Memories of Ali Yaliman
By Margaret Sheard
Today, Monday 29th April, was the funeral of Ali and we gathered with a large crowd of people who had come to the Kyrenia Mosque to say farewell to their friend and most people then proceeded to the cemetery where Ali was to be buried which seemed to be a very shady and tranquil spot for his last resting place. It was a very sad occasion and I am sure Ali would have been pleased to see so many friends come to pay their respects. Ali Yaliman – 26th January 1944 to 26th April 2013 – May He Rest In Peace.
I first met Ali when I came with my sister to live in Cyprus some 9½ years ago. We had popped into Cafe de Paris for a coffee and got talking to a man sitting on his own and it turned out that he lived in a property which was at the rear of my soon to be finished bungalow. So this was how I first met Ali who was to become my neighbour. When I moved into my property some months later I had a garden to create and as it was taking shape Ali and his wife Rosa when walking past would comment on how well it was coming along, in fact eventually Ali suggested that perhaps there should be a local best gardens competition and I should enter, which was very flattering.
Some years later Ali and Rosa moved to Bellapais and I continued to see Ali when he came back to the area a few times a week to feed the stray cats he had adopted, which didn’t seem to like the move to Bellapais, and all but one returned to their previous home but after a few attempts to move them again, Ali decided they should stay where they were and he would bring food for them. This went on for a long time so occasionally I saw him on his cat feeding travels and also bumped into him in and around Girne.
On one of these occasions, meeting in Girne, we sat and had a chat and Ali told me he was in the process of discussions to launch a newspaper which was to be a revival of the Cyprus Observer. When the newspaper was operational my partner, Chris, started to contribute articles and after few weeks Ali suggested I wrote an article about Chateau Lambousa. Not having written for a newspaper before I was very pleased with the finished article and I think Ali was too. I thought this was just a one-off exercise but before long I was writing more and more articles and thoroughly enjoying it. Ali also asked me if I would proof-read the newspaper and I started to do this with copy emailed to me at home but eventually I spent one day a week at the offices of the Observer alongside the Page Designer (then Moazzam Saeed). From this I learned quite a lot about the way in which the newspaper is produced so it was a very good learning curve and experience of something entirely new to me.
Apart from attending events, writing articles and meeting deadlines, we did have some social relaxation with Ali and one event we were invited to was an afternoon picnic at Camelot Beach where the team took their goodies and joined others for a nice afternoon in the sun. On another occasion we were invited to dinner with Ali’s neighbour who was an extremely good cook and following this I wrote an article about this nice evening. We also took Ali and Rosa to Lambousa Market one Saturday as Rosa had never been there and had a nice morning looking at the many stalls with their array of goods. There were many of my articles that Ali liked, such as the very colourful Klepini Restaurant in Arapkoy and The Mane Event Hairdresser of the Year, which were published in my weekly colour page allocation. Ali gave me a fairly free hand with the type of articles I wrote which were normally about charities and their events and also community life in North Cyprus and he always seemed very happy with what I produced.
Ali had spent many years in journalism and had a lot of stories to tell about his life in that field and the many people he met along the way. I am sure he will be missed by a lot of people but most of all my sympathies go out to Rosa who must be feeling so lost without her husband and soul-mate, Ali.