Cyprus at a Crossroads:The challenge of the 21st century;Dr. Anthony A. Koyzis
As the world begins to conceive the end of this century as well as the end of the millennium a great deal
of pondering over the future seems to be going on.
The doomsday millenialists are forecasting another catastrophic end of Biblical proportion whereas the optimists look forward to the world of science fiction and the optimism of space travel. Academics in the social and human sciences have long proclaimed the end of modernity and the coming of post-modernity, are pointing to the new questioning of traditional modern nuances whether they be fundamental belief in rationalism, utilitarianism, overealiance on scientific inquiry or the new trend toward combining a more nostalgic-Baroque past with modern conceptual frames ie. Mcdonaldization on the one hand with Jihad wars on the other. This proclaimed 'end of modernity' has also been seen as the end of such modern creations as the concept of the nation-state, nationalism or even liberal democracy, capitalism, socialism, communism etc.
A globalization of unprecedented proportion is also taking place under the guise of world market expansion, internationalization of informatics, communications and transport all making the world clearly a smaller place to live. We live in an era in which our enemies (or the so perceived) are our partners in the work place since they may be involved directly or indirectly in the production or the distribution of goods, services, information and knowledge. We can no longer avoid anyone on earth since we are living in an extremely interdependent globalized era. According to Malcolm Waters in "Globalization" (Routledge,1995):
"It follows that the globalization of human society is contingent on the extend to which cultural arrangements are effective relative to economic and political arrangements. We can expect the economy and the polity to be globalized to the extend that they are culturalized, that is to the extend that the exchanges that take place within them are accomplished symbolically." (pg.9)
As far the cultural dimensions of globalization one can only turn on their televisions to witness the
MTVization or the CNNization of mediated messages as well as the new universalizations of McDonald-
like fast food places, the creolization of musical forms primarily through the influences of Afro-
Caribbean/American forms . These are taking place within the contexts of changes in geopolitical ar-
rangements (end of cold war) and the renewed vacuums in the bipolarities of the post-war era. A renewed
ethnic-nationalism is replacing the bipolatities of the previous era and it is being shaped by the
uncertainties of this end of 'modernity' discourse. The Balkans and their renewed place in the language of
ethnic srife is making the term 'Balkanization' a word to imply resurgence of mythical and perhaps
illusionary pasts of glorious Serbians etc.
Sociologists explain these rather peculiar events taking place in an era Cyberspace communications as simple ramifications of 'nostalgia' in the presence of radical challenges in traditional nation-state-society configurations. Featherstone (et. al.) in their work "Global Culture" (Sage,1990) argue that these nos- talgias and renewed ethnic-nationalisms are perhaps passing phenomena, whereas Bryan Turner in his work "Orientalism, Postmodernism and Globalism" (Routledge, 1994) sees them as adjustment mechanisms especially in the case of non-Western societies who are now coming to grips with modernity, global culture and are selectively accepting and/or are selectively rejecting. Nonetheless these renewed ethnicnational ismss are causing a great deal of uncertainty especially to an international system used to 'rational agents of change' such us the UN, multilateralism and other by-products of the modernity project.
Cyprus in the midst of things ?
As these events in the global realm are unfolding, Cyprus is pondering its future. As a thoroughly globally integrated entity Cyprus has been boasting (at least the Republic of Cyprus) high levels of economic development, high levels of educational attainment, high level of physical quality of life and a positive attitude towards its place as a cosmopolitan center of the Middle East. But underneath this exterior of buoyancy and glittering cosmopolitan attitude Cyprus