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In the 2002 German comedy, Goodbye Lenin,  a devoted communist is in a coma when the Berlin Wall falls and misses all the world-changing events in her country. Her children, in order not to overburden her delicate health when she wakes, pretend for her sake and with various tricks that they are still living in the pre-1989 era. So imagine if you will a devoted Makarios supporter going into a coma before [George] Vassiliou’s election, waking up today and running into the DIKO [Democratic Party] campaign with Makarios and Spyros [Kyprianou]. Justifiably, the woman will lie down again, smiling and relieved that nothing has changed…   

And just like that, over there at the Democratic Coma (as it should now be called) [Editor’s note: a play on words as the word for party and coma are homophones in Greek] they have finally divorced themselves from the grim reality of 2024 in which they’ve become the tail of [Nikos] Christodoulides (and by extension of Nikaros [Editor’s note: a nickname for Nikos Anastasiades] who they once called “the most corrupt ever”); they’ve become a political joke who are trailing behind ELAM in the polls. Can you blame them for disconnecting from today and still living in the 60s, 70s and 80s (the truth is that for them time stopped in 1988) where they relive the glory of Makarios and Spyros (with a glimpse of Tassos [Papadopoulos]) over and over again like fucking Groundhog Day (I picture Nikolas [Papadopoulos, DIKO leader] waking up every morning to Sonny & Cher’s I Got You Babe)? At least then they had a reason to exist. Today, DIKO is considered as relevant as the CD-ROM. A right-wing party, too confused for DISY, too extreme for AKEL (but working well with both if the spoils of power are to be shared) that oscillates between moderation and nationalism/populism with all the grace of a sumo wrestler in Swan Lake. You practically expect someone who is permanently confused – due to illness or simple denial – to confuse the times.   

DIKO launched its Back to the Future “campaign” with “Greek Cypriot people! The voice you hear is familiar. I am Makarios”, exactly half a century after it was said, when the coup plotters attacked the Presidential Palace and [Makarios] fled to Paphos. The coup, by coincidence, is absent from the official programme of events and educational material for the 50th anniversary of the invasion (apart from perhaps a few scattered, watered down references), courtesy of the government that is even more zealously supported by the pro-Makarios DIKO… than by Philippa [Karsera Christodoulides] herself. To give you an idea of just how in touch they are with their surroundings in general. Another legitimate question raised by this senseless election campaign is who exactly is it aimed at? Because the only appropriate way for those who still give half a rat’s ass about Makarios to get the message is through… a seance, since they have left this futile world maaaaany years ago. Do they really believe at the Democratic Coma that, through social media, they will reach an audience that will take them seriously and vote for them in any election, even for a new Board of Directors at the Thermal Hydraulics Association? Yes, they went viral if that was the point, but so did… Makis that bona fide trainwreck-of-a-campaign from 2021 that was taken down faster than a teenager’s pants on a five-day school trip. So how many more slaps does the universe have to give you for you to finally get the hint and cut the campaigns?   

In the campaign, Makarios was replaced by Spyros, who I didn’t live to see but a friend told me he was the first professional stand-up comedian on the island, and that there was a lot of laughter during his tenure because the only alternative would have been to break the Jonestown record for the largest mass suicide in history. “My vision is to roam free in every inch of my homeland,” Spyros said and for some reason – 40 years later and with half of Cyprus still under occupation – this is considered quotable for a campaign and not a Paisios-type prophecy [Editor’s note: Saint Paisios was a Greek Eastern Orthodox ascetic known for his prophecies] with a success rate commensurate with the success rate of the Cyprus Police solving bombings and arsons. At least Tassos, completing the array of DIKO leaders, was the campaign’s only (short-lived) contact with the 21st century. And of DIKO in general. 

I really hope this “campaign” was purely their idea and not that of an advertising/PR agency. Imagine if they actually paid for our (unintended) entertainment…


A journalist for over 20 years, Marinos Nomikos has been a constant thorn in the side of the Establishment, thanks to his sharp humour and insightful social commentary. He has collaborated, among others, with the newspapers Politis, Kathimerini and Phileleftheros, the magazines TV Mania and Down Town, and the radio stations Active, Sfera and Kanali 6. He currently writes for the websites ToThemaOnline and LimassolToday and presents the podcast ‘TV Stories’ by Alpha.

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