By Yorgos Karahalis
I’ve been working in the media industry since 1986 and I can’t recall the last time Cyprus, the small divided Mediterranean island, attracted so much attention since the 1974 invasion by Turkey, which stills keep the island and its residents separated.
A decision by the European Union for a “haircut” on deposits in all Cypriot banks made the country one of the top stories in the region and across the world. Various scenarios for Cyprus’s financial meltdown appeared everywhere.
After the vote by the Cypriot parliament, who delivered a loud ‘No’ to the proposal to seize depositors’ money, and the government’s decision to close banks all over the island to avoid a bank run, the idea of a violent uprising started gaining traction. The capital Nicosia, with its population of just 300,000 people, saw journalists, TV crews, photographers and famous analysts drinking coffee on the pedestrian Ledras street in the old part of town.
The tiny Eleftherias square at the end of that street was occupied by TV crews who were preparing for the big day – the day the banks would reopen. “There will be blood”, the title of a film starring Daniel Day Lewis, resonated in my mind.
As a Greek photographer who has been through all the nasty riots over the last two years since the crisis broke out in Greece, I could not see any signs of the forecasted Cypriot version. Many Cypriots consider themselves Greeks. They share the same National Anthem, they are Orthodox and of course they speak Greek.