Confession: I love Cyprus too much to use my preferred title for this post, “Cowardice in Cyprus.”
Because unsurprisingly, the cowardice in question has more to do with the disconnected and overly-perked people in government than the good people of this beautiful, troubled and strategic island. The “unsinkable aircraft carrier of the Eastern Mediterranean” and birthplace of love goddess Aphrodite, a gal who in a heartbeat could really make Madonna look like a virgin.
If only Cyprus could put forward politicians as skilled in statecraft as Aphrodite was in matters of amour. It seems not to be the case.
Erato Kozakou-Marcoullis is the current foreign minister of Cyprus, and now holds rotating presidency of the European Union. She was quoted in yesterday’s New York Times thusly:
“There is no consensus among the E.U. member states for putting Hezbollah in the terrorist-related list of the organizations. Should there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism, the E.U. would consider listing the organization.”
That article goes on to state:
The Netherlands declared Hezbollah a terrorist organization in 2004, saying that it did not distinguish between the group’s political and terrorist wings. Britain distinguishes between the parts, listing only the militant wing.
Forget for a moment the fact that in one breath Kozakou-Marcoullis has just advertised her country to the world as a scaredy-cat on par with the French, who should be the first to list Hezbollah as a terrorist group, though consistent with the inherently flawed Gallic logic on all matters not relating to ready-to-wear, will doubtless be the last, if it ever gets around to it at all.
Forget that the European Union is now fiscally unfit to the point of being a sham to all but those self-serving dunderheads in Brussels. The Cypriot FM has just ensured that nobody important is going to take the EU seriously as a political animal for quite some time.
Why should she care? (She’s got a plum post, after all.) Because, to quote one of the commenters on that article, “The EU by not coming down hard on Hezbollah is promoting terrorism.”
Another commenter noted that Europeans often “confuse cowardice with enlightenment.”
Cyprus ought to know better: after all, its vital tourism industry was very nearly just derailed by a terrorist plot thwarted more or less at the last minute, and for which Israel puts the blame squarely on Hezbollah. Cyprus and Israel are allies, as they ought to be, for all sorts of reasons. Kozakou-Marcoullis’s irresponsible comments are not ones that instill confidence in an important friendship.
If any there’s any country on the map that ought to call a spade a spade, it is Cyprus. After all, it was unchecked violence, if not terrorism per se, on the part of one uppity neighbor that led to the Turkish invasion in 1974. It was and continues to be Turkish intransigence that leaves a horrible scar across the whole of Cyprus in the form of a United Nations “buffer zone” — the upkeep of which is largely underwritten by U.S. taxpayers.
The words of the E.U. president are so scandalous as to bear repeating: “Should there be tangible evidence of Hezbollah engaging in acts of terrorism, the E.U. would consider listing the organization.”
This preposterously spineless, acutely craven remark can only be undone by action, Ms. Kozakou-Marcoullis.
And that reddish sunset you can’t see off the coast of Kyrenia, occupied as it is by the Turks? That’s Aphrodite, your island’s oldest and ablest ambassador, blushing in shame.