Frozen Cypriots and looking back into Cyprus History
By Ismail Veli……
There are so many Facebook groups which are created for many different reasons that it’s hard not to find some that suits peoples desired interest. The downside of social media is of course the many individuals who bring their personal quarrels, gossip and prejudices into the public domain. It’s this attitude that deters many from even going on social media. Most people, and I personally, see Facebook as a positive forum for communicating with friends and relatives in the far corners of the world. It’s the cheapest and most delightful way of keeping in touch with friends’ wedding plans, new born children, birthdays, sharing old family photos etc etc. One very important point for me is the immense number of shared nostalgic photos from their origins to the present. Even historic news clips and historical documents are shared by many which often saves us the arduous and time consuming effort of searching for everything ourselves.
Two years ago I was invited by Eren Erdogan to join his newly formed group ”Frozen Cypriots.” The rules were that only nostalgic photos, postcards, history and cultural exchanges devoid of politics would be shared. With Cypriot history constant political bickering, misconception, and often ignorant of each other’s true customs, religious and cultural beliefs it seemed a refreshing idea to enjoy the positive aspects of Cypriot life (past and present). At the time the group only had a few hundred members. Due to immense support from a public that is hungry for a positive approach however, Frozen Cypriots in just over 2 years has built up its membership to over 5.500. Testament to the immense effort and support of its members. There were occasions when some individuals attempted to break the rule and introduce politics and sometimes bigotry into the equation, but the group has stood firm and barred consistent offenders. This has not only given the group a wide support base but confidence in the admin to maintain continuous and very active support.
Frozen Cypriots to date has 385 albums with a total of 10.360 photos. The vast majority are of Cyprus, including the first ever published photos dating to the 1860’s. There are odd albums of other countries across the globe which add to the amazing depth of this group. This is only part of it however. Thousands of timeline photos are added every year which do not make it into the albums. In addition there are historians who add hundreds of rare archive material like news clips dating from the 19th century. Much historic information dating back ten thousand years is often shared. The amazing thing is that it’s not just ethnic Cypriots of Turkish, Greek, Armenian and Maronite origin who share valuable material but ex UN, British servicemen, and above all people from many countries who have only one interest, that is the love and thirst for knowledge of our amazing island, Frozen Cypriots have brought together a diversity of people like few groups have. If you want to escape the politics, bickering and prejudice, Frozen Cypriots is a group that you will love.
A small sample of historic information based on contemporary news articles can be seen in the albums specially organised for the benefit of Frozen Cypriots’ members by Wanda Forrest (Wanda is also an admin).
It may surprise people that convicts in Cyprus in the 1930’s actually preferred prison rather than freedom. These individuals were probably unemployable or hated work. No sooner were they released than they committed another crime just so they would go back into prison where they had regular food, cigarettes and even pay. There were of course some humorous incidents, for example an Englishman in 1880 threw a stone at a Zaptieh (policeman). The stone missed but then the gentleman in question claimed it was not even aimed at the Zaptieh. In his trial he was found guilty, refused to pay and was imprisoned in Famagusta prison. Another news report of 1887 claims that house prices in Cyprus at the time ranged from £10-15 while Englishmen had to pay between £30-40.
How many of us know that a major export item in 1950 was artificial teeth. In fact a total of 10 million were exported to the UK earning Cyprus revenue totalling £90.000, which represented 80% of the Cypriot artificial teeth market. Thanks to Wanda these snippets of information add to the quality of the group. This is priceless archive information that most of us love to read but simply won’t or cannot spend the time to research. Search no further. Frozen Cypriots is not just an historical wealth of photo galleries but a mini, if not great source of archive information at ones fingertips
Sarah another admin was a recent award winner for some amazing photography. Eren, Mete and Sermen in addition to constant and amazing posts relating to Cyprus are always very vigilant and active in keeping the groups policy of ”No politics” under constant scrutiny. Benny an ex UN serviceman delights us with rare photos of the 1960’s. As for me, Ismail Veli, I think I am simply content and proud to be an admin with such a talented and diverse group of people and simply tries very hard to keep up with the rest. The admins may live as far apart as the UK, Cyprus and Australia but their passion and commitment are second to none. Can one ask for more??