History is a lesson we have yet to learn
There is going to be some static coming from New York next week when the Cyprus problem gets a mention in the corridors of the United Nations before more serious matters are attended to.
And this is where those who invest time and energy in the complexities of the island’s politics of division miss the point.
The international community is not waiting with bated breath for the next instalment of a peace process that has gone off the rails with little fuel left in the tank to get it back on track to a known destination.
Just like the botched Brexit job, nobody knows where the Cyprus reunification roadshow is headed or whether those peddling the promotional brochures of a conflict-free holiday paradise actually believe in what they are selling.
President Anastasiades is going to meet UN chief Antonio Guterres on the sidelines of the UN general assembly about the prospects of jump-starting stalled Cyprus peace negotiations.
He is obviously going to make all the right sounds to assure the Greek Cypriots are ready to meaningfully engage in a fresh start – but will Guterres believe him?
Nicosia might talk a good game, but where is the evidence that the choreography has changed since the last dance at Crans-Montana where the band stopped playing before the show’s finale?
Cypriot leaders have met only once in the last 14 months as the language of diplomacy has soured into audible recriminations about how the other side is showing a lack of willingness. But where are the large-scale confidencebuilding measures to encourage people-to-people contact.
This appears to be restricted to Greek Cypriots going north for cheaper petrol, medicine and casinos while Turkish Cypriots came over to shop at supermarkets and Jumbo.
Three years ago, the leaders agreed that two more crossings across the Green Line should open to facilitate free movement but the Dherynia and Lefka crossings have yet to open.
Needless to say, there seems to be no big wave of public optimism among Greek and Turkish Cypriots to offer any real encouragement that a reunification deal is possible any time soon.
After the talks collapsed in Switzerland in July 2017, the United Nations called time out for a period of reflection to unpick the bones of the most recent failure in order to regroup and go again.
While politicians at home have been looking down at their feet during this interim period the regional climate has turned slightly more aggressive with Turkey in a belligerent mood.
Nicosia may not be able to pull a rabbit out of the hat in the context of Cyprus negotiations, but it has been busy cementing regional alliances with Israel and Egypt as it looks to play the energy card to make itself an asset which needs protecting by Washington.
Hopefully, by becoming a regional energy hub with European and American interests at stake, Cyprus calculates it would be too valuable an ally for it to be allowed to be bullied by a Turkey opposed to its energy policy outside of a comprehensive settlement.
President Anastasiades was in London this week promoting Cyprus as an ideal investment grade destination with its robust economy, conducive tax regime, professional workforce and warm weather. What could undo all that is the instability that a lack of a peace plan creates for the future of the island.
If the international community is not convinced that the Cypriots are committed to negotiating a reunification deal, preferring to stay on their side of the wall, then the UN could pull its peacekeepers.
There are myriad conflicts in the world where death and destruction demand action and resources, many would argue that Cyprus isn’t one of those places anymore.
And the UN Security Council may decide the money could be better spent elsewhere at a time its peacekeeping missions are under scrutiny.
This is supposed to be a Cypriot-led leadership is the missing ingredient that politicians from baking a recipe for success. process, prevents but our
For the past 44 years, we have been served a cold meat buffet of wishful thinking, delusional patriotism and poor excuses.
Finding a solution that pleases everybody will not materialise while any compromise is viewed as harder to swallow than a replacement meal.
And as time rolls on the zeal for a Cyprus settlement weakens with every passing generation – generations that are not integrated with the other community or feel they have anything in common.
Do the children of refugees see themselves as much anymore – the Cyprus they live in is a homogenised one where there is no sense of a multi-cultural identity.
Turkish Cypriots are also struggling to keep their Cypriot identity as the influence of Turkey and Erdogan’s own brand of Islam pervades their society while the economy is in crisis as the Turkish Lira tumbles.
Removing division can bring benefits for all Cypriots but only if viewed as a win-win situation rather than losing a limb to save the other one.
In some ways we are still stuck in the past, oblivious that history has taken its course. We are having to deal with the mistakes of our fathers and the injustices suffered through the failings of blinkered politicians and diplomats.
Arguably there is no tangible impetus to stick Cyprus back together again because Cypriots have grown tired of broken promises on an island where we dare not dream for too long.