1960s >> 1964 >> no-717-may-1964


Anybody who is surprised at the continuing struggle in Cyprus ignores the fact that the Treaty which closed the last bout of trouble there was almost bound to break down.

The Treaty took little account of the political complications involved and, like so many of its kind, ignored the nationalistic prejudices of the island’s people. Years of guerrilla warfare against the British rulers, accompanied by all the usual hate propaganda and brutality from both sides, succeeded in fanning these prejudices to a dangerous temperature.

It would have taken more than a few signatures on a piece of paper to remedy this situation. So the Treaty, as is usual, simply pretended that it was not there.

But certain things are there. The age old clash of interests between Greece and Turkey, over who shall dominate the eastern Mediterranean, is there. So is the British interest in the oil and the Suez Canal and the other strategic potential of the area. And so, in the background, is the American resolve that nothing shall threaten their standing in the Middle East.

The United Nations has shown once again how ineffectual it is when it is up against the confusion of capitalist interests. As in the Congo, it has taken a long time and a lot of argument to get the pale blue flag into Cyprus. Contrast this with what happened in Korea, and later in the Lebanon, when the United States moved in against what it saw as a powerful threat and was determined to have no nonsense about keeping the peace.

The climate of Cyprus, and the eradication of the mosquito there, have made it one of the healthiest spots in the world. It is the inevitable conflict of capitalist interests, and the hate and strife which this arouses, which makes the island a place of such unpleasant memories—and promises to do so for some time in the future.

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