Mark Twain said it all: “Mauritius was made first, and then heaven; and that heaven was copied after Mauritius.” It seems to be true, at first glance.
An idyllic tiny island with a favourable climate almost all year round, it appears to be this perfect holiday destination where you can lounge all day in the sun, drink coconut water on the beach and go for a swim in the clear blue turquoise water. However, behind this image of perfection that it’s selling, Mauritius, my dear country, as from last week, is responsible for a never ending bloodbath that is probably going to bring hell on this supposed paradise island that tourists pay shit loads of money to visit.
As of the 7th of November 2015, confirmed by a press communiqué, the fruit bat cull – mass murder –, as a urgent response to reduce the losses incurred by fruit farmers supposedly due to bats, had been officially implemented putting 18,000 endemic Mauritian fruit bats, or as their real name is, Mauritian flying foxes, in their natural habitats, even in the protested areas at risk. With a wingspan of about 70 cm and its fox-like face, the Mauritian flying fox (Pteropus niger) lives up to its name and is even described as ‘flying liquid gold’ due its fur colour. Until 2013, it had been classified as an endangered species after which its status was changed to vulnerable with an estimate of a few tens thousands now existing in the wild. Continue reading Bat cull in Mauritius: the new feat of my country→
I handed the customs officer my passport. Mere formality, I was told. “You can’t go through,” she says in a heavily accented English. I was standing at the pedestrian checkpoint at Lokmacı, Lefkoşa(Northern Nicosia), hoping to cross to the south side of the Cyprus, the Greek side. What? I’d never been denied entry anywhere and was obviously quite taken aback. I immediately switch to Turkish. “Niye?” Why? “Because you came through Ercan airport. They won’t let you through,” they being the Greek Cypriots.
A mere 15 minutes walk from the walled city of Famagusta past the shops and restaurants, the quarter of Varosha is a reminder of the Cypriot reality: the distinct division between the north and south. Prior to the Turkish invasion in 1974, it boasted of luxurious and sophisticated hotels overlooking the azure Mediterranean and was a major tourist attraction of the country as well as one of the best tourist destinations in the world. Now behind rusty razor wires, once high-end properties have been left to rot and decay without a care. The term “ghost town” is very apt for Varosha has been one since the arrival of the Turkish army back in 1974 which led to the Greek Cypriots, fearing for their lives, fleeing overnight with only the clothes on their backs, with the hope to return after the conflict ended. Except it never did.