Linguistic tricks

I was quick to jump to conclusions as I entered the village of Meniko in the Nicosia district during the week.

A road sign at the entrance of the village displayed the words ‘The community of Meniko welcomes you’ in Greek and Russian.
I’ve gotten used to the Chinese signs in Paphos advertising real estate opportunities — but that’s business related. Why would the suburbs of Akaki welcome people in Russian? Was it another trick to entice foreign interest?

Visiting the Meniko elementary school, it was the headmistress who explained the village was visited primarily by Russian pilgrims to see the church of Ayios Kyprianos and Ayia Ioustini.

Worshippers from Russia and other Eastern Orthodox countries treasure this 16th century site. I shied from explaining my initial reaction; it’s been a while since I have been pleasantly surprised by anyone using the name of religion to inspire actual pride.

Of course, this event comes at a time when Russian military cooperation on the island may also be burgeoning. We may soon be witness to more signs in Russian that will once again depict some form of opportunistic move by our leadership to exploit the ‘benefits’ of our international community.

We’re selling our land, we’re exploiting our cultural heritage and it seems we’re adamant to grasp whatever we can to apparently make our country a better place to live in.

I’m dubious about what this holds for the future. Sure enough, we need all the help we can get to be able to walk on the tight rope we are treading on.

But dismissing our own identity in the process may just as well be the biggest mistake we are making. Just saying…

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