Civil Society

Aside

(EN) Our Civil Society

Our Civil Society begins around the year 1500 BC with the advent of the Myceneans to Cyprus. The Myceneans brought their language, customs and religion. The Achaeans followed bringing to the island their priests, oracles, gods, altars, epic poetry and city-states. Salamis, Kitium, Amathus, Akamas, Marion, Aepia, and Idalion are paid lip service in 12th century BC inscription in Egypt.

The independence of the city-states suffered its first infringement under Ptolemy with the establishment of the Koinon, the first federal system of government in Cyprus in the year 294 BC. Under the Koinon, the city-states continued to have their parliament, demos (assembly of citizens), secretary and Gymnasium Principal. The Koinonwas invested with religious duties and the jurisdiction to cut coins. This federal form of government persisted after the demise of Antony and Cleopatra in the year 31 BC when Cyprus became officially a province of the Roman Empire, initially under the Emperor and later under the Roman Senate, and lasted throughout the Principate period retaining a genuine civil form of governance and lifestyle. In the Domination era, civil society had its first setbacks undergoing a gradual conversion due to the slow but inevitable predominance of the Christian religion.

As in other parts of the Roman Empire, first during the Domination years ending in the year 565 AD, and second during the Byzantine period Cyprus enjoyed a diminished form of civil society preserved under the Theodosian and Justinian Code of Civil Law, later given the name Corpus luris Civilis. Ever since the 4th century AD Cyprus enjoined a dichotomy of powers divided into secular and temporal, the first carried out by virtue of a Civil Code.

The latest version of the Civil Code had been compiled in the 15th century AD in Six Books, by Armenopoulos, governing secular matters. Temporal matters were vested exclusively in the autocephalous church of Cyprus by virtue of the Holy Canons and its Charter for the Greeks. A second temporal power emerged in 1570 AD solemnly declared by Lala Mustafa Pasha on 15th September in Hagia Sophia establishing the Vakf Institution and Vakf Principles and Laws for the Turkish Community immediately after the sacking of Nicosia. Both Temporal powers are in force under the provisions of the 1960 Constitution.

Civil Society, however, suffered a further degradation, due to the tacit circumvention of civil rights and liberties in the mid-1950s, mid-1960s and finally in the mid-1970s being the outcome of hostilities between the two communities. Civil rights had never been taken seriously in Cyprus ever since the Principate times came to an end, and reference to them today implies merely gay rights.

 

(ES) NUESTRA SOCIEDAD CIVIL

Nuestra Sociedad Civil comienza alrededor del año 1500 a.C., con la llegada de los micénicos a Chipre. Los micénicos trajeron su idioma, las costumbres y la religión. Los aqueos siguieron trayendo a la isla a sus sacerdotes, oráculos, dioses, altares, la poesía épica y ciudades-estado. Salamina, Kitium, Amathus, Akamas, Marion, AEPIA y Idalion se pagan de boquilla en la inscripción del siglo 12 antes de Cristo en Egipto. La independencia de las ciudades-estado sufrió su primera infracción en las Ptolomeo con el establecimiento de la Koinon, el primer sistema federal de gobierno en Chipre en el año 294 antes de Cristo. Bajo el Koinon, las ciudades-estado sigue teniendo su parlamento, demos (asamblea de ciudadanos), secretario y Gimnasio Principal. El Koinon fue investido con los deberes religiosos y la jurisdicción para cortar monedas.

Esta forma de gobierno federal persistió después de la desaparición de Antonio y Cleopatra en el año 31 a.C., cuando Chipre se convirtió oficialmente en una provincia del Imperio Romano, inicialmente bajo el emperador y más tarde bajo el senado romano, y se prolongó durante todo el período de retención de un auténtico principado civil, forma de gobierno y estilo de vida. En la era de la dominación, la sociedad civil tuvo sus primeros reveses sometidos a una conversión gradual debido al predominio lento pero inevitable de la religión cristiana. Al igual que en otras partes del Imperio Romano, primero durante los años de dominación que terminan en el año 565 d.C., y la segunda durante el período bizantino Chipre gozó de una forma disminuida de la sociedad civil conservado bajo el Código de Derecho Civil de Teodosio y Justiniano, más tarde recibió el nombre de Corpus Iuris Civilis (ClC).

Desde el siglo 4 d.C. Chipre impuso una dicotomía de poderes divididos en secular y temporal, el primero que se realiza en virtud de un Código Civil. La última versión del Código Civil había sido compilada en el siglo 15 d.C., en seis libros, por Armenopoulos, gobernando mater seculares. Asuntos temporales fueron investidos exclusivamente en la Iglesia autocéfala de Chipre en virtud de la Santa Cánones y su Carta para los griegos. Un segundo poder temporal surgió en 1570 AD declaró solemnemente por Lala Mustafa Pasha el 15 de septiembre en la iglesia de Santa Sofía se establecen los principios y leyes Vakf Institución y Vakf para la comunidad turca inmediatamente después del saqueo de Nicosia. Ambos poderes temporales están en vigor en virtud de lo dispuesto en la Constitución de 1960.

‘Who did steal the people’s money?’ Do tell…

‘Who stole the people’s money?’ – This question comes from Thomas Nast’s cartoon in The New York Times after the outbreak of the Tammany Ring case in 1871.

This is only one of many examples of corruption due to the transferability of judges and one of the most monstrous. It arose from the squandering of public funds. This feat occurred with the complicity of the then temporary and transferable judges of the ‘State of New York’.

The entire New York bar was moved and protested actively against the continuation of a system that did not guarantee the proper administration of justice and resembled a perpetual threat against the interests of the citizens.

Without delay we were able to enjoy functionally independent and permanent courts as from 1876 under Article 83 of the ‘Ottoman Constitution’.*

However that was not a remedy once and for all times. New-fangled threats against our financial position make their appearance very often. As sovereignty in our island tends to diminish from both malevolent and benevolent motives we tend to pay inadequate attention to some vital institutions.

When we find ourselves at the edge of the cliff, only then we realize we are in a quite unsafe situation. One can cite many instances of theft of people’s money. Such had been the case with the failure of the stock exchange institution.

Now again, we rewrite an unprecedented crisis in our financial history. Even when we come to legal protection, we find out: we are gradually and persistently falling behind.

As long as contracting and property rights offer benefits and costs that may be fully internalized by participants in voluntary exchange, markets deliver outcomes that are socially rational.

However, when we come to the problem who can guarantee that players in voluntary exchange respect the institution of the market, we come to the paradox where it is individually rational to take advantage of the situation and not play by the rules, once the market is not protected by an external umpire who can ensure that its institutions are upheld and respected.

Individuals who find themselves in such a predicament realize they have no one else to blame but themselves for venturing into a highly risky environment.

The smooth operation of certain absolutely vital human institutions, such as fulfilment of contracts, the respect for mutual obligations and the preservation of property rights is facing severe setbacks.

This state of affairs does not contribute to the overcoming of our deep financial crisis but on the contrary encourages further corruption and mischief.

Governments employ taxation to pay for the umpire services which are public goods. Without such public goods social interaction tends to decline to anarchy or anomy.

Legal protection relies on decisions that conform to the law which we call just. While in the case of acts or decisions of the administrative authorities, we do not call them just, but lawful. In the contrary case, we call both decisions arbitrary.

Stealing people’s money is neither just nor lawful. While much has been said and done in the name of the welfare of society and social rights, very little attention has been paid to the regulatory part of the administration.

The regulatory administration is an equally indispensable part of a sovereign state: taking care of planning, acting together and ensuring the coordination, cooperation and organization of administrative units, it regulates the relations between them, prepares studies, plans and programs.

As the financial crisis takes momentum leading to further arbitrary outcomes, we are bound to wonder why the regulatory authorities did such a bad job.

Why they let the centre of gravity to be displaced. How they let the country’s financial equilibrium to be so badly disturbed. Such disturbance is a highly dangerous menace and a shock to our social order.

The natural consequence today is a social struggle to re-establish financial equilibrium and to ensure the minimum essential state functions. **

* See pages 86 and 88, ‘La Réforme Judiciaire’, Christodul J. Suliotis, 1890.

** See paragraph 14, ‘Polity and Cyprus’, Argyro Toumazou, 2012.