SPACES OF (RE-)APPROCHEMENT
Old Movements and New in the Buffer Zone
Saturday, May 26, 2012, 18:30 Peace Cultural Center – Ledras/ Lokmaci Street, next to the Buffer Zone
The formation and activities of the ‘Occupy the Buffer Zone’ movement, as well as the violent eviction from the squatted building, open a range of issues that require discussion and consideration. We would like to invite you to join us in a public discussion on the questions below, which we consider as broad guidelines and encourage you to expand on in any way you feel is important. In brief, we are concerned with issues of continuity and change regarding the past, present and future of leftist activism as well as of the wider movement for the reunification of Cyprus with particular reference to the space and landscape of the Buffer Zone:
- What is the conceptual framework that created this radicalized movement? What traditions (if any) have affected this new formulation of ideas and actions? Is there a genealogy of the rapprochement movement, and, if so, how has it evolved? Or is OBZ arising independently of any previous claims to the Buffer Zone?
- Is OBZ relevant to other social movements unfolding at the moment? Do the rhetorics and activities of other bi-communal groups (e.g. NGOs, trade unions, political parties, artists) referring to the Buffer Zone ‘meet’ with those of OBZ? Does the failure of the institutional left in both communities to fulfill its promise of reunification after it has been in power play a role in the emergence of new forms of activism?
- In what ways is OBZ connected to the socially contested space in walled Nicosia, and how does it relate to other contemporary urban movements? How is gentrification (the redevelopment of the old city in order to suit the needs of the middle and upper classes and consequently push out the populations who used to live for decades) relevant? If so, is it overlapping in both communities? What is the importance of space and landscape in old Nicosia in this context?
- While ‘Buffer Zone’ is the preferred term in English, what do the corresponding terms in Greek (Dead Zone/Νεκρή Ζώνη) and Turkish (In-Between Area/Ara Bölge) tell us? In other words, what are the conceptualizations and reconceptualizations of the Buffer Zone?
- What was the conjuncture that allowed to joint and shared articulation of common ideas between G/Cs and T/Cs? To what extend were the processes for the consolidation of these ideas parallel, connected, overlapping, or independent?
- Finally, OBZ has highlighted a barely-touched issue regarding the role and politics of the UN in Cyprus. What are the officially-sanctioned and ‘permitted’ kinds of rapprochement activity from the vantage point of the UN, and why is this the case? Why is the UN so disturbed by the presence of OBZ activists?