Tala gone directly against an order from the Paphos district office in Cyprus by ruling against a British expat being allowed a plot in their local cemetery. It has been stated by the government that this type of discrimination is unlawful, yet this is the second time in two months that this problem has reared its head.
Family Request Turned Down
Betty Rippengal, aged 96, who moved to Cyprus 30 years ago with her husband John, 24 of those spent in Tala. Family members requested her body to be laid at the local cemetery, but members of the Tala community turned the request down as Ms. Rippengal was not considered by them to be a local Cypriot.
Ms. Rippengal’s two daughters stated that they had repeatedly asked Tala community leader Areti Pieridou to give them permission to occupy a spot at the cemetery to bury their mother where she called home. They tried to tell Pieridou that her refusal was discriminatory, but this did not make any difference to their plea. The daughters also reported that the incident left their grieving father stressed and disheartened to have such protests from the place he considered to be his home and his community.
Betty Rippengal was eventually laid to rest in the Chlorakas village cemetary. This ended up costing the family 4,000 euro, because they were not residents of Chlorakas like they were of Tala, where plots are usually free to residents. However, the family were less concerned about the money than the principles – the Rippengals have been paying Tala taxes faithfully for 24 years.
And this is not the first time Tala cemetery has turned away people who moved to Cyprus from Britain. Back in August, a woman from the UK who had lived in Tala for more than 10 years was denied the right to bury her husband in Tala’s cemetery. This happening encouraged a local councilor to file a complaint with the Paphos district office against the discrimination taking place. The Office replied with a warning that they agreed the practice was against the law, yet Tala have defied this warning by continuing the discrimination in denying Rippengal a place of rest in her local cemetery.
Pieridiou declined to comment on her controversial decision, but it is clear that many are bothered by her decision. It is unclear as for now what will happen next regarding this issue, but many are standing up to protest in Tala, calling for equal treatment for all in both life and death.