Reconciliation and social action in Cyprus: Citizens' inertia and the protracted state of limbo

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This paper will attempt to chart a normative framework for action for a social politics of reconciliation via a course for citizens' action across the ethnic divide of Cyprus. It will attempt to consider the context and content of reconciliation in Cyprus at this time and examine the various 'routes' to reconciliation, in terms of locating their theoretical, philosophical and ethical points of reference. Whilst 'reconciliation' is something that normally takes place after a settlement, the groundwork (conceptual, political and societal) needs to begin whenever the potential is there: the protracted state of limbo that characterises the Cyprus problem as well as the opening of the checkpoints in April 2003 make the ideas of rapprochement, reconciliation and cooperation realisable en mass immediately. Also, the idea of 'anchoring' the reconciliation processes to the specific context of Cyprus is essential if the project is to survive, expand and be legitimised in the eyes of 'ordinary' people, institutions and political forces. The paper aims to locate the possible common threads that permeate the various 'routes'; whilst at the same time it locates the limits and boundaries of 'common' elements. Moreover, the paper attempts to 'demystify' and deconstruct the concept in terms of the potential for transformation' of this particular ethno-national conflict. In this, we need to appreciate (a) the multi-dimensionality of ethno-national conflict within class-divided societies which manifest themselves in tandem with other contestations and (b) evaluate the processes by which ideas about 'reconciliation' become hegemonic, the role of social forces and the state(s). The paper then examines the potential for action by citizens and examines the tension within the concepts of citizenship, community, ethnos/nation and any project of 'reconciliation'.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)123-160
Number of pages38
JournalCyprus Review
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007

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