Are we helpless?




Back to school. The weather has settled. Pomegranates are almost ready to eat. Carobs should have been eaten by now. Sure thing.

But let’s not deem summer over just yet. Specially considering that the Parliament will consider a new bill regarding the privatisation of our shores, our beaches, our places of retreat when the summer sun is high above us and depriving us of coolness.

A phone call earlier in the week left me relatively helpless. He spoke of the limited time we had on our hands to take action on the matter. How yet again decisions were being taken without potentially taking into consideration the long term impact of actions which, to say the least, are being envisioned on monetary interests.

That if the shores were to be privatised they would not only not belong to us anymore but that we may fear having to pay to use some of these natural, historical resources and that eventually these will be invested upon, somehow.

The shores of the island which once belonged to the British Bases are already being bought. I hate to think of the prospect of what is going to be erected there. But can you imagine if this became an island-wide phenomenon?

As a joke someone once asked me whether Cyprus would one-day sink sue to the weight of the concrete imposed upon it. At the time, we were also laughing at what was going on on the Spanish coasts, where eventually they began destroying what had been built on the shores and began to bring historical buildings back to life, even though, in many ways, it was too late.

Yet, even though gravity may not allow our little rock to sink any time soon, I cant seem to dismiss the image of Caretta-Caretta turtles trying to approach the sight of a coastline made of obstructive facades, reclaimed land and a man-made nature.

And as for us, we may as well become robots. Robots with an armour that has been specifically designed to drench us with salted water once in a while, just so that we feel we’re not being deprived of anything. Case closed.


Published in The Cyprus Weekly Newspaper, Friday 12 September 2014 under column entitled “Artichoke”

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About Melissa Hekkers

I am freelance journalist and author, who has frequently been featured in mainstream news outlets and other publications in Cyprus. Recently, I've been focusing on developing my writing, promoting my own books and teaching creative writing to children and adults. My most recent publication (2020) - Amir's Blue Elephant- pushes the boundaries of creative non-fiction, and recreates the moments that marked me the most, whilst volunteering in refugee camps in Lesvos, Greece, and during her ongoing involvement with the refugee community in Cyprus. In 2018 I published My Capre Greco Mandala which is the third in a series, an interactive colouring book about the biodiversity of the Cape Greco peninsula in Cyprus. My Akamas Mandala, the second in the series, is a colouring book inspired by the variety of endemic plants found on the Akamas Peninsula. In 2016, I published My Nicosia Mandala, the first of the above series, an innovative, interactive colouring book about the historic fortifications of the old town of Nicosia. I also focuses on silenced communities in Cyprus: I writes about migrants and refugees, both as a reporter and a features writer; I profile them and teach them creative writing skills. In 2007, soon after graduating with a Communications degree, I published my first children’s book in both English and Greek entitled Crocodile, which won the Cyprus State Illustration Award. In 2012, I launched my second children’s book Flying across Red Skies (in English and Greek), using an experimental approach to literature, for which I was nominated for the Cyprus State Literary award. My third, similarly well-received children’s book was Pupa (Greek and English), published in 2014. In between the last two books, I published my first free-verse poetry book entitled Come-forth. In 2019 she was contributing author to the anthology Nicosia Beyond Barriers: Voices from a Divided City, published by Saqi Books, London