Τρίτη, 28 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Soul Pain

Pain of the soul, a phrase I am using to convey the meaning of the Greek -'Psyxiki Odyni'. How can I translate this from Greek? Maybe the closest semantic equivalent would be 'heartbreak'. Direct translation would translate as 'psychological pain', which does not sound quite right in English.

In my humble opinion, Pain of the Soul plagues us from the moment of our very conception. It follows us throughout childhood and meanders it's way in and out of our lives until the minute of our death. It is impossible to be a human being without experiencing some form of heartbreak at some point in your life. 

When I talk about heartbreak, I mean heartbreak not only caused by romantic afflictions amongst the opposite sex, but also the pain which we experience deep within the core of our being. One's heart becomes bruised, and there in conflict deep within. No matter how much we wish things were different, we cannot control our heart, and protect it from being in pain.

Some people are fooled into thinking they can protect themselves from this, and do their best to avoid situations which may cause this phenomenon to arise. For example, a woman scorned will shy away from admirers, lest she falls in love again and becomes hurt,  student will not continue their studies because they have been lead to believe they are silly, a child will not make friends because he has been bullied. This is the biggest farce of them all, because however much we avoid loving, in the end, as I said before , the heart is a mystery and we cannot know how it works. You can avoid loving for your whole life, and love will come and find you. Avoiding it will not prevent it happening, it will only dig your hole deeper. The more you avoid heartbreak because you are afraid of it's derivatives (rejection, failure, mockery, dissappointment)  the harder it becomes when you do find it, because believe me , you will. 

To avoid being dissppointed, rejected, mocked, and fail you allow fear to enter your soul and do not live. You do a good job at deadening your soul! You create more work for yourself! That is why every time we fear, we build a sturdy wall against ourselves and happiness, for if you do not love, you cannot be happy. If you avoid love, in order to avoid heartbreak, you live in the dark and do not enter the light. One day the light will find it's way into your home through some knook or cranny, through some crack in the wall, eventhough you have closed the curtains. And when that light comes you will not be used to it, and it will be so strong and unbearable it might blind you. Just like somebody who has lived in a room with no light for their whole lives and suddenly goes outside- the light is too strong for their eyes and they can't even see properly. 

Take your sunglasses off, you do not need them, your eyes are capable of avoiding the harmful rays. Trust yourself.

Τρίτη, 21 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

Hear my prayer!

On the serene coast of the Karpasia province ( English and Turkish-Karpaz) lies the monastery of Apostolos Andreas ( Saint Andrew). Forgotten in time, before the invasion of Turkish Military forces, this monastery was single handedly the most famous monstery on the island. Being the patron Saint of the Island, it is said that Saint Andrew stopped in Cyprus on his travels to and from present day Palestine. He is very honoured and revered by the locals, even now, in the Cyprus of 2010 where they need to cross a green line in order to visit his monastery.

When you do cross this green line however, what remains of this once beautiful monastery is a run-down hovel of a building literally crumbling. Unpreserved for a period of over 30 years, the monastery has obviously not been on the high priority preservation list of the North Cypriot Turkish Authorities. Upon first visit, to a foreigner who has never heard of it before, the monastery is not evocative of it's once fresh exterior. The forgotten building is looked after by Despina, an old Greek Cypriot woman in her 80's who lives in the nearby village of Rizokarpaso and, the running of the monastery ( it requires candles and needs to be cleaned) relies upon the cents left in the church from visitors. The Cyprus Turkish authorities do not fund any part of the interior care of the building nd Despina is most certainly not paid. Nevertheless, the building and it's story remains a tourist attraction and Despina urges the Greek speaking visitors to give her the donations directly, as the authorities often take even these meagre amounts. The monastery in it's poor condition is still a source of income for the so called Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus as the authorities have allowed profit making stalls to be places outside it. There was even a period where visitors were charged for entering the monastery, with the authorities again pocketing a nifty sum.

Is it not dispicable that every possible endeavour has been made to profit from the existance of the monastery, and not one effort has been made to preserve it from falling to rubble or restore it to its former condition. It does not take an expert in heritage conservation to remark that this building is in dire need of attention, and if this does not happen soon there will be no building left.  Ottoman Mosques in the north have been cared for by the Cypriot authorities and are often still in use today by other expatriate muslim communities in Southern Cyprus, this is not the case with the Christian places of worship in the North, which on the contrary have been abandoned and very commonly defaced. The faces of icons of Saints and Christ have often been scratched out,not to mention crosses on tombstones that have been broken and deshevelled. It is a shame because whether muslim or christian, a place of worship constitutes the whole island's heritage and it's a pity that the leaders of this fake republic do not respect this reality. The 30th November marked the feast day of Saint Andrew, and Cypriot Christians everywhere remembered this desolate place which is hanging onto existance by a delicate thread.

Πέμπτη, 16 Δεκεμβρίου 2010


"HUMAN RIGHTS?" Exclaims the Greek Cypriot woman. "WHERE ARE MY HUMAN RIGHTS?" Her story is one of many recurring stories we have been hearing for many years now. Having owned land prior to the Turkish invasion, this woman now cannot accept that her land is being sold on to British/other foreign property buyers in the unrecognised North - ''Guney Kibris" in Turkish. And should she? Should she accept this? Is it not her land in the first place? What gives these property buyers the right to buy this land.

The Turkish military forces occupied the North in 1974- A fact that it is impossible NOT to know if you are even thinking of moving to Cyprus It is a fact that has framed the image of Cyprus to the foreign eye since it happened. Whenever a foreigner thinks of Cyprus they think, 'Which part?' 'The (so called) Turkish Part or Greek Part?' At least this is what I am always asked by English people whenever the subject of my origin comes up in conversation. It is so important for them to mention the fact that Cyprus is now divided, or to show that they know Cyprus is a divided island. So why then do these same people claim human rights to their land ownership when they buy land in Northern Cyprus which belongs to a Greek Cypriot.

Hey, British buyer, It is not like you went to Northern Cyprus oblivious to the fact that it is an area occupied by Turkish military forces and recognised solely by Turkey. For God's sake you've been raving on about the fact that we are divided.......flaunting your knowledge on the issue....so why now do you refuse to understand that this land belonged to somebody who fled due to military invasion. You claim it was given to a Turkish Cypriot after the invasion who subsequently sold it to you, and so now you feel it belongs to you? And you hope no one will bat an eye-lid.

Put it this way......if you were walking down the road one day and you happened to run into somebody offering to sell you a wallet with £ 1000 Stirling in it. You had earlier heard of somebody's wallet being stolen with exactly £1000 inside. This person offers to sell it to you for a fraction of the price, and you, knowing it is stolen, buy it anyway. Is it now yours? Did you not go into the situation knowing the whole history of the situation? If a police officer or the owner of the wallet now tracks you down and accuses you of wrong doing and demands the wallet back, or ownership of the wallet....who is in the wrong, you or them?

Τρίτη, 14 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

The Lemon Tree

While we were hovering around the airspace of Palestinian-inspired films, I thought I'd talk to you a little about 'The Lemon Tree' (2008) which I have also viewed. The Lemon Tree is a really touching films dudes and dudettes. May I add here that I am an ethnic film fanatic? I absolutely adore them and this film lives up to my expectations. Romantic and heart-warming the Lemon Tree tells the tale of a Palestinian widow whose lemon grove is threatened when an Israeli Minister builds a house behind her own  in the suburbs. Starring the outstanding Hiam Abbass and equally ravishing Ali Suliman, both of Palestinian origin and directed by critically acclaimed Israeli director Eran Riklis, The Lemon Tree gives us a glimpse of what happens when a widow begins to rekindle feelings of being a woman as she and co star Suliman develop romantic feelings for eachother when she appoints him as her lawyer in her case against the Israeli defence minister. The acting is amazing and when the Abbass and Suliman begin to fall for eachother it takes you back to the innocence of romance which is very rarely portrayed in today's mainstream cinema, as most of it is based on western society.

Here however, we also witness the experience of a Palestinian living within Israeli territory as an Israeli citizen and the difficulties that Arab Israeli's face today. This film is not in any way biassed as we are quite often allowed to witness the feelings and actions of the defence minister's wife, touchingly portrayed by Rona Lipaz-Michael who forms a bond with the Abbass' character. Using Arabic, Hebrew and English Riklis delivers an inspiring tale and this film is worth every minute sent watching it. Enjoy it guys!

Next-up: The Syrian Bride


Last Monday a friend and I viewed Miral, the new motion picture by German director Julian Schnabel. Miral (Frieda Pinto) is set against the backdrop of Jerusalem before and during the Palestinian uprising (intifada) against the Israeli occupying forces. We follow the story of Miral's mother and father, the childhood and subsequent teenagehood of the young Miral. It is essentially the story of a young woman blossoming into adulthood at a time where her country and it's people are plummeted into Israeli occupation, but also the tale of Hind Hussaini, a Palestinian schoolmistress whose great work is respected during this movie.

Miral's mother, raped as a teenager flees her home only to enter a life of alcohol abuse as a dancer in Jerusalem's nightpots. She is eventually arrested for mildly assaulting an Israeli woman on a packed bus. She spends some years in prison and there befriends an attempted suicide bomber- when her time to leave prison arrives, Miral's mother marries her inmate's brother (Alexander Siddig) who has fallen in love with her and is many years her senior. A child is born- Miral who is not biologically this man's daughter, but whom he loves and cherishes nevertheless. As a teenanger Miral takes the road of following the intifada while simultaneously being schooled at the pacifistic education centre founded and headed by the exceptional Hind Hussaini (Hiam Abbas), who devotes her life to housing and educating Palestine's homeless and forgotten female children, ina bid to prevent them following the road of terrorism by using education as a force of progress. After entering an uprising group being temporarily imprisoned and falling in love with the head of this group, Miral's father dies and she eventually takes Hind's advice to leave Palestine and go to study in Italy using a scholarship.

This is  touching tale and Hiam Abbas delivers a beautiful rendition of the praiseworthy Hind Hussaini. Always serious and emotional in her performances, and she was no different in Miral. It is not difficult to see why frieda Pinto was chosen to portray young Miral as her outstanding beauty and elegance bedazzles throughout the movie. it would however have been nice to have used an up and coming Arab actress in order to honour the story which Schnabel was telling. It was nevertheless a flawless performance by world-renouned Slumdog Millionaire star Pinto, we look forward to her future films.

Δευτέρα, 13 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

From London to Tunis and back to Tel Aviv

Geia sas xairw poly- Pelloplasman. Efxomai na emasten oulloi mia pelli oikogeneia edw sto blog mou :) Poly syntoma tha provw kai gw to ftwxon plasmataki ek Londinou, eis Nison Kypron, ax ti wraia......I can already feel it now.....the breeze of the outdoor artificial heater unnaturally overheating your face, as you sip your hot chocolate in your chic downtown cafe.

Ok, so here's the deal, dudes and dudettes. You need travel insurance- specialist medical travel insurance because following six months of rollercoaster life you're finally in the position to travel again- yay !. So you go take advice from the linked websites provided by a certain support group.

So here I am making friendly telephone chit chat with a certain Laura from the insurance company, opoia Laura begins the all imprortant part of the telephone conversation where she asks me where I wish to travel to. So I reply- Cyprus, ofcourse,

Laura: Cyprus, yes that would be the European cover that you require
Moi: Oh right, may I ask if Israel is included in this

( poios ixerei mporei na paw epitelous episkepsi stin geitoniki mas xwra pou kairon twra thelw ....na thelw kai sto telos na men imporw...oi opoion insurance kai na kanw tha prepei na simperilamvanei KAI Israel)

Laura: No, I'm afraid not the European cover includes up to Tunisia, Turkey but not Israel I'm afraid.

(At this point me pianei kapws san to ysterikon yeleiouin)

Moi: uMM, (teehheehhhee) Isn't that a bit wierd that you consider Tunisia as part of Europe eventhough it is clearly north Africa, yet Israel isn't...I mean I know Israel is in the middle east n' stuff.....Laura mou( ok en tis eipa Laura mou alla eskeftoumoun to) but surely if Tunisia is considered within e European area then bloody Israel should be as well.

Kai me afton ton tropon pige na kleiesi i tilefwnikh mou sizitisi me to Lauraki.

Kyrie Eleison poion re koumpare inta mpou mas maxountai.........Edw pou ta lemen H Kypros isha isha pou en Eurwpi- nai to xerw oti eimasten sto European Union, but come on, Cyprus is kindof, in my humble opinion, one of the most culturally un - European places in the EU- manamou mas. I like it that way diladi, kai laloun mas oti i Tunisia einai European area.....

Bad Geography or profit issues? Who knows- I want my travel insurance! But I do not want to later have to upgrade just to fly from Larnaca to Tel Aviv, which is basically like walking down the road.

Κυριακή, 12 Δεκεμβρίου 2010

It is easy to preach

it is easy to preach, but try not to mourn the loss of loved ones, for they are alive in you. Prolonged mourning distorts the life that the person lived and their spirit. Do not mourn, friends, but merely remember, for the light that shines in your souls will meet theirs in the kingdom of heaven and you will dance again together, the dance of eternity.

Follow the light, for the light is eternal and never dies out. If you follow it you are on the right path and are protected from evil and all which descend from lucifer.

Living somebody elses life is living in their shadow, and that is a distortion of your own. Live your own life and during that you will convene with the other on a perfect coordinate, on a well fitting path. We are all connected and when we do well for ourselves, we feed our spirit, but also the spirit of others, for we are all unceasingly connected.

Do not fear the darkness for it can only lead to the light, and when you see the light from the darkness, it is brighter than any other light you have ever seen. It is eternal and never ending and marks a place in your heart. When you lose the light, try your best to remember it and at some point you will I can assure you, rekindle it. In the meantime walk along the path that is life and take in everything. Take in every breath, let it inspire your insides and feed your mind and body. For the light that was given to you at the beginning of your light will not fill you eternally, but I can assure you it will suffice to fuel your walk along the path. Do not ever fear that. Nobody can take the power of that light away from you. 

The light, you see, is nourished by hope. And when you have that hope- even if you lose sight of the light or you temporarily caese to feel it's heat, or see its shine, you always retain the possiblity of seeing it again. Even if you try your best to kill hope it is instilled within you from the very moment of your conception, it is impossible to kill hope, and therefore impossible to kill the light.