Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2017
By Heidi Trautmann …..
May your reunion with family and friends be a warm and peaceful one and let us be grateful for it but think of those in Syria and in places where people kill each other for reasons of power.
Dear family, dear friends,
Looking out onto the awakening city of Girne at our feet, with the legendary fortress of St. Hilarion right opposite, the green foothills carrying the white dots of houses on this early morning of December 13, 2016, I try to find words for this year’s Christmas/New Year Letter to summarize the events of the past months and our thoughts and feelings. My heart is heavy.
While we were packing up our belongings within one month, the month of October, to leave our beautiful peaceful home in Yeşiltepe and to move to our new apartment in Girne, the most dirty election campaign was conducted in one of the most influential countries of our world; many other things destabilizing peace and democracy worldwide unsettled our busy minds. Never have I heard of so many people join protest marches for contradictory ‘ideologies’ in more or less equal proportions: peaceful coexistence of different races versus pure hate and egoism; hard business practices versus environment; growing nationalism versus co-existence and co-operation; this phenomenon has lowered the moral threshold and has increased the willingness of the public to take the law into its own hands, often encouraged by interest groups on the internet. The anonymity interest groups and/or forums grant the individual constitutes a great danger in society while a true and clean journalism as I used to know it is at risk to be overrun by smear campaigns of cheap on-line journalism.
What bothers me most is the brutalization and degeneration of morals across the world which would rather be a sign of impoverishment, trying to survive, to kick and kill the others to get at the source of survival. However, people in many of the countries that march in protest against refugees are not poor, they are bored, they need something that stirs up their emotions, they need an enemy.
Fortunately, as I said before, there are just as many people who are defending humanitarian principles, selflessly trying to protect human rights, who are aware of the misery of people under war or warlike conditions, of the deterioration of our environment. Countries, communities, tribes are thus split in half; all of a sudden you see some friends coming out and declare war to the basic rules of human society, others joining charity groups or selflessly rushing to help the helpless and you realize that you never knew your friends.
I keep wondering as to what may be the reasons for this development in many parts of the world; is it the mental control caused by the internet and the media, the lack of communication? The image you get of people today in public places is human figures bowed over a small machine completely forgetting about their partners, neighbours and things going on around them, do they really understand what they are consuming? Their whole being sucked up into a fantasy world behind a small screen. Or is it lack of education or wrong education? People of my generation grew up inventing toys and games, today kids play games on their little machines they get from their parents, you even see babies sitting in their prams and playing with it. It is manipulation from early age on.
All my life I have been enjoying good conversation, meeting with people or inviting them for a dinner I cook for them, these are things that remain with me and make me smile. How many nights we discussed things of life, the arts, literature or how to make things work better; it helped me to understand myself, to respect the opinion of others and to somehow make compromises when there was no other way out of a conflict.
Now, that we have moved into the busy heart of Girne we are automatically drawn into the daily routine of the locals, the shop owner next door, the cleaning man of the house, the people sitting for hours in the many nearby cafés. We walk the streets, discover the neighbourhoods with their neglected backyards. We hear the howling sirens of the ambulance or police cars at least five times a day – another accident – some more young people injured or dead. We see the traffic jams from the height of our eagle’s nest, endless in both directions, but we also see the green foothills of the mountain range reaching high and the winter sun comes into my room and warms my feet.
With selling the house we have closed a very important and active chapter of our life; the new and probably the last chapter has begun, it will be a quieter life, more observing than acting, most probably, I still don’t know, but I fear, it just looks like it. When all the decorating is done and we know where everything is, when we have found our footing, we shall certainly find new excitements, new roads to walk. I just hope that we can walk our new roads in a peaceful world. So far Cyprus is regarded as one of the safest places to live in although our never ending Cyprus problem has kept our politicians busy for over 40 years and the communities north and south of the green line speculating what future may bring.
Max our ginger cat is with us in the apartment; he is 15 years old and suffering from rheumatism, now he walks the rooms here howling his heart out for not being able to poo and pee in liberty.
Heidi, Kalle and Max
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