Sunday, December 03, 2006

Anti-ETA activity in the south of France has been stepped up in recent months, apparently since the terrorist organisation foolishly decided to try to include France in its negotiations with the Spanish state. This is consistent self-interested behaviour on the part of Spain’s neighbour. For decades, little was done from Paris to stop France’s Basque provinces affording a safe haven to ETA. And this only stopped once this became an untenable position after the Twin Towers and Madrid bombings had given terrorism a bad name even in France. But it’s an ill wind that blows no good and the latest arrests are surely welcome. Especially at a time when the ‘peace process’ seems mired in mud and fears are growing that ETA has used the breathing space to revitalise itself.

The opposition’s relentless criticism of its ‘softness’ towards ETA had led the Spanish government to issue a video of comments made by the PP party when it negotiated a similar ceasefire in the late 90s. This follows a similar video issued by the PP about the growth of violent crime in the country. Both of these productions have gone straight onto the internet, raising all sorts of questions. Like, “Isn’t this all rather juvenile?”

Not a bad day, today. Although it rained, I didn’t have my [back-up] umbrella stolen.

Finally, an interesting comment on Mel Gibson's latest film, Apocalypto - Human sacrifice. Ritual dismemberment of human bodies. Priestly rituals in which men's hearts are plucked from their bodies. . . It's set in the ancient, pre-conquest Mayan civilisation of Mexico – which extended to Nicaragua and Honduras – with dialogue in the original Yucatec. The violence may be sadistic but the religion of the ancient Mexicans did indeed involve ritual butchery. And cannibalism. It's all a useful corrective to contemporary prejudices about Spanish colonialism. Bad as the conquest was, the native civilisation it replaced and Christianised was – certainly in respect of its barbarous religion – very much worse

5 comments:

David said...

The Spanish committed genocide on a grand scale in the Americas. The Mayans did what they did out of their beliefs. The Spanish were motivated by greed and power. I do not think you can compare one set of motives with the other.

Duardón de Albaredo said...

Er, sorry, Manoliño Albariño (that is your Galician nick, eh Colin?) but you make a big mistake.

The Mayan Civilisation had already disappeared by the time of the conquest... if I remember correctly they "disappeared" (were destroyed?) on XII century.

The Aztecs were the rulers of what we call "Mexico" nowadays. Human sacrifices: usually with prisoners of war.

Some anthropologists tried to explain this phenomenon. Not enough meat protein... NO livestosck. They were "forced" to find out some extra er... meat.

Anonymous said...

David, the Spaniards were no Saints, but the grand scale death that you note came from disease, not the sword. Most of the Native Americans that died did so having never even met a Spaniard. Only their diseases. This caused a certain amount of despair among those that wanted to use them as slaves. They weren't around in great enough numbers and the importation of slaves from Africa ensued. Priests complained to the queen about their maltreatment, especially with the large numbers that became devout Catholics (there was a familiarity with the spilling of blood from Christ for the sake of sacrifice that many were able to embraced). The Queen hence forth banned their enslavement (not to be confused with no further abuse) - and Hispanic America began......

Colin said...

Duardon, You may be right that it's a mistake. But I only quoted it from a UK newspaper; I'm not the author. It achieved its purpose of getting reactions. . .

Duardón de Albaredo said...

I see, Manoliño. Well, this proves some journalists in the UK write half-arsed articles too.

I remember one time on Spanish TV: there was a hurricane in the Caribbean Sea. A [Spanish] journalist said: "a tsunami is expected"... Someone should have told her that hurricanes and earthquakes are different natural phenomenons... And this was after the big tsunami in the Indian Ocean. She was supposed to know the difference.