12 Δεκ 2016

What we need now is trust

By Okan Dagli




Through the endless negotiations and years during which the communities were set against and cut off from each other, the only thing that could have helped us was trust. And it is exactly this lack of trust that has prevented the people of this island from reaching a solution and peace.
What have the leaders, political parties, non-governmental organisations, professional chambers and business people – in other words, those who desire a solution and peace on this island – done to improve trust between the communities? How careful have they been not to blame each other?
Each and every one of us must question ourselves on what we have or have not done about this.
The Geneva summit will be taking place at the beginning of the New Year. Therefore, now, more then ever, we need tighter bonds and an improved feeling of trust between all factions of society in both communities. We are at a critical threshold.
We need the leaders, their teams, the media, the NGOs and the people to trust each other, because certain circles, whose interests will be hurt with a solution and peace, are waiting on full alert to ruin everything for the two communities.
We have to move faster now and do much more to establish trust between the sides.
To succeed in this, we first have to believe. The leaders made the right moves at the beginning to build confidence.
While working on improving relations between each other, they gave out positive messages to the people. We cannot deny this. However, looking back today, it would be an exaggeration to say that they have been successful in overcoming the walls between the communities. Recently, they themselves had a brief moment of a confidence crisis, even though now they look like they have overcome it.
There are some individuals and institutions that have been working with all they have to establish trust between the two communities. We have seen an increase in academic studies, public and civil efforts, activities, bicommunal media projects, bilingual books and many other things aimed at building trust since 2003. But we need much more than these in the coming days.
Until this day, those engaged in such efforts and activities have been marginalised by the chauvinistic and anti-solution circles in their own communities; they have been called pro-Greek or pro-Turkish. Hardliners have tried silencing them. We have to be aware of such attacks and be even more motivated in this period.
The mindset that erects walls between us, and the fear that creates these mindsets are still dominant in our island. And it is true that neither of the sides has been able to go beyond its own fears and mindset and overcome the crisis of confidence.
It is vital that we create the trust between the two communities that will not be shaken in the smallest breeze. If we are able to do this, the crises that erupt in every relationship will be fewer, or will be easier to overcome.
Establishing trust and maintaining it, is a revolutionary act in today’s Cyprus. Maintaining this in all spaces – political, civil and public – is a precondition for a solution and peace on this island. It is highly possible the process will lead us to a referendum this time. And this means that everyone has a duty now.
Everyone, from the leaderships to their teams, from the politicians to the NGOs, to every single individual on social media, has to light the way, so that this island can sail to a bright future.
Okan Dagli is an activist with the Famagusta Initiative




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