Sunday, April 14, 2013

Violation of human rights in the modern world

A people that are united will never fall. That is the best motto to describe my country, a small island in the Mediterranean called Cyprus. The island has been conquered by more than 10 foreign powers multiple times during the last 2 millennia. The most recent one is 1974 where the northern part of island is still occupied by the Turkish military. However in all cases, the Greek identity of the island and the culture has survived and thrived. Cypriots managed to recover from the invasion and create on the remaining part of the island a prosperous economy based on tourism and banking services.

The banking services of Cyprus were famous and popular among the EU countries and Russia. Reliable, trustworthy, independent and very profitable for depositors. The amount of deposited money in Cypriot banks was 70 billion euros, and the size of the banking system was seven times the size of our economy. Unfortunately though, our ties with the Greek economy and the exposure of the Cypriot banks to the depreciated Greek government bonds brought the inevitable disaster.

In sight of the Greek economic disaster, the EU partners with Germany as a leader suggested that all partners of Greece should buy newly formed bonds to save the economy. Right after, the bonds underwent a haircut of 50%. That meant everyone who had bonds lost huge amounts of money. Bad policies by our government failed to protect Cypriot banks and save them under a common loan with Greece.  

So Cyprus is in desperate need of a bailout plan by the EU, to avoid disaster. As usual the greedy countries of Northern Europe rushed to take advantage of the situation. In Cyprus they recently found 8 trillion cubic feet deposits of natural gas, just off the southern coast. That was the hope of Cypriots for economic prosperity and a chance to solve the Cyprus Issue with Turkey. Germany and other European countries in the meanwhile are depended on Russia when it comes to natural gas; and the reverse when it comes to customers of natural gas. Moreover, Russians had 40 billion euros of deposits in Cyprus banks, money that the Germans would be glad to steal in the form of a haircut. And here we are, in the middle of the geopolitical and energy war between Russia and Germany, on who is going to get our natural gas. Russians said the only way to help us was to cut ties with the EU, something which was impossible. Germany then suggested that a haircut on the deposits of Cypriot Banks will bring the solution to our problem. The first haircut plan that was suggested to the Cyprus Parliament but was unanimously rejected for violating the rights of the depositors – the first time a country in the EU rejected a bailout plan. However things got worse in just a few days and the second bailout plan couldn’t be rejected. The haircut included welfare accounts like pensions, trade unions money, corporations’ checking accounts used for paying wages, and lifelong savings by hard working people. The plan was absurd and criticized by the international community.

Overnight, a booming economy was shattered to pieces, with the victims being the innocent hard working population of Cyprus, suffering from bad polices by bankers, government and European “sharks”. This once more united the island. Every time we face a disaster the bonds between us become stronger, and everyone wants to contribute to the rescue of Cyprus. This monetary attack was characterized as the second invasion, but this time it came from our allies. People of Cyprus stared gathering supplies for those who will need it more. In contrast with other cases like Greece, Spain and Italy, not a single violent incidence occurred. Despite the huge lines at the ATMs, people showed patience and helped the elderly. For 10 days the banks were closed and none could withdraw money, corporations were on the verge of distraction and unemployment was increasing rapidly. But nothing could break the unity and morale of the Cyprus people.  Here are some pictures showing the situation:

 Peaceful demonstrations against Troika and philanthropy concerts. Thousands of Cypriots contributed. Photos taken from my Facebook account.

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