Sunday, March 9, 2014

Peacekeepers, checkpoint: Reminders about our mission

While Cyprus is certainly beautiful (see photo), we were reminded yesterday that we’re not here on vacation.

Our hotel, near Famagusta, Northern Cyprus
As we boarded our plane in London, we were greeted by about 30 UN Peacekeepers (Argentinians) who were also bound for Cyprus. The peacekeepers will patrol a buffer zone that lies between Greek and Turkish Cyprus. Later, on the way to our hotel, we passed through a checkpoint when leaving southern Cyprus (the Greek part) and entering northern Cyprus (the Turkish part). There was nothing menacing about this checkpoint, as opposed to the shake-downs at the end of a barrel that are common at similar checkpoints elsewhere in the world.  

The checkpoint and the peacekeepers were a reminder of what my peace journalism student Sarah and I are doing here—to help promote peace journalism, and its ability to help journalists create an atmosphere where peace can become possible.

Our work starts tomorrow with lectures at Eastern Mediterranean University.

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