No19. Is the bird gone?

Among the many idioms used by Greek-speaking Cypriots is the expression “Το πουλλίν επέτασεν” [To poullín epétasen], literally translated into “The bird has flown away” and meant to signify a “lost opportunity”.

The coat of arms of the independent country formed in 1960 when the British Empire released Cyprus from its colonial grip, includes a white dove and two olive branches, both symbols of peace and coexistence between the two main communities of the island.

The two stencils I show you here emerged on the walls of Nicosia in the years following 2004, when the UN-proposed resolution plan for the division of the island was rejected in a referendum by the majority of Greek Cypriots (while the Turkish Cypriot community approved it by majority). The stencil with the coat of arms reflects the repeated disappointment and pessimism felt by those in favor of a solution and peaceful cohabitation, as the years are passing and Cyprus will have more hurdles to overcome than what the reunified Germany had to cope with after 44 years of separation.

The other stencil mocks the slogan “Δεν ξεχνώ και αγωνίζομαι” (I don´t forget and I fight) which was created after 1974 to represent the desire of the Greek Cypriot community to regain authority over the areas lost with the Turkish invasion. The stencil says “I don’t forget and I masturbate”.

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