Thursday, June 07, 2007

Understandably, there was little but comment on the ETA development in yesterday’s Spanish press. Maybe I imagined it but I sensed a majority view the opposition should resist the temptation to gloat and humiliate the government by demanding an apology and an explicit change in strategy. Far better for Mr Rajoy to be statesmanlike and to throw himself into behind-doors attempts to restore an all-party approach to the challenge of defeating the terrorists. Or, as the BBC calls them, the ‘separatist group’ - a label which would also apply, I suspect, to bits of the Galician Nationalist Block. Who are decidedly not terrorists.

I was right and wrong about the incidence of domestic violence in Spain. Since 2002, the annual totals of women murdered have been 52, 70, 72, 62 and 68. So no consistent increase after the leap in 2003. However, this year’s 5 month total sadly suggests a new high of c. 78.

I touched on Spanish inconsistency yesterday. How about this for a good example . . . Despite generally displaying, in my view, lowish levels of concern for others, the Spanish are the best in Europe when it comes to organ donations. Which is pretty noble.

Spanish experts are predicting that, within 50 years, global warming will turn the Galician climate Mediterranean. Too late for me, of course. But I’m less than distraught as they say the rainfall isn’t going to reduce. On the other hand, wider cultivation of wine will be possible. Isn’t life a bugger? Or death, to be more accurate.

The latest fraudulent product to be advertised by Sunday’s El Mundo is a miraculous apple vinegar capsule. This will cure you of every imaginable condition whilst simultaneously and permanently removing all the weight you don’t want. You can get it by mail from a company in where else but Spain’s badlands, Andalucia.

Finally, hands up those who didn’t – like me – know the Spanish sent a second Armada against the British Isles in the 1590s. This time to invade Ireland. Like its 1588 predecessor, it failed to achieve its objectives. Especially if these centred on strengthening Celtic links between Ferrol and Dublin. Presupposing anyone used the word Celtic in the late 16th century,


Anonymous said...

In fact, both Armadas and several more from both sides (most of them failed) were episodes of the Anglo–Spanish War that lasted from 1585 to 1604 and ended in a draw.

The wikipedia has a good article on the issue:–Spanish_War_(1585)

Asturchale y Chulo said...

The expedition you mention is only but one more example of the long-term colaboration between the Spanish Crown and the Irish rebels. The Catholic Irish very often fled their island and joined the Spanish army with the intention to help Spain to fight the Protestant powers, especially England. They became a very common sight in XVIIth century Spain, and eventually mustered up to three whole regiments of "irlandeses", being highly apreciated by their bravery and strength. If you visit Santiago de Compostela, perhaps they can still show you the "Colegio de los Irlandeses", where some refugees used to study to become priests.

Curiously enough, in those days it was not the Iberians who wanted to claim celticness, but rather the other way round: seeking to gain influence in the Court of Madrid, some Irish exiles tried to promote the Book of Invasions and the story of Breoghan as history, thus reinforcing their position before the king as "almost Spanish".

Colin Davies said...

Thanks, AyC. Ah, how the wheel turns. Now I'm wondering if my Irish ancestors had Spanish blood . . .

Anonymous said...

From Alicanta: I very much apreciate your comments, and yes, I will keep reading your notes as I enjoy most of them otherwise I wouldn't read them. I had time to learn and apreciate English humor after many years married to someone who mirrors your way of thinking and writting. I'm the first one to laugh at us "Spaniards" and our way of being, specially because I've been lucky and, as you, I'm well travelled and have experienced different cultures. I consider myselve an inteligent person who can see further than my nose therefore I wasn't ungry with your views in particular, I recognise that I migh have been a bit strong with my comnets and certainly I didn't mean that you or any other foreigner in this country have no rights to criticise anything, I mainly meant that at the end of the day we are all people of this world and comparisoms are wellcome as long as they are constructive.
By the way, going further north meant more difficulties with understanding the accent!

Colin Davies said...


Thank-you for this gracious response. I'm delighted you will
keep on reading.

I did have a few more thoughts after I wrote to you and was contemplating putting these in today's blog. But, on reflection, I think it's best if I just say them here. Needless to say, I don't want to upset you [or anybody] so these are offered in a spirit of dialogue:-

Firstly [and ironically], I’m fortunate enough to be of an age and situation to revel in the positives of Spain’s culture, even if I do go an a bit about the things that irritate me. As I say, I do hope this comes across in my blog.

Secondly, I think it's fair to say that a country or person can only say 'Hey, I'm different. Leave me alone. How I do things is none of your business' if the country/person is paying its own way. Spain, of course, has been the EU's biggest beneficiary for 25 years and will continue to receive cash from other EU taxpayers for some time yet. In these circumstances, it's arguable Spain has forfeited its right to escape criticism for, say, the dreadful urban planning corruption and the prostituition trade. And perhaps for continuing low productivity and/or what the Anglos see as inefficiency.

Most importantly, if Spain is to remain as strong as it is now after the EU funds dry up, perhaps I'm even doing a public service in harping on about the things that need to improve.

With luck, Spain will be able to both change and retain the things which make its culture so admirable and attractive to those of us who have decided to spend the rest of our days here.

Best wishes.