| Social Issues |Phileleftheros



There’s a song, with lyrics by Yiannis Negropontis, that goes: Petros, Johann and Franz (people of different backgrounds) were working in a factory for Brown, Fisher and Kraft. Both groups became inseparable. The former by making tanks and the latter by setting up a trust, which they later dissolved and became enemies, sending Petros, Johann and Franz to war, where they fell heroically after being crushed by tanks, while Brown, Fisher and Kraft joined up together again and set up a trust. And so life’s never-ending cycle goes on.

Some claim that the earthquake in Turkey may provide a good opportunity for the normalisation of relations with Greece, which had from the very first moment rushed to help and support its neighbouring country and eternal enemy. And then the suggestion was made that Greece presents Turkey with a bold proposal: That the two countries halt their planned [acquisition of] military armaments, and instead offer greater aid to those affected by the earthquake. “If the F-35s that Greece plans to buy cost 3.5 billion [euros], think how many children can be fed, housed, and sent to school with that money, how many elderly people could be cared for. If Greece goes ahead with such a move, how exposed will that leave Erdogan and any Erdogan who turns it down?”

That sounds wonderful, but it’s nothing more than a romantic aspiration. I wonder, were the Turkish people waiting to see the men of EMAK [Greece’s Disaster Management Special Units] working selflessly among the ruins with tears in their eyes, to realise that the Greeks are not a bad neighbour? And were the Greeks waiting for a tragedy such as this to realise that the Turks going about their daily lives are just as human as anyone else?

“Stereotypes of the enemy, the romantics say, are debunked through images such as that of the Greek rescuer holding the child he pulled alive from the rubble. Can this and other similar images liberate us from the fear of the ‘other’, of feelings of threat and war? Can stereotypes built over time, which are also facilitated by social institutions such as the education system, suddenly be broken after the occurrence of an unspeakable tragedy, such as an earthquake? Most importantly, how can we strengthen the momentum of communication and cooperation?”

The lyrics written by Yiannis Negropontis can provide a response: Tomorrow, Brown, Fisher and Erdogan will set up another trust, and then they’ll send Petros, Ahmet and Franz to kill each other.


Daily columnist at Phileleftheros for 20 years and editor-in-chief of the architecture magazine Synthesis. Earlier she worked for Alitheia and Politis. She was born in Dikomo and has been living permanently in Nicosia. She is married with one son.

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