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VANISHING CYPRUS: Poverty in Cyprus

VANISHING CYPRUS: Poverty in Cyprus

Cyprus - Elderly Poverty - 2013

By Andreas C Chrysafis

March, 2015 (No 72) ©

Money unbalancing the scales of justice

In the absence of true democracy and justice, the misconception that people elect a government in the interest of the people is a fallacy and more so today than ever before. The ideals of direct democracy were never applied as envisioned by the great minds and forefathers of democracy.

Historically, events are forever changing and yet forever remain the same! This is apparent in politics where ideologies have fused together and there is not much difference between one political party and another. The system instead, has cultivated a political culture that measures success on the basis of economics and wealth rather than social coherence or consciousness. The new religion of the day has become none other than: profit at all cost. The attitude of “winner takes all” without a doubt has added to the erosion of political and social life that has shaped inequality.

In a modern society, some would say the free market philosophy has brought prosperity and higher standards of living. That might well be true for a vast number of people and would defend it with their lives if necessary. It stands to reason to say that affluence is accumulated at the expense of the less privileged. Somewhere along the way things have turned sour and the principle of fairness has undoubtedly been lost in translation.

There are millions upon millions of people living in utter poverty without a sliver of hope to improve their living conditions except to wait for death. The gap between the ‘haves’ and the ‘haves nots’ in a world of excess is widening by the day. This disparity is experienced almost in all countries; in countries they often pride themselves on practicing equality.

They certainly do not speak about “home-grown poverty” that dwells in their midst in the form of ghettos, homelessness and people living rough or sleeping under bridges. Those dehumanizing conditions certainly do exist in civilized societies; one simply has to know where to look for it to discover the dark side of this social crime that dwells at the very fringes of opulence. The destitute are shunned and treated not with compassion but as disposable statistics for social manipulation.

Utter poverty in fact it’s the biggest killer of humans globally. Too weak from malnutrition to do any work, the destitute find themselves in a self-perpetuating rollercoaster where they are unable to help their plight and soon shrivel up in a corner and die. Absolute hunger has neither enemy nor envy and the old, young and infants soon perish while populations have become desensitized and look on with pity.

The terrible pictures of starvation in poorer nations are a disgrace to human dignity and yet those who could make a difference tolerate this malign injustice. According to the United Nations about 21,000 people die every day of hunger yet there is plenty of food for everyone. The fact that everyone is aware of those statistics indicates how rich nations have failed to resolve famine and put an end to the dehumanizing plight of the hungry. The reason for that is a hypocritical political indifference, which also includes church organizations.

There is plenty of food for all, but subsidized monopolies and corporate farming prefer to dump excess foodstuff to sustain high retail prices for greater returns into the coffers of institutional shareholders. The EU especially has been notorious for this type of unfair practices. Nearly one third (38%) of its 146.6 billion budget is spent to support large agriculture conglomerates! Unable to compete, smaller EU farmers are forced to reduce production and destroy their farms.

Food shortages have been a myth for years. This fable is peddled by industry lobbyists and “commodity hoarders” alike. They are the speculators and spin doctors who deliberately manipulate the commodities market to create artificial food shortages to boost up profit margins. Hundreds of EU lobbyists work day and night for food multinationals to influence rules and regulations in their favour.

Cyprus today is smack in the middle of this chaos. One in four citizens in Cyprus (200.000) are now experiencing the brutality of poverty. There are over 100.000 persons unemployed with little chance of getting a job to earn a decent living; meanwhile shopkeepers and small businesses are vanishing by the day. For a low populated country, this tragedy is not only unacceptable but also deplorable and a disgrace for those who are supposed to govern the nation wisely. They should all be ashamed for their failure!

Food lines and soup kitchens have become a part of life for a vast number (40.000) of Cypriot families. The unsightly signs of begging and “sleeping rough” have also appeared in the big cities. The Church of Cyprus has reported that in Paphos alone it provides food provisions for 800 – 1000 families each day; those are appalling figures of citizens reduced to utter poverty! The Sophia Foundation and other charities are busy feeding school children and citizens in destitution. Commendable as they are, under no terms can such deplorable conditions be justified or condoned in an EU member state.

NGO Volunteer Groups report that over 12.000 families are urgently in a desperate need for provisions and those numbers are much higher but due to pride and self-dignity many are too embarrassed to seek assistance and prefer to remain hungry.

Yet the government plays politics with peoples’ lives and continues to spin that Cyprus is on the mend. Those fables certainly do not represent reality on the street. People will never forgive the current and previous government for their incompetence. They have both brought ruin to a once thriving and prosperous nation that enjoyed zero unemployment but today it’s a different story. The bulldozers of prosperity have now stopped and a new phase in the history of Cyprus has begun; one of grave uncertainty!

In fact Cypriots have so far been tolerant and behaved in a civilized manner towards bad governments but that mood is changing drastically. A recent poll by the University of Cyprus finds that 80% of the people no longer trust or believe the government, the authorities or the political party elite. They blame them and the current politicocracy (Kommatokratia) directly for the economic collapse and social tragedy in poverty and hunger.

Adding insult to injury the banks are pressing for mass foreclosures and a willing government insists that parliament approves its Troika Foreclosure Bill in support of the banks. For Cypriots losing their homes to those same corrupt banks that stole their money in the first place, would be the last straw.

If the bill becomes law, people will lash out and no one can anticipate the final outcome; the government may be faced with a mass violent uprising on its hands and will not be able to cope with peoples’ wrath. The word on the street it’s one of anger and citizens are no longer prepared to remain guinea pigs to EU-Troika.

The government on the other hand seems willing to make people homelessness and for many, prison would be their next place of residence. Sadly, this is the new submissive face of EU-Cyprus today; one that protects banking institutions in exchange for poisoned loans at the expense of its own citizens!

When the people no longer trust the government the executive or the judiciary, there is no state. Poverty, hunger and anger are a volatile brew that can spark chaos in an already fragmented society.

Andreas Chrysafis

Andreas C Chrysafis

Author – Writer – Artist

www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisAuthor www.facebook.com/ACChrysafisArtGallery

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