Cyprus and Its People: Nation, Identity, and Experience in an Unimaginable Community, 1955-1997

By Vangelis Calotychos | Go to book overview

13 Communication Across Lands Divided: The Cypriot Communications Landscape

Gary Gumpert and Susan J. Drucker

There is something unnerving about crossing borders. We have crossed many borders, including those that divided East and West Berlin, Hong Kong and China, the Soviet Union and Poland, Austria and Yugoslavia, and Czechoslovakia and Austria. The presence of natural barriers- -rivers, seas, and mountains--are understandable. But there is something horrifying, frightening about borders--to be momentarily located between two artificial lines of hostility. There is a sudden realization that you might not belong to any place, that you might be abandoned to wandering between factions that do not recognize you. And there is the sudden awareness that borders are not just geographic barriers, but that they are the enemy of talk, of interaction, of the flow of ideas, in short, they are the opponents of communication. In Cyprus we found ourselves standing in the middle of a divided island brutalized by a border, one which can not be bridged without permission.

The path of research and scholarship is not always a smooth one either. There is much to be learned and discovered. In conducting research on communication patterns and public space usage of the Greek-American community ( Gumpert & Drucker, 1992),1 we learned that one cannot generalize about Greeks--that those who come from the Peloponnese, or Sparta, or Corfu have cultural personalities contrasting with those from Thessaloniki. Cypriots living in the community we were studying were also distinct. Our research agenda was to develop comparative communication profiles for the Cypriot community and to compare the results with data already gathered for the Greek community in Astoria, New York, Athens, Skiathos, and Leros. The Cypriot portion of the project began in July 1994.

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