In the past decade in Cyprus, the jasmine flower has become the symbol of
Nicosia, the island’s divided capital, and subsequently of a revolution within
the Turkish-Cypriot community. As symbol of Nicosia, the jasmine flower evoked
a purer time when the city had not yet been “tainted” by an influx of poor
workers from Turkey into areas of the walled city that had been abandoned by
Turkish-Cypriots. As such, the flower also came to stand for Turkey’s purported
colonization of the island and Turkish-Cypriots’ rebellion against it. And
because the jasmine came to represent a city that had once been multicultural
and a call for a re-valuing of the local, it was easy enough for the Jasmine
Revolution to be translated into a semblance of bicommunalism. But as we
show here, rather than a multicultural nostalgia, the nostalgia expressed by the
symbol of the jasmine is for a period when Turkish-Cypriots lived in enclaves,
a period of deprivation but also of solidarity.
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