by Harun as-Satir
19 July 2006
Though war has broken out in Lebanon, it is an economic boom time here in Cyprus, where desperate evacuees have driven prices for hotels, taxis, and Moussaka to record levels. And that has led many a Cypriot to ask: “instead of waiting for Mideast wars to happen, why don’t we just start them?”
“I’m not in favor of people dying or anything” said Yannis Smetanis, a Larnaca area taxi driver. “But war is good for us. Why should we have to just wait for it to happen?
Smetanis is not alone. He is one of a growing number of Cypriots who are tired of waiting for refugee dollars to flow to his country’s economy. A recent poll showed that fully 62% of Cyprus citizens support mideast wars, with 52% saying that Cyprus should actively participate in starting them.
The official stance of the Cyprus government is “to foment no wars in the Middle East.” However, a group of right-leaning legislators has begun a push to add the phrase “unless it leads to a peaceful boom time for Cyprus.
A swirling controversy started last year when it was revealed that the Bank of Cyprus had sent large amounts of money to Iran, just days before Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the holocaust, threatened to “wipe Israel off the map in a single storm,” and ramped up Nuclear weapons research. A government self-investigation revealed no wrongdoing. The inspector general’s report somewhat suspiciously noted that “perhaps Israel should respond to the remarks by moving some of its citizens to a safe location like Cyrpus.”
Government action aside, some Cypriots are taking matters into their own hands. Nikolos Papadimitriopoulos, a mechanic, was busy toiling in his garage. “I am trying to figure out how to get Kurdish flags onto these fifty Molotov cocktails for my next trip to Syria,” he said. “Does anyone know what a Kurdish flag looks like?
Papadimitriopoulos was quite optimistic. “Oh, to think what this could cause… I will replace my entire fleet of Mercedes within two years!”
The mechanic was inspired by a neighbor, Georgiou Vasilos, who took action during a recent vacation to Egypt. Vasilos planted evidence of an assassination attempt on Egyptian leader Hosni Mubarak in the Muslim Brotherhood’s Cairo office. This led to, among other things, a significant spike in the value of the Cyprus pound.