Puzzled. Pissed off, puzzled and confused.

I saw something really strange today. It was bad. Very bad. And strange.

I was on my way for a little walk after a minor beer session in Ship Inn. It was around 2:30am. I was walking by Kanika complex, listening to some blues podcast. Nice music, nice weather, nice mood…

Suddenly I see this crowd of kids. There are about 20 or 30 of them. They all are about 13, 14, 15 years old. They run around like crazy, but in a group, shouting something in Greek. There’s plenty of excitement, although it was easy to say that something stupid is happening.

Then I see this young woman, she’s probably 25 or so, running around, chasing kids. Oh, well. Having fun, aren’t ya? Nothing special, so I am passing by, listening to my blues podcast.

As I go by, I look at the faces of some kids, and something tells me that something wrong is going on. These guys, they are smiling, but in a bad kind of way. Uh-oh. I stop, I turn around, I look.

The young woman is obviously drunk. She’s a tourist. She’s barefoot, she has a leather belt in her hand and she is chasing these kids trying to hit them. Hmm…

Now I see there is this other dude. He is about 25 or 27 years old. His a big guy, and he is obviously pissed off. I watched him for about three seconds – he was doing two things at the same time. He was chasing the kids, also trying to hit them, and he was trying to catch and calm down that young woman. Or so it seemed.

The dude grabbed the woman and put her down on the grass, jumping at the crowd around… It didn’t look good. Or right.

So I go through the crowd, straight to the dude and ask him if he needs any help. The guy is all tired, sweaty, and seriously pissed off. He says “Yeah! I need some help, man! Those motherfuckers, they attacked my wife…”. At this point I am thinking “What the fuck?!”.

The young woman jumps up, and shouting all the dirty words I’ve ever known starts chasing the kids again, with the belt in her hand. Kids are again amused and entertained. That was really stupid. With that belt, it was easy to make some serious damage…

Anyway, I ask the guy if the girl is drunk or on drugs or anything. He says she’s drunk. And that she wasn’t doing anything wrong, they just came to the beach for a sweem, but they were just talking, when these kids came around and started shouting offensive words, and grabbing his woman, and touching her, and doing all sorts of things they shouldn’t have been doing…

I looked around to assess the situation. Basically, there was nothing much to assess. From my very limited street experience, I’ve learned one small thing – there is no way to fight a crowd. You can fight one on one, two on two, or whatever. But when there is a crowd, and noone in particular – that won’t lead anywhere, except to a worse situation.

I look at the dude, he is pissed off, and he is not thinking straight. I asked him where are they staying. He said that they are tourists and that they are staying Kanika Pantheon Hotel. Good. It’s just around the corner.

I suggest the plan of action. First, we get to the hotel. Second, we call the police. He agreed. Now, at this moment, we had to hurry a bit, because everything was rushing out of our control (that is from as little control as we had over the situation). The young woman, we, and those kids – all are running across the seaside street, back and forward, and back again. That’s not the best idea of time spending, especially considering the from Friday to Saturday night, with most drivers speeding, and many drunk. Plus some small stones started flying around… Kids are having fun.

The progress towards the hotel is very slow. It’s either the dude is getting pissed and starts chasing the kids. Or the young woman gets off with the same goal, or we lose the shoe, or the belt, or something else. But overall we are moving forward.

Suddenly we see this police car driving by. It is traffic police, but what do we care. So we shout, whistle, and make lots of noises. The police comes back. We tell them what happenned. They don’t seem to be very interested though. They asked us if the woman needs an ambulance. We declined. They said: “We are going to drive around the block, to check things out”. What??? To check what out? But they didn’t even bothered to listen or explain – they just left. And we never saw them again.

Finally, we made it to the hotel. The kids were all still around. They kept the distance, but they were still aggressive.

These whole situation got me so pissed off. I mean, c’mon. What is this? Cyprus was always one of the safest places on Earth. Everyone was safe, especially the tourists. OK, there were some minor accidents or fights, but those usually happen near pubs or discos and all parties are as drunk as it can get.

But here? In Kanika, which is like the center of the city. And the kids were sober. And they were kids. And there was the whole crowd of them. And they attacked a woman. Who was with the guy. What the fuck is going on?

I can understand when bad things happen on a football match, where the time and place is pre-arranged for bad things to happen. But here? Is it like the whole generation is screwed so badly? I don’t understand…

While we were making our way towards the hotel, the young woman was repeating one phrase over and over and over again: “I hate Cyprus”. “I hate Cyprus”. “I hate Cyprus”. And it was the first and only time in my life, when I didn’t feel like discussing…

12 thoughts on “Puzzled. Pissed off, puzzled and confused.”

  1. And I wonder how THAT can be fixed? As I see it, it’s the poor parenting problem. Parenting can be improved by campaigns, ads, educations, talks, etc, etc, etc. But that would be a long time before the effects of the improved parenting will sow up.

    What else? More brutal police? Fines?

    I have no idea…

  2. No easy solution. :( IMHO the reason is degradation of moral values (pardon the cliche), e.g. church, which have not been replaced by anything.

    Government should take initiative in child care (youth organizations etc), police should take a hard stance against youth deliquency, parents should be fined for behavior of their kids etc.

  3. It is the problem of the modern world. I think you can do nothing immediately. You can only think about safety your own kid: to explain him what is good and what is bad and to teach him to avoid gangs.Or you can hire a body-guard for your child. In Russia rich people take everywhere their children by car, they try to control every their free minute. It is impossible for a stranger to enter a school without the pass. But it is not dangerous to go to school. Your child can be given drugs in the school toilet. So you need think about that and speak to your son first of all.

  4. hazard,

    Yes, sounds like a good plan. The only thing missing for now, is the governments realization of the problem. As soon as they will “get it”, I’m sure they will come up with a right course of actions for it.

  5. Zinaida,

    Russia is a “one man standing” nation. At least at this stage. Everyone is for himself and doesn’t give a damn about anyone else.

    Cyprus is very different in this regard. And my concern is more “cypriot” in nature than “russian”. I am not now thinking for the future of my son, and bodyguards, and closed schools. What I am seeing is a social problem. The one for the community to solve. And for me, as a part of that community, not as an individual with a child…

  6. jujav4ik,

    while I witnessed the incident myself, I still don’t believe that such issues occur regularly. Xenophobia is a well known phenomenon, but I wouldn’t rank it as a major concern for the time being.

    I’ve been living in this country for more than 10 years now. And I’ve lots of changes. And one of the changes that I saw was the decreased levels of xenophobia.

    More people visit this country every year. Cypriots themselves travel more. Many of them get married with foreigners.

    Also, after all this colonizations, I guess, they have it in their spirit – adoption and tolleration of other cultures. Just look around – so many people speak English. Many even speak Russian. Holidays are celebrated together (for example, New Years Eve became much more of a major holiday than it was ten years ago). And so on…

    As much as I understand the existing problem of xenophobia, I have to say that the incident that I witnessed was more related to bad parenting, than to xenophobia.

  7. These youth gangs attack the easiest targets. Foreigners are mostly helpless, they are easy to identify, they are outside their social circle and therefore are a good target.

    So let’s not attribute it to xenophobia, which of course exists in Cyprus, but I don’t see a direct relation.

    The government kind of realizes the problem, at least several high-level persons stated their concerns about its existence, but as usual with governments there is a big difference between what is said and what is done. :(

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