dimanche 24 mars 2013

Cyprus "fragrance" : the homeric times are back !

by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph. D

When we think about Cyprus, we automatically have a nice perfume fragrance in the head.
In strong dose, it can even cause headache, as presently with the financial puzzle of this Mediterranean island for EU.
We are really living in a strange period, when a fiscal paradise can be paradoxically on the verge of  bankruptcy and revolt because of European Central Bank  (ECB) demands for bringing new cash facilities.
It is quite surprising as its GDP more than doubled in the last twelve years from 9.36 billion $ to 24 billion $ presently.
Cyprus Greek side is effectively in the turmoil. And Nicosia, the capital, is knowing an hellish time, like Athens (Greece) from 2010. The rich and magnificent period of the French Lusignan dynasty (1292-1473), when coats of arms and armors where made of gold, is over from a long time.

Cyprus is 9 251 sq. km (the two British bases of Akrotiri and Dhekelia not included) for an estimated population of almost 1.1 million people, British and now equalilly Russian rich residents included.
What is funny is the Turkish part of Cyprus island (Limassol), is safe from European Union upheavals, as it is headed by the self-proclaimed Turkish Republic of the North (since 1983).
When you think Turkey's entrance in European Union has been delayed for years and years, partly for the question of Cyprus, you may realize the present First Economic Power of the Near East avoided a terrible bad luck finally. The East (Orient) can continue to grow and know a renewed expansion, when the West (Occident) seems to decline inexorably and almost blindly.

In the highest Antiquity Aphrodite (Venus) was born in Cyprus, and called  overthere "Kypria".
She became the goddess of beauty, as her warrior past like her equivalent in Sumer, Inanna (Ishtar or Astarte), was progressively forgotten.
During the Trojan war (XIIIth century BC) held on the presently Turkish soil - Hissarlik -, Aphrodite was on the side of Troy against the Greeks lead by King Agammemnon. She was supporting Paris, son of King Priam, and opposing goddess Athena according to Homer. Present capital of France, Paris is probably deriving its name from him (more than the "Parisii" tribe which was in fact in Nanterre place according to recent archeological excavations) ; this is a remnant of the movement of emigration which started after the Greek domination on the area from the fall and destruction of Troy.

Since the 2008 financial crisis which shook the whole world from September 15th of this fateful year, it's a bit like historicity was hesitating on the side to bend on : West or East ?
Strangely, it is a few months before, on January 1st 2008 that Cyprus, new member of EU (since May 1st, 2004), entered the Eurozone.
The breakage of Cyprus financial economy, and the "salvage EU-ECB-IMF plan" of 10 billion Euros - in exchange of a tax considered "confiscatory" of 20 % of bank accounts above 100 000.00 Euros -, might bring a boomerang effect towards EU and the institution of Frankfurt from UK, the modern heir of the Sumerian Empire, and also Russia as a vexed power. Money has always been a cause of war, financial or not.
Of course, everything is depending on the Brussels' agreement (or not) of tonight. Without agreement on the 5.8 billion Euros Cyprus has to levy the above way to fulfill the "salvage troïka plan", the country will normally be excluded from the Eurozone on monday tomorrow, and it would be the first time this would happen thus.

Cyprus is known in history for around 12 000 years now. It was famous at the origin to be the kingdom of copper of the Aegean area at the Bronze Age. Its name is probably coming from the Sumerian word "Kubar" meaning "bronze", amongst various explanations.
And because of its riches, it was rarely independent, passing successively under various sovereignties from Sumerian times.

Cyprus became symbolic of the predominance of the West, when it was conquered by Alexander the Great (356 -323 BC) in 333 Before Christ, but this predominance is questioned again by now.
After the Lusignan apogee of the Middle Age and the Venetian time, it passed through Ottoman domination in 1571 for several centuries. Administered by England from 1878, Cyprus became independent in 1960, and its first president was the orthodox Archibishop Makarios III (1913 - 1977).

The "Enosis" (Union with Greece) imposed in 1974, led to a civil war between the Greek and Turkish inhabitants of the island, and a military intervention of Turkey.
That's why since 1983, there is a political partition of Cyprus in two parts, the Turkish Republic of the North only recognized by Turkey, and the rest of the island known as the Greek part which internationally has got official sovereignty on the whole island.

So the question of the Republic of Cyprus is wider than the problems of EU enlargement, a process which is a bit cooling down at the moment, except from the dynamic candidatorshisp of Iceland : in this respect, it's important to underline that Iceland is the only Western country which let banks' bankruptcy happen on its soil after the 2008 financial crisis, and regained economic and financial health by now !

dimanche 10 mars 2013

The amazing return game of Olympe and Louis : Pantheon for Olympe de Gouges ?

by Jean-Jacques COURTEY, Doctor in Economic Geography, Ph. D

At the moment there is a discussion about the choice of a famous French woman, who dedicated to the women cause, to enter Pantheon. The most representative of all is certainly Olympe de Gouges (1748 - 1793). A wide consensus seems to be shared by our representatives in Parliament, whatever they are men or women. Of course, another name is equalilly proposed, Louise Michel (1830 - 1905), revolutioneer during "La Commune", deported to New Caledonia (1871-1885), and famous for her fights for freedom of speech in France during the third Republic, notably : tired of deportation and jails, she finally emigrated to London in 1890 to be able to write and talk freely only five years after her return to the mainland.
Coming back to Olympe, she is at the origin ot the "Declaration of the rights of woman" (1791), sent personally to the King Louis XVI (1754 -1793), and also to his wife, Queen Marie-Antoinette (1755 - 1793).
Anyhow, a commission of academicians and historians is going to be created to examine the names' propositions of women entitled to rejoin Marie Curie (1867 - 1934) notably, in Pantheon. The idea is to make it the temple of Great Men...and Great Women of France also. Why not after all ?!

The restless soul of Olympe would certainly be pleased to discover she makes a certain unanimity nowadays.
At her time, she wasn't supported much or even understood by women, and she complained till the end about it. Men were more after her because of her natural beauty and mood, as she was quite astonishing in their sparkling eyes. But at least, they listened. Above them, she was in the heart of the King Louis XVI, who clearly stopped any censorship on her writings from the time he freed her from La Bastille (september 1785), where the annoying baron of Breteuil (1730 -1807) had sent her for a short while. It is very important to notice, because her ideas were terribly new for the time...or even for now.
The law making legitimate and natural children totally equal before the law (2001) is historically deriving from her. Another example is her support to divorce for bad unions (created originally in 1792, but finally enforced in 1884), or her free couple convention which could appear as the ancestor of French "PACS" ("Pacte Civil de Solidarité" or "Civil Pact of Solidarity") : the French creation of 1999 was quite timid in comparison with what she proposed, with the backing of the very Christian King. Of course, Louis XVI didn't share all her views, but he beloved her as her tender secret friend of the Black Cabinet of Versailles. And for that reason, she was allowed to write with a total freedom of expression after the episode of La Bastille. Even the Queen Marie-Antoinette was wandering the reason of his benevolence towards his "protégée" ?
Is it because of her influence he also gave quite a sum of money from his moneybox, to help workers on the dole and their family - which was totally misunderstood during his trial ? Nowadays, at a time of renewed economic and financial collapse in the country, nobody would do that. Times have partly changed.

Denounced by the printer's wife of her last placard, "The three urns or the salute of the patry by an air traveler named Toxicodindronn", Olympe was arrested (July 19th, 1793) and finally judged as a counter-revolutioneer when she was more a revolutioneer initially. She was then considered as a Girondine and even a crypto-Royalist.
In fact, she just proposed to let the people choose between three options (the three urns) to finish off the Terror period : a centralized republic (Jacobine), a federative republic (Girondine), or the return to a monarchy (Royal), after it had just been abolished from around 10 months.
Robespierre didn't like at all Olympe de Gouges, who was more and more regularly accusing him to be a tyrant. So her propositions were taken as a declaration of war. But he hesitated at the beginning to make her judged, as she was appearing in his mind as the soul of the French Revolution. Above that, he was afraid of the unknown consequences. Finally, it was done. But, what the bloody dictator was worried of happened. In her will, she sent him and his Jacobine acolytes a terrible malediction (a south-western "jettatura"), by giving them an appointment into the Sky. And around nine months later, the main ones fell down with their heads rolling down below the guillotine, following the made speechless Maximilian de Robespierre (1758 - 1794).
His jaw was exploded by the gun of Merdat, a gendarme, on July 27th, 1794 ("the Ninth Thermidor - Year II"). It was a bit as if God punished him of the damage caused to the jaw of Louis XVI during his awful execution, when he fought to survive in her weeping eyes of woman in love (January 21th, 1793).

If Olympe de Gouges was coming back now, she would be surprised that her ideas have partly been misunderstood. She would remember the last encounter with the King in the black cabinet of Versailles (september 1789), when they both dreamed of the castle of Thibermesnil in Normandy, and the nickname the guardian gave her as she was talking a lot, "Toxicodindronn".
"Toxicodindronn", the air traveler of her last attemtpt of placard in Paris (july 19th, 1793), might not understand much why females and males have so much difficulty to recognize - if not realize - they are coming from the same specie, "homo sapiens sapiens", and need each other. Could one "sapiens" be too much then ? !

To us, there is no need to oppose Olympe de Gouges and Louise Michel in the final choice of the French President. They both served the cause of women and children (and men also in a way).
Olympe was an actress and a playwright, and Louise a school mistress and head mistress. Their aim was to free mankind and make human beings better treated, and then happier. Both deserve to go to Pantheon in Paris.
So why not both of them together and during the same national ceremony ? !

Nowadays, apart from the unbalance between women and men (more and more often reverse way), the biggest problem France is facing is to ged rid of an Orwellian "Nova Lingua", worse than the usual political "langue de bois" (double talk).
In "Nova Lingua" ("Nov'langue" in French), words means their direct opposite, like "war" for "peace". So everybody at their level should enter this new combat not to fall in servitude for economic and financial pretexts, so artificially made up when you pay a little attention at them, the fight for the freedom of minds to be and stay really free individually !