Cyprus Culture – one of the DISY government’s most adversely affected victims

Culture – one of the DISY government’s most adversely affected victims

Article by Christos Christofias, member of the Central Committee of AKEL and MP

Tuesday 27 December 2022, “Haravgi” newspaper

This government will go down in history for all the wrong reasons. For the unprecedented scandals, for the systemic entanglement/interwoven interests and the involvement of leading state officials in them. For their proverbial ‘thickness of skin’ attitude with which they declare themselves to be “innocent and untainted”, at the same time as they are being exposed. For the unprecedented negative situation and deadlock surrounding the Cyprus problem, for the “pledges” that were broken. But above all, it will go down in history for the huge shift of wealth that has taken place of income to capital, at the expense of labour.

Culture is one of the biggest victims of this government’s policies. While one would have expected that the funds allocated for Culture after the pandemic and the establishment of a Deputy Ministry of Culture would have increased so as to encourage and provide support for cultural and artistic creation. These funds have in fact decreased. There is no vision at all. No planning, no real support provided towards art workers and the people of culture. It is significant that even now, in the government’s plan to draw funds from the Recovery and Resilience Plan, not a single cent has been earmarked for Culture.

The government’s philosophy that culture is a hobby or a luxury is prevalent in sports too. The narrative appears to be, ‘Those who can and as they can, let them get involved’. At personal cost and effort to secure some state support. And if they do succeed in attaining such support/assistance, then the government ruling forces will remember them when congratulations are due to sports people and when they have their picture taken with them.

But sport is not and should not be a hobby for the elite or a profession for the privileged few who can engage in it. There are dozens of examples of athletes who have made Cyprus proud, but to reach the podium they themselves have made tremendous sacrifices, with the State being tragically absent from their efforts.

Sport must be open and accessible to all. Popular sport means having infrastructures and the elaboration of specific programmes. Supporting competitive sport means that no athlete is left on the sidelines because he or she cannot afford it. Furthermore, it means increased funding for infrastructures and the provision of support for athletes who appear to have the potential to excel.

As far as the situation surrounding the state of football in Cyprus is concerned, where does one begin? The situation – both inside and outside stadiums – smells of blood, just count how many incidents we have witnessed on and off the pitch in recent months. President Anastasiades has been announcing measures to combat violence since 2014. Numerous meetings have been held on the matter – even as recently as November. Every time there are serious incidents, the day after Mr. Anastasiades convenes meetings. Wise in hindsight, belated rather than anticipatory. The essence remains the same. Years after its implementation, it has been proven in practice that the legislation on violence in sporting venues is demonstrably unworkable on a significant scale regarding its provisions.

The knee-jerk approach is the route taken by anyone who cannot make a correct diagnosis of the problems and for that reason cannot be in a position to give a correct treatment. Violence on the pitch is an acute social phenomenon. It needs to be studied, as well as clear planning and preventative policies.

There is no alternative other than to bring change in the governance of the country. Change to put the Cyprus problem back on the path towards a solution, with the talks being resumed to find a solution for a bizonal, bicommunal federation with political equality, as outlined in the United Nations texts.

Change so that the young people of this country have a future to live, work and create in the land that gave birth to them. Cyprus can and must be saved!


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