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Sunday, 14 April 2013

Greece was bad, Cyprus is good

Whenever Greece or a Greek name catches my eye in the foreign press, I scrutinise it very carefully to see how Greeks/Greece are/is preceived by the foreign media. I never used to do this so thoroughly; it's only been since the crisis broke out, when I relaised that the foreign media was viewing Greece in an utterly despicable manner - not just a scapegoat but the foulest dirt on earth. The word 'junk' was often associated with Greece.

I've now added Cyprus (and related words) to the list, since its recent topple in the financial pyramid. Greece has had an extremely close relationship with Cyprus: they are the two only Greek-speaking countries in the world, . Cyprus is the third largest and third most populated island in the Mediterranean. (Bonus trivia: Crete is the fifth largest and fourth most-populated island in the Mediterraean - it is not an island state; it is part of the Hellenic Republic.) Cyprus gets very good press on the whole, possibly because the media begrudgingly has accepted that the Greek crisis was actually a global crisis, and it could be any other country next, in the same sudden way that Cyprus fell down, so to speak. 

Exploring Cyprus: mountain biking around the Akamas peninsula The Akamas peninsula, on Cyprus's west coast, is the quieter side of the island, with breathtaking lagoons and secluded bays – perfect terrain for mountain biking

When the Greek crisis broke out, the foreign media was not promoting the country, so this is quite a turnaround in the way it is treating a country that has suffered a dramatic decline in reputation. This time last year, Greece received some of the most negative press coverage ever, with reports constantly warning people about how unsafe the country had become as a tourist destination and regtular cancellations by those who had planned their trip to Greece (remember the stories of the Brits asking advice about which currency to bring with them: "Should we bring pounds, euros or drachmas?"). I began reading the article (the highlights have been added by me):
Spring in Cyprus is usually a time for positivity: after a short, cool period the island's intense blue skies and warm temperatures return (it's 23C and sunny this weekend) and the tourist trade, which trickles along through the winter, steps up a gear. This year however, given the turmoil surrounding Cyprus's banking industry, this part of the Med may seem like an odd choice for a holiday. But by continuing to visit the island, British tourists will be doing many Cypriots a favour. What's more, some tour operators are reducing their prices in a bid to fill rooms.
Perhaps they have learnt their lesson, I thought. Maybe they now realise how immaturely they acted when they slandered Greece - it had no effect, in the sense that there was still contagion, the crisis affected everyone, and Greek tourism was not to blame. Most likely, Cyprus is getting better treatment because British money is tied up in the country/island, whereas this was not the case with Greece. Greece has never seen sympathy of this kind from the same newspaper in the four years that she has been in crisis, only condemnation.

I skimmed through the article and checked the comments. Here's the first one (in red - the first part of the comment is a word-for-word quote):
Commentator 1 - 12 April 2013 10:26pm: (QUOTE:) "We didn't see another soul and were soon surrounded by miles of thick, stunted maquis scrub and gnarled, twisted juniper trees that appeared to be tumbling into the sea. ANY OTHER CRISIS RELATED COMMENT MIGHT FIT IN HERE" - Erm, what's the agenda here please? 
And here's the second one, two minutes later:
Commentator 2 - 12 April 2013 10:28pm (QUOTE:) "We didn't see another soul and were soon surrounded by miles of thick, stunted maquis scrub and gnarled, twisted juniper trees that appeared to be tumbling into the sea. ANY OTHER CRISIS RELATED COMMENT MIGHT FIT IN HERE" -  Crisis? What "CRISIS RELATED COMMENT" can you possibly deem suitable to insert here in your pre-edited, hastily forwarded, otherwise informative leisure-related article?  Not feeding the financial-scaremongers are you?
 The typo blooper went undetected for two hours before the article was corrected:
Guardian editor - 13 April 2013 12:40amSorry about that - there's no agenda. That was a subbing note from an earlier draft that slipped through the net due to a technical issue. Thanks for pointing it out. We've now removed it.
    One wonders what kind of CRISIS RELATED COMMENT could have been included here, that fit in with the description of  "We didn't see another soul and were soon surrounded by miles of thick, stunted maquis scrub and gnarled, twisted juniper trees that appeared to be tumbling into the sea." My guess is included in the list below:

    - signs of neglect, due to lack of funds to maintain the area
    - poverty-related foraging, leading to possible destruction to the environment
    - undeveloped tracts of coastal land due to lack of financing
    - residents of the area with glum faces showing signs of depression as they face the prospect of unemployment
    - a general sense of decay, like that of a shattered mirror whose shards were never swept away...

    ... among others. It's easy to add to the list when you are Greek.

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