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A former British colony, Cyprus received independence in 1960 following years of resistance to British rule. Tensions between the Greek Cypriot majority and Turkish Cypriot minority came to a head in December 1963, when violence broke out in the capital of Nicosia. Despite the deployment of UN peacekeepers in 1964, sporadic intercommunal violence continued forcing most Turkish Cypriots into enclaves throughout the island. In 1974, a Greek-sponsored attempt to seize the government was met by military intervention from Turkey, which soon controlled more than a third of the island. In 1983, the Turkish-held area declared itself the "Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus," but it is recognized only by Turkey. The latest two-year round of UN-brokered direct talks - between the leaders of the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities to reach an agreement to reunite the divided island - ended when the Greek Cypriots rejected the UN settlement plan in an April 2004 referendum.
Let's not talk about Day 1, if you don't mind. I don't even know if I could, except in brief, feverish, jetlag-induced, "telegraphic" bursts.
Now, on to Day 2.
Day 2--Quiet, excitable misogi
Things are progressing very well, in preparation for the Big Event. Don Levine, Philip Emminger, Mark Walsh, and several core aiki-extensions members are all here. I am working on some of the international PR (of which this blog is a small part) as well as cleaning misogi for our newly acquired dojo, right in the contested "Green Zone," in Nicosia, Cyprus.
Not that it really looks like a "contested area." Actually, the internet cafe from which I type (pic's soon to follow) is about a block away. And yet, we still have to clear the event through the UN, and we will have to go through a metal detector. Security is still a concern.
At this point, we are coordinating events leading up to the weekend seminar, including a symbolic meeting between the North and South Cyprus Aikido Sensei's will meet, a public demo scheduled for tomorrow and Thursday, and a seminar from Friday thru Sunday will commence, led by four prominent Sensei's. Check out the A-E prospectus, here. (may take a while to download)
The momentum is building. If I weren't so caught up in it all, I'd realize how tired from jetlag I truly was. We even have a documentary film-crew on-site, filming as the big weekend approaches.
As my fingers peck away, I can faintly smell the sickly sweet-scented cleaner from the dojo misogi, still on my hands (yes, I'll wash up before dinner). The building itself, on loan from the Fulbright Society, is also historically significant, as it used to be owned by the UN. We just opened up the zebra-mats for initial inspection, a bunch of grown-up kids sneaking a peek at their misogi presents before they get down to the work of cleaning the dirt from the molding. Picture-links to accompany this blog, soon to follow.
Mark W. wants to have a general class tonight for the "core" members. If I can still stand up by 7pm, I'll be there.