In a previous text I said that we were at war and that all our plans were postponed for after the war. Now it has dawned upon me that I could have never realized how right I was— I know this could raise some eyebrows, especially of those who know that I usually say that I’m always right.
Nevertheless, I wasn’t so certain if what I had felt made sense to everyone. Now I think it should. But let me tell you what made me so sure of the correctness of my previous text.
Yesterday as I was parking my car at a road near the centre— for those who know Nicosia, I was at a side street near Kallipoleos avenue— my eyes caught a sight that made me so sure of the war state we are in and so angry, so enraged that I couldn’t even bring myself together.
There was a woman in the street. She was shabbily dressed and was pushing a cart. At first, when I saw her from afar I thought that she was pushing a baby stroller. But no, it wasn’t a baby stroller: there was no baby inside only rubbish.
She was picking rubbish from a big container in broad daylight. She didn’t care that I was there looking at her. She was using a rod to “fish” rubbish and build a pile of disgusting used things like single-use gloves or God knows what else.
I didn’t see very well. I was trying to avoid looking at her partly because I didn’t want to make her feel ashamed and partly because I couldn’t bear to look at this sight.
Cyprus was never like that. We had our share of poor people and people who had difficulties to make ends meet but Cypriots would never stoop to collecting rugs and finding a living off garbage.
That is why I’m enraged. I cannot put in words how overwhelmingly responsible our politicians, economists and bankers are. I cannot put in words how disgusted I am by our European “allies” who blame simple people for destroying the economic system.
And coming back to my initial statement, we have war conditions around us even though we are not at war. This image of the bent figure over the rubbish container is the same we encountered in the books telling stories from the Second World War and the German occupation that our high school teachers made us read.
It brought me to mind the images Alki Zei describes at Petros’s War (Ο Μεγάλος Περίπατος του Πέτρου) or George Sari in When the sun... (Όταν ο ήλιος...).
These very sad books full of misery and starving people that we didn’t want to read have similar images with our everyday lives. So if this isn’t tragic irony I don’t know what else could be.