The Self and the Other in Cyprus: How Nationalism is Dangerously Flirting with Racism
We observe that in Cyprus the process of forming a nation-state has been trapped in a web of the particular form of nationalism that was inspired by cultural and historical links with two other nation states, Greece and Turkey. The extranationalisation of a substantial part of the identity base of the Cypriot communities has led to a transformation of the perception of the Self and consequently of the perception of the Other. Since 1878 when the British forces landed in Cyprus and until today the defenders of a Cyprus without Cypriots – which according to their ideology Cyprus is inhabited by Greeks and Turks – was highlighting the differences to the detriment of what was gathering.
We will see how this transformation was made possible and how the physical separation has been an inescapable consequence. How the dangerous and threatening notion of “race” has been deliberately mingled with the notion of cultural identity that has been reduced to the sole characteristics of religion and language. Finally, we will try to explore the instrumentalization by the Orthodox Church of Cyprus – a state within the state – the notions of nation and race.
Keywords: Nationalism, Extranationalism, Racism, Cyprus, Religion, Language, Culture Versus Religion.
Dr Christa Antoniou