοι πρέπει να μας υπενθυμίζουν ότι εμείς, οι Κύπριοι, οφείλουμε να αναγνωρίσουμε ότι το παρελθόν μας είναι γεμάτο με κοινά δεινά, λάθη και αδικίες. Ο μόνος τρόπος για να μπορέσουμε να χτίσουμε ένα καλύτερο μέλλον είναι αντικρίζοντας το παρελθόν μας, παραδεχόμενοι τα δικά μας λάθη, αναγνωρίζοντας τον πόνο του άλλου και συγχωρώντας.
Εναπόκειται σε μας τελικά να δείξουμε τον δρόμο προς την ένωση της πατρίδας μας για να μην παραδώσουμε ένα διαιρεμένο νησί, γεμάτο μίσος, έχθρα και εθνικισμό στις επόμενες γενιές.
Εγγραφείτε στο www.unitecyprusnow.org και ελάτε μαζί μας, βοηθείστε μας να ενώσουμε την πατρίδα μας και τους ανθρώπους της.
BASIN BİLDİRİSİ - 15.07.2018
Temmuz 1974 olayları ile ilgili samimi bir tartışma başlamalıdır
Temmuz Kıbrıs için zor bir aydır. Bu yıl, 15 Temmuz ve 20 Temmuz 1974 trajik olaylarının 44. yıldönümüdür. Farklı insanlar için farklı anlamlar taşısalar da, bu olaylar, birçok insanın hayatını kaybetmesine, yerinden olmasına ve ülkemizin bölünmesine neden olmuş ve tüm Kıbrıslılara anlatılmaz acılar vermiştir.
Bugün UniteCyprusNow olarak, Kıbrıs’taki tüm toplumlara ve liderlere, dökülen kandaki ve ülkemizin bölünmesindeki payımız, birbirimize yaşattığımız ıstıraplar, ve Türkiye ve Yunanistan’ın bu acıda oynadığı rol ile ilgili samimi bir tartışma başlatmaları çağrısı yapmaktayız. Böyle bir tartışma olmaksızın, geçmişin bitmez döngüsüne çakılıp kalacak ve daha iyi bir gelecek kurmakta başarısız olacağız.
Söz konusu yıldönümleri, biz Kıbrıslılara, geçmişimizin ortak acılar, hatalar ve haksızlıklarla dolu olduğunu hatırlatmalıdır. Ancak geçmişimizle yüzleşerek, hatalarımızı kabul ederek, birbirimizin acılarını tanıyarak ve affederek daha iyi bir gelecek kurabiliriz.
Gelecek nesillere nefret, düşmanlık ve milliyetçilik ile lekeli bölünmüş bir ada bırakmamak, ve ülkemizi birleştirmek için öncülük etmek bizim elimizdedir.
www.unitecyprusnow.org web sitemize kaydolarak bize katılın ve ülkemizi ve insanlarımızı birleştirme çabalarımıza yardımcı olun.