all posts by date my blog — 19 March 2013

Cypriot and Proud started as a Cyprus guide blog, focusing on where to go, what to eat, best places to visit, and generally talking about what we should be proud of. Even though it is not a blog that focuses on social, humanitarian or political issues I feel that I should address a very important issue that involves every single person who lives here. The main reason I need to do this is that, for the first time I am having a hard time finding ways to support the Cypriot and Proud name, and even I, the biggest proud Cypriot have started to have serious doubts.

I will not start discussing what I think about the solutions being proposed or how I feel about haircuts, tax increases, Troika loans, the Eurozone, Angela Merkel or Russia. I will not discuss the possibility of a bank run, an event we haven’t seen since the Great Depression in the 1930’s and the fact that banks have, since then been trying to create a system that will prevent that from happening again. I will not analyse the fact that we are the first country to have a deposit haircut, to punish innocent and conscientious people that have been saving their whole lives in order to have money for tomorrow. All I want to do is post questions that I feel we need answers to, questions of why, what and how. I feel the least that can be given to us are answers to questions which we deserve to know, answers that would have led to our salvation and not our suicide. I don’t think it is time to start pointing fingers but instead, unite to do what is best for our future, which might indeed be a haircut. Having said that I feel that as someone who was trying to prove non proud Cypriots wrong, I would like to express my anger and frustration. When writing this I am talking directly to the government, to Mr Christofias, Mr Anastasiades, Mr Orphanides, Mr Eliades, Mr Kypris, Mr Stylianides, Mr Kounnis and Mr Vgenopoulos of Cyprus Popular Bank, Mr Orphanides and Mr Demetriades of the Central Bank and to all of the ministers of Finance that have taken a part in all of this.

  • How did we come so far?
  • What was Mr Christofias who “walked away with his head up high” doing for the past 5 years except attending galas and saying it is not his fault but people who are responsible will pay?
  • Why did the number of civil servants keep rising even though the work load and government money was decreasing?
  • Why did the banks spend 2 years talking about solutions but yet have managed to come this far?
  • Why do we have a lower income tax than most EU nations? Had you increased it 2 years ago wouldn’t we be in a better state by now? In this way at least we pay only if we make more. Something we would be aware of before starting up our company in Cyprus.
  • Why didn’t the Cypriot banks and the government fire anyone? Surely having people that don’t work, that go home at 14:30, people that are redundant, and continue paying them fat salaries with benefits that the rest of us don’t have, is inefficient and unproductive. If you don’t work and don’t produce you get fired and you find another job or learn to work like everyone else. Why does the private sector have to pay? (I am only referring to people that are indeed redundant and do not in fact work as they were supposed to). This is coming from a person who worked in a front office sales role at Lehman Brothers in a 12-hour-per-day-job. It went bankrupt, I found another job and continued my life.
  • How did you not see this coming? There has been a bank crisis since 2008 and a sovereign crisis since 2010. You know your reserves, you know your debt, you know your costs, what have you done to prevent it? I bet you thought you would get away with it like every other time…perhaps through corruption? Through help from the outside? Through natural gas? Did you ever think that it would be a good idea for a change to find a solution yourselves?
  • I remember last year, as soon as we discovered that there was indeed natural gas in Cyprus a university professor went live and said that we should all be celebrating as we have found a source of wealth that would change our lives. What did we do about it? Why didn’t we take advantage of it earlier? A new resource of wealth has landed in our hands to save us and we have done nothing but fight over which politician will gain the most out of it. Losing some of our potential profits by selling early is nothing compared to what we have to lose if we go bankrupt.
  • How is Mr Christofias paying for any of this? When you are the president of a nation, “I didn’t know about it” is not an answer, you SHOULD know about it, you SHOULD find a way to coordinate people, it is your job to handle it, and it is your job to make others inform you of what’s going on in your country! Claiming you have had 5 succesful years shows exactly how ignorant and guilty you are. What’s even more worrying about Cypriot people and our mentality is that Mr Christofias’s supporters demonstrate about how it is not his fault, but Mr Anastasiades’s fault who has created all this mess in merely 2 weeks.
  • Why did Mr Anastasiades PROMISE on live television that he would not, under any circumstances agree to a deposit haircut? “We didn’t have a choice” or “I was threatened” is not an excuse.
  • How are all of the ministers of Finance we have had over the past 5 years paying for all of this? How are they taking responsibility so that, perhaps the future ministers will at least see that if they don’t do their jobs properly there will be concequences?
  • How is Mr Orphanides paying for all of this? Ok, he claims that the president didn’t inform him of X and Y, why didn’t he ask to be more involved? Why did he not speak up? What did he do to prevent this as the head of our Central Bank?
  • Why are the CEOs of Bank of Cyprus and Laiki Bank walking out as millionaires? How is it possible that they have led our country to this tragic state, but yet have zero responsibility and punishment over what is happening.
  • Most importantly, why do we, the loyal tax payers and hard working people, who found ways and reasons to be proud of our nation, who left our jobs abroad to come back and support our country, whose parents have been working and saving their whole lives to give us a better life, who supported our country and our politicians, who have been supporting our banks, have to pay for all of this?
  • You know what is worse? If I had known this will be the end I would have paid, and I would be comfortable with giving my share to save my country, whether that is higher taxes or a deposit haircut even though it is not by fault. I would encourage other people to do the same instead of running to the banks and withdrawing their money (an action that will lead to definite bankruptcy in hours). But what I can’t accept is, why do the people that created this mess get to walk away clean while we suffer? Why can’t someone finally take responsibility for their mistakes?

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(17) Readers Comments

  1. All my questions too… well said. I just hope that the people making these very serious decisions for us today find ways to temporarily put their political party differences, ulterior motives and personal gain concerns aside in order to find a way to keep us from going completely bankrupt and losing everything.

  2. Fabulously said!! The site Cypriot and Proud gets more interesting daily!
    <Anyway to the point,
    Cant agree more! But what is more worrying is the future…The fact we have nothing to make our children proud of…the fact that its just mistake after mistake after mistake….the fact that we are all koumbaroi with no leaders to respect….DEN EHOUME IGESIA…Its a pity..specially since we had a country that managed to survive the terrible 1974 invasion and its consequences…

  3. We brought this to ourselves, call it bad democratic choices , lack of action, no accountability.

    What is sad, is this desperate times, we once again lack solidarity as a nation, we finger point at one another , and blame third countries for our woes.

    Well we have only ourselves to blame.

    Not a proud cypriot

  4. Πολυ ωραια τα λες και μπραβο σου που τους τα λες ισως ιδρωση λιγο το αφτιν κανενος απο αυτους που τα φαγανε. Απο το 2008 εφανηκεν οτι υπαρχει προβλημα με τα οικονομικα του τοπου αρχισαν να φευγουν ενας ενας οι διευθυντες των τραπεζων και της κυβερνησης, αυτοι δηλαδη που μας εκαταστρεψαν, παιρνοτας καμποσα εκατομμυρια για τις υπηρεσιες τους και τες στραβαρες τους. Ολοι αυτοι και καμποσοι αλλοι πολιτικαντηδες της δεκαρας, σημερα απολαμβανουν στα εξοχικα τους και τα ταξιδια τους στο εξωτερικο και μεις εδω ψαχνουμε να σωσουμεν οτι εμεινεν που πολυ αμφιβαλλω αν σωζετε. Η Κυπρος εναι ενα απο τα πιο ομορφα μερη του κοσμου. Οπως παμεν αμα φυγουν ολα τα κεφαλαια και ολα που εφυγαν τον τελευταιο μηνα απο αυτος που ειχαν εσσωτερικη πληροφορηση θα παμε 50 χρονια πισω. Κριμα πολυ κριμα.
    Θελουμε να δημοσιευτουν τα ονοματα οσων εχουν βγαλει λεφτα εξω απο την Κυπρο τον τελευταιο μηνα. Θα πεσουμε απο τα συννεφα ειμαι σιγουρος. Φτανει να μην κρυψουν παλι την αληθεια.

    • Ta lefta ta vgalane eksw kai anthrwpoi pou parakolouthoune ta nea. Apo ton dekemvri sizitietai an tha kanoune bail-in depositors den egine twra. Kai pali auto den einai lush. Den einai auto to provlima mas. Pws vgike to xreos mas toso poly? Pws? Apo to greek haircut mono 5bn xasame omws xrwstame 17bn. Giati apo persi mexri fetos to xreos auksithike? Ti egine?

    • Great article, points out the problems in Cyprus as a community. They, left and right wings, to direct us whether they want in order to not trouble them to their plans, something like “divide and conquer”. Cypriots have to stand up and make huge noise to the political system that still allows Troika, Mergel and all these people direct our and our children’s lifes!

  5. The answer is in your title. Find me a Proud Cypriot, not a Proud Greek Cypriot but a Proud Cypriot.

    Look out of the window and count the number of Greek flags against the number of Cypriot flags.

    Which date is more celebrated , Greek independence day or Cyprus independence day ?

    Until we understand who we are, we can never have true pride. We will never elect capable politicians to navigate our nation though stormy waters

    • Bravo! Couldn’t agree with you more mate!

  6. So well put, Thank you for writing this. I live in the UK and feel proud of my Cypriot heritage but I do feel sad when I see the majority blaming everyone else for this situation. Politicians especially whose job it is to take responsibility, that is why people vote for them, to run the country efficiently, not waste and squander and take for themselves and pass the buck. The buck stops with them. Like you I’ve been wondering what they have been doing all this time to allow the situation to get so out of hand? Now is the time for Cyprus to make a stand for true independence, to draw on its resources which are many and make them count. Cyprus has always been a pawn in games of the world, it has only had a few years out of history when it has been self- governing, this is a time above all when Cyprus can prove itself. It will need courage.
    Sonia.

  7. “Why did Mr Anastasiades PROMISE on live television that he would not, under any circumstances agree to a deposit haircut? “We didn’t have a choice” or “I was threatened” is not an excuse.”

    How about, he didn’t want to spread premature panic? (Not a good excuse either, but it comes down to what he had to deal with. And I suspect he grossly miscalculated the mess that was left behind by the previous administration).

    • By promising strongly not to do something, and two days later saying that you will do it simply creates unreliability, whoever you are and whatever you do.
      Also, I don’t know if he didn’t want to spread premature panic but this is exactly what he did!! I do agree though that it comes down to what he had to deal with, and clearly the biggest portion of the blame goes to the last president who, it seems, did absolutely nothing for the past 5 years.

  8. A Russian chairman of a multimillion company in Cyprus (virtually formerly as they apparently relocated it to the UK) wrote a similar article. Here is it if you are interested (Google Translation): http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=ru&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.fxteam.ru%2Fforex%2Ffundamental%2F%3Faction%3Dshow%26id%3D6568

    Just one quote: “The investment policy of [Cypriot] banks – is a separate issue, which is SCARY to think about, after all the losses that came to the surface, this is just the tip of the iceberg.”

    • Good article…it seems there are a lot of people with unanswered questions!

  9. Excellent questions! Well done mate, straight to the heart of it. It would be nice if some of those responsible gave us some honest answers…but I won’t be holding my breath.

  10. Who in this country represents the people ?
    Which institution can we trust to conduct an independent inquiry into the reasons for the economic collapse ?

    Why did the 2 largest Banks purchase Greek Sovereign debt ? Who was on the executive board when the decision was made ?

    Who is going to look at the actions of the last Government ?

    As a country we need to undertake this process for us to progress and prosper in the future

  11. Extremely well said. Your questions are those of all Cypriots. Having lived on this island enough years to be able to understand the Cypriot mentality, what is happening right now was forthcoming since many years. The cancerous illness started since 1960 but was always pushed under the carpet. Over a period of some 53 years, all previous Governments have continued behaving and thinking in exactly the same way. Now the shit has hit the fan and we are all concerned of this, that and the other. I was not on the rock in 1974 and therefore am unable to compare the present situation with that of the invasion period. I m told that now is a lot worse.
    Yes Cypriot people are proud people just as proud as any other nation in the world. I say that this is a blessing in disguise !!! Unfortunately it is the only way the nation as a whole will change their ways of thinking and behaving. This had to come and we should welcome it, because from now onward’s we will be able to have a clean slate and rule this country as it should. It’s just like being given a second life in which one avoids making the same mistakes as in his previous life. So, I say, let’s all welcome what is happening just like we welcome the crucifixion of Jesus. He died for a better tomorrow for his people and whatever sacrifices we must make we must do it whole heartedly for a better Cyprus tomorrow.
    All this is well if the change of mind and attitude happens. If not then let’s all leave in a hurry. Back our bags and goooooooooooooooooooooooo

  12. Thank You Greece for your solidarity and support.

    what a proud day 25th March is for hellenism

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