Ask again

On two occasions this week, I was asked, “But do we have culture in Cyprus?” A reflection obviously targeted at me when I tell them what I mostly write about. And I cringe.


I cringe because I fear that the people asking these questions haven’t looked further than their doorstep to seek and therefore find what is available out there.


Of course, comparing what one finds locally to any other country will have its flaws. It’s always greener on the other side. There may also be a lack of communication between what’s actually going on out there and the people who would potentially be interested in hearing about it.


But if one is really interested in knowing if ‘we have’ any culture here, then perhaps asking me is just not quite going to make do. Because I know that there is. And if I know that there is it’s because I go out there and embrace everything that I’m exposed to. Good, mediocre and bad and in all forms of artistic ventures. Based on that I form an opinion; I go home pleasantly surprised or unfortunately disappointed and yes, at times perplexed or even prompted to ask for more, better.


I could be out there every single evening of the week should I choose to. Believe it or not there are events which I’ve missed, year in and year out, that I’ve watched grow and mature from a passive standpoint because I haven’t had the time, the opportunity.


“Do we have any culture in Cyprus?” I ask myself again. Perhaps it’s the ‘But’ that has, on both occasions, managed to head the question that rubs me the wrong way. “Any?” What do you mean “Any”?


We aren’t living in a Cyprus that’s cut off from the rest of the world. We’re not populated with people who haven’t got the means to offer something out of the ordinary. But if we solely rely on the grand, mass communicated events that are dispersed annually and that “pull” the same people, year in, year out, then sure, we’re all pretty bored of the culture we produce and hence may be wondering if we ‘have any culture’ altogether.


But if you open your eyes, if you seek, and are generally open to engage in what’s on offer, you may be enlightened. And you certainly won’t be asking the wrong questions anymore. You’ll be asking for more.


Published in The Cyprus Weekly, 2014

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