A double imagination: Memory and education in Cyprus
Journal of Modern Greek Studies
SourceJournal of Modern Greek Studies
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A primary objective of the Greek Cypriot educational system since 1974 has been to educate the new generation of Greek Cypriots about the part of the island that is occupied by Turkey and instill the desire for a reunification of the island. The phrase "I don't forget and I struggle" on posters hanging in classrooms has been central in this pedagogical endeavor. Educational systems have always played key roles in nationalist struggles. However, the study of nationalism in Cyprus has mostly focused on the conflict between Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots, paying attention to the negative expressions of nationalism, while ignoring the positive desires inherent in the imagination generated by nationalism. A critical discourse analysis of data collected from a high school ethnography shows that interpretations of the above quoted phrase reflect double imaginations: on the one hand, the desire for reunification and, on the other hand, a nostalgia for the "fighting spirit" that characterized previous nationalist struggles which are no longer compatible with the current efforts to solve the Cyprus problem.