Tales from the Coffeeshop: The end of delusions would spell the end of politics as we know it.
I KNOW it seems a bit pathetic writing about an essay question that appeared in the Greek paper of the university entrance exams, but this was the probably the most inspired essay subject ever as it highlighted a disease of epidemic proportions in Kyproulla -- delusions.
The essay question, which caused students, their parents and teachers to engage in mass moaning about its difficulty and vagueness, was the following: "Inside this global framework, which is fluid and turbulent, our country remains, always, a special case. It went through a lot during this period, but it seems to have learned little. However, in recent years, it is experiencing a historic moment: the end of delusions."
The only criticism that could be levelled against the examiner was that he expected the kids to answer with a maximum 500 words, when a PhD thesis would not have been enough for a proper discussion of the subject. The key feature of our history in the last 55 years has been the culture of acute delusion. I will attempt a brief answer, which would probably have been given a zero as an answer to the exam question, but then again I am not looking for a place at university.
'Our country remains a special case -- in fact a basket case -- but it has learned nothing from what it has gone through because one of the main delusions of our rulers is that they are infallible and therefore make the same mistakes over and over again. As for the "historic moment: the end of delusions", it is figment of the imagination of an over-optimistic mind, considering we have at last realised our dream of becoming a regional centre for something -- delusions.'
THE ESSAY question would have been more appropriate for our politicians the overwhelming majority of whom have successfully used their delusions to advance their careers. The end of delusions would spell the end of politics as we know it.
Although delusions are associated with mental illness, our politicians are wonders of science as they consistently display the symptom while being completely sane.
According to Wikipedia, "the psychiatrist and philosopher Karl Jaspers was the first to define the three main criteria for belief to be considered delusional in a 1913 book. These criteria are: certainty (held with absolute conviction); incorrigibility (not changeable by compelling counter-argument or proof to the contrary) impossibility of falsity of content (implausible, bizarre or patently untrue)."
There are many types of delusions but two types apply to our politicians.
Delusions of grandeur -- "the sufferer has no insight into his loss of touch with reality; he is convinced he has special powers, talents or abilities; these delusions are characterised by fantastical beliefs that one is omnipotent, or otherwise very powerful." Lillikas' promise to liberate Cyprus is an example as was Makarios' conviction that he could take on the US, by sucking up to the Soviet Union, and win.
Persecutory delusions -- "these involve the theme of being followed, harassed, cheated, spied on, conspired against or otherwise obstructed in the pursuit of goals." Akelites of all parties suffer from this condition, believing the West is forever conspiring against Kyproulla; the top sufferer was the late Spy Kyp, who was the victim of domestic as well as foreign conspiracies.
IT WAS no surprise that the Alliance of Lillikas, who is the true heir of Makarios in the delusions of grandeur stakes, felt obliged to issue a statement lambasting the government for the exam question because its "propaganda about its bailout policy and the Anan-type settlement it was pursuing had gone beyond every limit."
The one-man party claimed the question, "forcing graduates to adopt the government policy of delusions and hallucinations verged on brain-washing." Nobody is more qualified to talk on the matter than our leading salesman of delusions -- he would raise billions by selling our natural gas before we found it; he would build military alliances to counter Turkey's threat; he would secure liberation, not a settlement -- Yiorkos. Maybe next year the Greek language essay question aimed at brainwashing kids should be: Are delusions of grandeur a character trait of all Paphites or just of the district's politicians trying to hide their peasant origins?
TROUBLEMAKER Tricky Ricky has displayed the symptoms of persecutory delusions (which are not dissimilar to claims of martyrdom) after the findings of the Kallis investigation were announced, last month.
Immediately after the report which concluded that he could be charged for bribery etc, Rikkos claimed he that the "socio-economic establishment of the capital" was out to get him. On Wednesday, a day after the AG announced that he had filed a criminal case against the deputy AG, Rikkos revealed that "foreign circles" also wanted him out of the way but did not elaborate.
It could be NATO, the CIA or the British Foreign Office which are invariably cited by sufferers of persecutory delusions. Rikkos' delusions did not allow him to see the reality -- that his boss the AG was out to get him and with his idiotic antics and bullying behaviour he made the job very easy for Costas Clerides.
In the end it was neither the "socio-economic establishment of the capital" nor "foreign circles" that caused his downfall, but his arrogant belief that a politician could get away with anything. Such was his arrogance he used his position to resolve a civil dispute in favour of clients of his law office, ordering a state research institute to pay up funds it was not obliged to pay.
But he had a kind heart. We should not forget that the reason he got into trouble in the first place was because he was trying to help a 13-year-old orphan girl from Russia.
BRINGING charges against a deputy AG, enjoying the high protection of the president, is a big step forward for Kyproulla democracy. Who would have thought we would ever have an AG that would stand up to the president and openly defy his wishes?
That is exactly what Clerides has done, ignoring the requests of a compromise by the presidential palace, conveyed by middlemen. We hear that Clerides was offered the immediate resignation of Rikkos if he agreed to drop the criminal charges but the AG did not budge. He also brought charges against the Andreas Neocleous Law Office and one of the partners of the firm Panayiotis Neocleous, a decision that would have caused prez Nik to suffer ashtray-throwing fits.
Nik has very close ties with his fellow Limassol lawyer Andreas Neocleous. It was as a personal favour to him that he has been so keen to secure Governor Crystal's resignation. Neocleous has made it the mission of his life to get Crystal sacked. The Rikkos saga was sparked by an attempt by deputies friendly to Neoclous to force Crystal's resignation by raising the issue of conflict of interest at the legislature, but it went horribly wrong as we all know.
Once it became obvious that he could not save Rikkos, Nik brought up the issue of Crystal's resignation again, in the hope of not losing Neocleous' friendship. He had been holding onto the file he had asked the AG to prepare, with regard to applying to the Supreme Court for the termination of the governor's services, without taking a decision. The AG, apparently, does not believe there is a strong case and has left the decision to Nik.
YESTERDAY'S stroll of the two amigos north and south of the dividing line that cuts through the middle of the old part of Nicosia was resounding success. There were plenty of smiles and good cheer while ordinary people applauded them and urged them to get on with the business of finding a settlement.
The stroll was a great idea, creating a positive and festive atmosphere in the old town, which did not go down very well with some bash-patriots. Eurocock chief Demetris Syllouris had to belittle the occasion with the sort of pitiful comment you would expect from a 16-year-old.
"A walk does neither good nor bad," he said before turning into the Delphic Oracle and warning, "many walks without results cause big harm to Cyprus." Syllouris suffers from delusions of adequacy.
THE DEPUTY chairman of the CyBC Thanasis Tsokkos gave prez Nik a package of proposals for confidence-building measures, it was reported yesterday. These included ending the interference on frequencies that both sides sportingly engage in, agreement on the use of frequencies and many other things.
It was a bit ironic considering Tsokkos did not think of the most obvious CBM. Stopping the bash-patriotic jackals that run the CyBC's television news department from constantly poisoning public opinion with their anti-settlement views and biased reports designed to stir hatred, would be the most useful confidence-building measure of all.
And it does not even require the consent of the Turkish Cypriots.
TWO VIETNAMESE women were remanded in custody for four days, last Monday, for living off earnings from prostitution, reported Politis on Tuesday. The women admitted that in the last few months they were selling sex services in flats and hotel rooms in the Mackenzie area of Larnaca, the news report said.
As the court heard, they had a clever 'two-for-the-price-of-one' marketing policy, as both went to bed with the customer for a mere e1/460. I doubt there were many customers who would have turned down this offer as the threesome is a very common male fantasy. Feminist groups like MIGS may have even approved of the arrangement as it reduced the risk of the male being violent.
The cops caught the Vietnamese double act in the usual way. One of their low-life mates posed as a customer, had sex and paid the women with marked euro notes, which the cops took as evidence of the transaction, when they raided the scene of the crime a few minutes after the sex was over. According to the report, the police also raided the women's flat and found some e1/42,000 in cash which were alleged earnings from prostitution.
I mention this because I cannot think what the women had done that was illegal and justified their remand. Is a threesome against the law, were they working on Sundays and taking customers and revenue away from small businesses or had they not obtained a licence from the interior ministry? As prostitution is not illegal, and these women were not pimps, why had they been arrested? If there is one profession in Cyprus that needs a union to represent it is prostitution.
NOBODY could ever accuse Cypriot lawyers of having too much respect for the law. Ten days ago, the President of the Nicosia Bar Association, Costas Demetriades, sent a circular informing the members of his association that one of their colleagues had been charged for smoking in the lounge/cafe reserved for lawyers in the grounds of the Nicosia courts.
In his circular he told lawyers -- as if they did not know -- that smoking was not permitted inside the premises and included the excerpt of the law stating this, in case they did not believe him. The closing sentence of Demetriades' pathetic circular underlined the fact that obeying the law was a matter of personal choice, at least for lawyers. He said: "Our request is that you refrain from smoking in these rooms, unless you wish to do it at your own risk."
The president of the Nicosia Bar Association, which is meant to ensure high professional standards among its members, does not mind lawyers showing a little contempt for the law. It is a bit like saying that we would rather you did not murder anyone, unless you wish to do it at your own risk, in which case we would not mind.
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