Alistair’s “Random Rambles” (55)

By Kathy Martin…

Written August 2015

Greetings from the Random Rambler who, thanks to medication, is still able to operate, albeit (in motor cycle terminology), on one and a half cylinders out of two!


Two recent (allegedly) religion-based massacres/killings have caught my attention.

  • One is the “beach massacre” of tourists by a “Muslim” gunman on a beach in the Sousse/Monastir holiday resort area of Tunisia.
  • The second is the massacre of “black” churchgoers by a “white” extremist “Christian” gunman in Charleston, America.

What, I ask myself, and, also, you, gentle reader, what are the differences and/or similarities between these two events? As far as I can make out, the protagonists in both events believed that (according to their own interpretations) because their own God was on “their side”, thus the killings were justifiable!

Some people, including politicians and religious leaders, may argue that the killing of nearly 40 “tourists” at a resort is a more heinous crime than the killing of “only” half a dozen “locals” in an American suburb.

I ask these people just one question – why? I believe that the value of a human life should be the same the world over, irrespective of race, colour or creed!

Despite what I have said in the above paragraph, I find that it is impossible not to play “the numbers game”!

One of the German Third Reich’s concentration camps

After all, if only 6 (six) Jews had died in the German Third Reich’s concentration camps, between the mid 1930’s and 1945, the matter would have been ignored by all except the relatives of the people involved. However, bring the total number of deceased up to 6 million and the matter hits the headlines throughout the world and is remembered in history!

I don’t wish to demean the loss of six million Jews, but because of the ”numbers game”, the deaths of other people in the concentration camps have been quietly “airbrushed” out of history! These people include political opponents to the Nazi regime, Germans with physical and mental deformities such as club feet, homosexuals etc, and, of course Gypsies and Negroes!

Jesse Owens, American athlete, at the 1936 Olympic Games

Thus, in 1936, when Berlin hosted the Olympic Games, the “native” crowds were made up of healthy people! Incidentally it was at these games that Hitler became outraged that a “black” American athlete (Jesse Owens) that could outperform “racially pure” Aryans!

Ooops, I wandered a bit, so back to the point (if there is one this week!)

Therefore, back to the present day and the island of Cyprus.

Secretary General of the United Nations, Kofi Annan in 2004

According to “our” President Akinci, and also the UN Special Advisor, Espen Barth Eide, the current “Settlement Talks” are progressing excellently. This may, or may not be true. Although we weren’t residents of this wonderful island in 2004, we remember the outcome of the referenda on the “Annan Plan”.

Despite being the “losers” in many aspects, the Turkish Cypriots voted in favour of the plan. However, because the Greek Cypriots would only gain 90% of what they wanted, the Greek Cypriot Orthodox Church urged its members to vote against it!

In a purely logical world, the Turkish Cypriots would be welcomed with open arms into the financial, commercial and political circles throughout the world. Meanwhile, the Greek Cypriots would be banished to the wilderness! Did this happen?

European Union Flag

NO, simply the reverse!! What justice is there in the world? None, apparently if a country such as North Cyprus, with a Muslim majority tries to join a “Christian Club”, such as that very imperfect organisation, the European Union!

Having mentioned the European Union, there was an article in one of the local “English language” newspapers, “Cyprus Today”, that stated that a university lobby group in the UK had stated that “Britain must stay in the EU if the (British) higher education sector is to maintain its status, quality and research capabilities”.

Excellent, super, great!

The Union Jack

However, the cynic in me wonders if the above statement is in any way influenced by the fact that British universities received around £1 billion, that is 1 followed by 12 zeros (or, in America-speak, 1 followed by 9 zeros) for research funding last year (2013) from the EU?

Is it any wonder that the British universities don’t want to lose access to this “cash-cow”!?

The project of the Century

Meanwhile, remaining on the Northern side of the Green Line, “The project of the Century”, a fresh water carrying pipeline from Turkey to Cyprus has been all but completed. In fact, water is expected (hoped) to flow through the pipes by the end of October. It will be interesting to see the reaction the Greek Cypriot government and farmers will have to the Turkish Cypriots farmers’ ability to grow at least two crops a year!

However, on the reverse side of the coin is the disruption to traffic as the water pipes are.laid both alongside and across roads!

Our small saloon car

While I appreciate the “you can’t make an omelette without breaking eggs”, what concerns me is the state of the roads after the pipes have been laid! There appears to have been no attempt (certainly in the Girne area) to compact the earth and re-lay tarmac over the pipelines, leaving veritable “ditches” across and along roads!

While these “ditches” seem to cause no problems for the multitude of 4 x 4’s that are prevalent in this country, “normal” small saloon cars (such as we own) certainly have problems! Perhaps the Government has decided to leave the roads in these conditions to save them digging “tank traps” should the Greek Cypriots decided to invade and claim all! of the freshwater from Turkey, as it would be their right , as they are, in the blinkered eyes of the world, the “rightful” occupiers of the entire island of Cyprus!

Just a thought!

I want to mention the death of a motorcyclist that was reported in the “Cyprus Today” newspaper of 22nd August 2015.

For the information of those who missed this news item, a “fast food” delivery person was knocked off his motorbike at a road junction by a car in the Gazi Maḡusa area and died instantly.

The lawyer for the car driver has stated in court the junction is dangerous and has been the scene of 17 accidents during the last three years.

OK, 17 accidents is 17 too many, but three years amounts to more than a thousand days and nights! However 17 accidents spread over this period of time averages out to approximately 1 every 60 days (or two months)! I wonder how many vehicles managed to traverse this “dangerous junctionwithout being involved in accident during this period of time.

Just a thought!

Regular (or perhaps long suffering?) readers will know that I don’t regard any section of a road, be it a junction or whatever, as “dangerous”!

No, I regard any road user who doesn’t take the local conditions into consideration as being “dangerous”!

On 19th August I went to the Near East University Hospital (just outside Lefkoşa) for a full check-up, as I have had problems breathing, which turned out to be pneumonia.

As I have nothing but praise for all of the staff and appreciation for the treatment and service that both myself and my wife received this is definitely NOT a rant!

As I was the “patient” I was provided with a wheelchair and operator to go to and from the various departments. My wife, who suffers from Multiple Sclerosis (MS), found it difficult keep up with me. However, my “pusher” noticed this and called for another wheelchair for her!

All the departments I visited that afternoon offered a discount to British Residents Society (BRS) members. As the annual membership fee for the BRS is UK£ 10.00 per person, we reckon that we “saved” £40 or £50 that afternoon!

Having mentioned money (Sterling) above, we are now probably the richest that we have been throughout our lives!

The Turkish Lira is approaching 5 to the UK pound. I have two pensions, my UK “state” pension and my UK Civil Service pension, both paid in Sterling! I don’t feel guilty, because when we bought our flat in 2008, the rate was 2.3 to the pound! At that time and it was before I was eligible for my state pension, it meant that if we wanted to go out for a meal or buy anything slightly expensive, we had to do without something!

However, to get back to the present day, all of our friends, both resident and Ex-pat, pay their rents in Sterling, which is fine for us UK pensioners, but those friends who are working and earning a salary here, get paid in Turkish Lira, and as such are struggling financially!

Next blog will continue with Alistair’s rambles

These rambles were written by Alistair initially for the “The KibKom Times” then “The KibKom Forum