| SOCIAL ISSUES |Phileleftheros



The issue is not only political, it is also humanitarian. Thirty people – men, women, children – have been stranded for days now on a piece of land, between two places that want to reunite and become one. But at present, this space is a buffer zone separating the two parts. These 30 people knew nothing of history, nor geography, nor politics. All they knew was that there is a paradise somewhere and that they can somehow reach it. Some traffickers convinced them that they knew the way and would lead them there. And they took the risk. They borrowed money, sold everything they had and set off for the unknown. They crossed hundreds of kilometres, passed through mountains, deserts and seas, until they reached an island where they hoped to rest. They would enter a camp, ask for asylum, each tell a story – true or false, it doesn’t matter; after all, poverty is violence. It’s something everyone wants to escape from. And even if there’s no war, there are gangs, oppression, lack of work, lack of any opportunity. Of course, the person reviewing the application will not accept all that, he will want something more, more specific violence. And he will have it.

But they didn’t make it to that stage. They are trapped in an open space with dry weeds, snakes and foxes. Locals say the buffer zone is a paradise for fauna since they can live and reproduce undisturbed by human activities. But they don’t know that either. They think they’re in a desert. With the sun burning the stones. And as the days pass, the paradise they dreamed of proves to be hell. The children cry, wanting to go back home, or at least, to a home.

The president of the country is angry. “We cannot accept any more asylum seekers. No one can blackmail us.” The parties are silent. Even those who had some sensitivities on their agenda do not dare utter a word because they know very well that their voters do not agree. If a child dies tomorrow from the heat and conditions there, they may cry, they may express their sadness on facebook, but it will not be our fault. It will be the fault of the parents who put their children through such an ordeal. It will be the fault of the Turks for sending them to us, it will be the fault of the United Nations for setting up tents for them to live in.

How did we get like this? (And the Buffer Zone, whose land is it? Isn’t it our land?)


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.

You may also like

Comments are closed.