| Social Issues |Phileleftheros



For weeks now, in Greece and internationally, people have been arguing over what happened on the islet in the Evros river. Basically, a number of people – around 38 – arrived on the islet and then found themselves stranded there, unwanted by both Turkey and Greece, whose governments even ended up refuting ownership of the islet. Until a child died, as was reported, from a scorpion sting. After this incident, Greece intervened, having belatedly discovered that these individuals were within  its own territory, and took on their rescue and provision of hospitality until further notice. 

The debate on the incident is still ongoing, calling into question even the death of the child who, according to those present, had to be buried on the spot since she could not be left unburied until someone deigned to intervene.

And now, let’s look closer to home. The Interior minister is pushing ahead undeterred with his plan to extend the barbed wire fences placed along the so-called Buffer Zone, as well as with the installation of gates allowing people living in the area, their visitors, and those who work in their fields (who will now find themselves behind barbed wire) to enter and exit, following special procedures.

Beyond the victimisation of these citizens of the Republic of Cyprus, who have found themselves living in a real no man’s land, let us consider the possibility of groups of refugees not being deterred by our imaginative measures and  arriving there. What will happen? Will they be left to live there, trapped with the local residents and farmers, who will either sympathise with their pain and will – at the very least – provide for their sustenance, or who will alternatively take the law into their own hands, once they see them ending up on their properties? Because people who have taken every risk to reach safe ground cannot give up the effort and go back. Go back where? Obviously, they will try to survive by any means possible. And if what happened in the case of Evros happens here, such as a snake bite incident, a disease, a birth…, how will we react? Will we say, as Greece did, “it’s not our responsibility, let the Turks who channeled them there take responsibility”?

Even if barbed wire is placed along the entire length of the Green Line, even if a wall is built, even if prickly pear cacti are planted, as some are suggesting, the problem will not be solved. Unless, of course, we mine our EEZ as well. The barbed wire solution will not solve the migration problem. All it does is punish some people who did not want to abandon the Green Line area.



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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