Term Paper: Memory Studies Memories of Cyprus

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[. . .] However, these are official histories and don't not entirely represent the memories of the residents of the two societies. Furthermore, where the history has been twisted for political purposes, one needs to understand that these both the states have a synchronized culture, presenting them to have an identical identity. This is where the concept of Cypriotism emerges. Hence, a combined Cyprus has an ethnic nationalism rather than Turkish or Greek nationalism.

It is further important to note that the official history can also be used to verify limited claims rather than the complete reality. As Bryant mentioned in her work how the official histories were shown to have faulty information which has been used by the politicians to instigate heat in students. There have been historic notion s and idioms which have been misunderstood easily. This is the force which drives the Youngs to have their own understanding of the situation in hand and this understanding is greatly affected by what they remember out of their history which has been told to them.

Hence, unofficial histories, hearsay, memories of the old people provide substantial facts (which are often difficult to be proved) which can affect the face of history greatly where the official history undergoes hegemony. It certainly doesn't present the fact that unofficial histories are more reliable; on the contrary, it can lead to division in political reality and the views of its population which can be hazardous for the population of small state like Cyprus. Furthermore, it can instigate the fact that any reliable history medium has to tell a counter story than the official history (Hannay, 2005).

Simultaneously, some of the anthropologists have also shared a view that rather than just memories of the older culture, it is hegemony which has tendency of making individuals change their cultural preface irrespective of their social and political identity. Similarly, when the individuals belonging to a complex entity like Cyprus present their views about their history. It will be an amalgam of the official and unofficial histories along with hegemonic elements thoroughly mixed with them. Here, the historians need to understand that rather than taking a stance in favor of or against either side of history, it is better to have an open mind while understanding the stories told by people and their impacts on themselves and others. This gives a rather sophisticated view as it makes it easy to understand the history from people's point-of-view rather than scientific perspective.

Where there are two forms of stories that exist about the reality of Cyprus, we need to have a look at the nostalgic view of the similar history. Where Greek version of Cyprus history is based on the feeling of Nostalgia, it emphasizes on the absence of social belonging that existed between the Greek Cypriots and that land and their desire of restoring it the way it was. It is interesting to understand that the Greek version of the story tells what they have been missing mainly because of absence of that land (Christou, 2007).

Now that we are discussing Nostalgia as a basic element governing the attitudes and lives of the Cypriots, it is important not to fall for the debate that who is nostalgic and who isn't. But the main objective is to understand that they bother nostalgic for different set of memories belonging to the same time. Where Greek Cypriots long for the time before the attack and have special feelings for the land; the Turkish-Cypriots feel nostalgic for the solidarity and inter-dependence that prevailed in 1964-1974. It is also important to understand that Greek Cypriots feel nostalgic for the land which was there and certainly not the intercommunal past. However, Turkish Cypriots feel nostalgic not for the past but for the future, they long for the land that is present but not as they perceive it to be, it is this confusion that arises because of human element that makes it easier for us to believe in the official histories as they are (Christou, 2006).

Hence, it is important to understand the relationship between individual and collective past is rather complex to understand, for one may not go against the other, rather local stories can be considered as a reflection of official histories that provide a hegemonic structure in everyday's politics. These local histories or can be called the memories, provide an evidence for the official histories and also they are incorporated in the local lifestyle or everyday consciousness.

It is further important to note how the source of local history is perceived with the reference of gender. It is argued that the stories told by the women are of less reliable nature. In this respect, we once need to evaluate the work of Rebecca Bryant in which she used the stories told by four different women of same time. Each will be interesting to notice how one story differs from the other (Calhoun, 1997).

The first story was told by a Greek Cypriot with the name, "Meropi." She was encouraged by her son to write what she had undergone during the Cyprus conflict. In her work she mentioned how she remembered her grandparents working on the land, and how because of the hardships faced by them and her people, her land became prosperous, how she felt about her home and how she was forced to leave. In her work, she consistently mentioned about the bond of her's and her family with the land and how she misses the old days (Calotychos, 1998). However, in her book she mentioned the Turks only once and that too in a general way. Considering the fact that she was present in the proximity of Turks houses, it was not convincing that she wasn't aware of their attitudes, behaviors and events related to them. However, her side of history is overwhelmed by what she remembers of her past life and what did she felt about her land. Her story has a human element and doesn't provide reliable facts about what the actual course of events was in that particular locality. The theme of sweat and soil is the governing element which controls the memories of old Greek Cypriots (Bryant, 2007).

Another story used in Bryant's work is of an acclaimed teacher "Nitsa" who has written few books and have won awards for them. Of course, as compared to the Meropi, her description of the events is subjective, authentic and has details about the course of events; however few of her books have a fictional element as well. As she tells the story about how the land was once people and how after conflict, the families were separated and reunited, and how Greek Cypriots greatly suffered because of the loss of the land that they were deeply associated with. In Nitsa's work, a proper use of Greek can be seen as a symbol of nationalism where it provides distinction to Greeks from Turks as they are unable to use proper Greek dialect. It is important to note that in some of Nitsa's work, Turkish-Cypriots are considered as peasants who are hardworking, harmless people. Yet, they consider Cyprus to be the possession of Greeks and were actually waiting for their "Masters" to return after the conflict. These two significant factors help us understand how Greeks feel about their land and they remember it to be important part in their daily lives. Nitsa's work shows how Greek Cypriots long for the glorious history that is lost.

Another autobiography is of a Turkish Cypriot, "Safiye." Safiye's work reflects what she remembers of her life during 1960s and 70s. Where she remembers the troubles that they had in their daily lives, the major part of her story concerns with the period when they had to migrate. The rest of the story surrounds with the memories that she had related to her life in camps which constitutes of a decade. Furthermore, the story has a very different touch than Meropi's. Where Meropi showed compassion for her land, Safiye mentioned more about nationalism and how her family was highly influenced by the then Turkish leaders. Furthermore, her story has a happy ending when she proudly returned to her homeland. However, she didn't miss not being here. Her memories are more concerned with the trouble that they had to go through. On in Bryant's words, it has teleology. Furthermore, her work has a detailed description of her surrounding and her Greek neighbors. She even shed light on the arrival of Greek refugees on Turkish ships. Safiye's work has sensible coherence in it which shows her emphasis on retelling the events as they took place. Even prior to the conflict, the invasion, their migration and then life in the… [END OF PREVIEW]

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