Savour the Akamas

At some point in my childhood, my uncle ironically put forward that Cyprus, our little Mediterranean island was to potentially sink under the burdening weight of concrete.

If I recall well, this must have been at the end of the 90s when hotels, tourist villages and development on the island were at their peak.

This marked the beginning of the disappearance of our untouched shorelines and stretches of unblemished beaches found in the likes of Ayia Napa and Paphos.

I remember making detours to avoid coming across the – excuse me – ugly sight of our coastline that reminisced the likes of the cheap holiday destinations on the destroyed coasts of Spain.
I always wondered why we didn’t take our example from places such as Ibiza, that boom for a couple of years and then revert to melancholically remembering how things once were and attempt to recall and in some cases deconstruct/reconstruct the likes of how things use to be.

Some companies may assert that their development plans in the Akamas are in line with the ecosystem; that they are conscious of nature’s delights and are not in for its destruction.

The point being missed, however, is that Akamas’ flora-and-fauna protected area under Natura 2000 is not negotiating whether it is willing to accept a coinciding development, of any sort.
Any form of development puts its reality in danger. Anything that will accommodate humans spending more time than we already do in the area should be out of the question.

There are ample hotels, bungalows, apartments, swimming pools, water parks, golf courses, spas, tourist attractions and so on around, most of these being half empty and incapable of meeting any form of standard to be able to function properly.

Why would we go and start all over again in a protected area, when we haven’t figured out the existing horrors that have taken over enough of the island’s beauty?

Any rationalisation to intervene into Akamas’ beauty is simply unacceptable.

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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