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The Kartchilamás

I have written several posts within the last few months on taking time off from “the internet.”  I now live with daily power cuts so it has become an easy task! Let’s backtrack.

I awoke one morning surprised to find that my computer had turned itself off and on in my absence. Unsaved work had disappeared. I wondered if my son from afar had been messing online with it, but I didn’t think much more until I met up with some friends.

“Firemen perished fighting a wildfire down near the naval base,” they said. “Munitions exploded.” “Power station hurt.” “Naval commander, police, national guards killed.”

I felt instantly thrust into a bad situation and went home to Twitter and BBC to find out what was really going on. In 2009, munitions from Iran bound for Hamas and Syria had been discovered by the United Nations off the coast of Cyprus on board a Russian ship. Cyprus was asked to board the vessel and confiscate the containers. Several nations including France, Germany, the U.K. and the U.S.A said they would help in the disposal of the dangerous load.

The Nabob of Cyprus danced the Kartchilamás over the coals of a souvla pit to juggle friends and foes alike. In short, he made political steps at the expense of his own country and people.

Ignoring help from others, he stacked metal containers of dangerous munitions on a naval base next door to a newly constructed power station and there they rested nearly two years baking in seasonal heat waves. By July 4th of this year, fireworks started popping in the containers and all the nabobs called an ineffectual emergency meeting two days later. After 5 more days, the main power station on the island of Cyprus was destroyed by nine powerful blasts as one container after another blew their tops. Thirteen people lost their lives. A modern, Mercedes filled, consumer driven society flip-flopped backwards.

I don’t worry about having too much internet access now, thanks to the nabobs! Every midday when the temperatures are hoving around 110-120 degrees, my fans stop, car alarms ring, my refrigerator cycles off, my iPad puts an email in the out box. I have learned to turn off my computer in the early morning since you never know when a generator may break and another unannounced cut may happen and yes, I need a UPS if I can find one. You may wonder why I didn’t mention air conditioners stopping. We’ve all been asked not to use them by the power authority. I sweated profusely through the first two weeks after the explosion. Now I use them sparingly.

In the wider community, events take on an otherworldly dimension. A patient in a dentist chair, full of Novocain, drill working and zap, power cut; bread in a baker’s oven halfway done, zap, power cut; crossing an intersection, zap, lights go out; riding elevator, zap. Coffee makers at Starbucks, tills and credit card machines, electric doors, electric cradled phones, digital clocks, gas pumps, fruit and vegetable storage, pharmacies and meds, imagine the possibilities! With frequent cuts, all things electric with a few years on them begin to malfunction like modems, and I now fear for the life of my newish refrigerator. The big conversation starter: “How you doing with the cuts?”

On Twitter, I found an article about the Cypriot guinea pig and how Cyprus deals with its crisis may portend the fate of other modern economies. For now businesses have reverted to closing up in the afternoon and water cuts have been reinstated, common practices from before the year 2000. But how can you pick up Nicosia, a modern capitol city filled with businesses from across Europe and place it in a last century rural setting without sending modern business packing? It’s not just inconvenience that a power or water cut describes but the chance of economic failure.

A friend put it this way: We are so dependent on electricity and when it is gone what do we do?

Candles, anyone? Or how about an energized, public-spirited community to boot the old nabobs, take control of Cyprus’s destiny and save it from economic ruin?

What do you think?

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