It was extremely painful for those – the overall audience was 6.1 million – who watched the ‘60 Minutes’ news program on CBS on Sunday, one part of which was devoted to the corruption that is devouring Cyprus.
It was painful to watch and offensive to Hellenism and particularly damaging to any one interested in Cyprus.
Unfortunately, this report was not devoted to what we call the ‘Cyprus problem’, i.e. the Turkish invasion and occupation of a large part (37%) of Cyprus.
Unfortunately, it was not devoted to Turkish intransigence and the ongoing illegal moves to resettle the Famagusta suburb of Varosha and other expansionist moves by the Turks towards the free areas of The Big Island.
Nor was it dedicated to the many persons still missing after the 1974 invasion, or to any aspect of the struggle for the liberation of Cyprus.
No. It was, unfortunately, dedicated to the massive corruption that has ‘invaded’ and is active on the island, to the laundering of Russian money and the corresponding acquisition of political influence in Cyprus.
It is beyond tragic that this is where we have ended up, 49 years after the invasion.
It is tragic that a country that is so in need of a good image is vilified internationally as a result of the ability of Russians and others to buy passports, to influence the highest leadership of the state, the parliament, its institutions, and its journalists.
And, unfortunately, this is not the first time that Cyprus has been accused of massive, systemic, and widespread corruption. Corruption in the case of Cyprus is not just a cancer that metastasizes and eats away at the very guts of a society, however.
That would be bad enough, but in the case of Cyprus, it is even more destructive.
It is a blow to efforts to find a just solution.
This is because corruption and freedom do not go hand in hand.
They move in exactly opposite directions.
Freedom requires virtue. Principles. Vision. Sacrifice, if necessary.
This situation is so disappointing. It drives away the friends of Cyprus, because it sends the message of a country in decay, of moving away from the goal of liberation.
There is another worrying element in this case, however.
The near indifference to the revelations of 60 Minutes. Media coverage in Greece, and unfortunately in Cyprus, was almost non-existent. Politicians, starting with current President Anastasiades and candidate for president Christodoulides – he was a key member of the former’s government – are still silent.
I wonder why? Is 60 Minutes not credible? Are the accusations not serious? If so, let them say so.
Or does this confirm what is revealed by the 60 Minutes report?
It’s time for Cypriot patriots to break their silence. It is now a matter of survival.