Cyprus: Greening in the Dead Zone
The Green Line Buffer Zone that has divided the island of Cyprus since 1974 is often referred to as the Dead Zone. It is not a line, but a swathe of land that acts as a buffer between the Greek Cypriot and Turkish Cypriot communities. Patrolled by the United Nations, it is a ‘thick border’ according to the categories of borders described by Michel Butor, ‘a corridor of death, desolation and barbed wire’ (which) holds the possibility of softening to ‘become the very image of the crossing of frontiers’ (Butor et al. 1989). Similar to other military enclaves, the Buffer Zone is trapped in a status quo that has frozen the development and exploitation of the land, allowing unexpected natures to flourish. This has resulted in the softening of the deadly rift through a rich landscape of biodiversity that hosts a number of endangered species in Cyprus. The preservation of this precious flora and fauna, as well as associated ecological and cultural initiatives, offer a building block for collaboration between the communities on both sides of the dividing line and an opportunity for new narratives and strategies of reconciliation based on a common, sustainable future. This chapter describes a project being developed by the author to make the ‘Green Line greener’, envisioning the transformation of the military fault line into an ecological seam through the web of environmental and cultural initiatives that are taking place across the Green Line.
KeywordsBuffer zones No-Man’s land Peacebuilding Environmental cooperation Third landscapes
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