Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Thoughts from Galicia: 10.5.17

Spanish life is not always likeable but it is compellingly loveable.
- Christopher Howse: A Pilgrim in Spain.

Fiona Govan is the Madrid-based correspondent of the Daily Telegraph. Here she reports in The Local on the welcome news that the Spanish Congress will debate the removal of Franco's body from his purpose-built basilica-cum-mausoleum in the Valley of the Fallen, outside Madrid. I belong to the group she cites of those who think the place should be blown to smithereens, with Franco's body still in situ. By the way, the José Antonio mentioned is the one whose name Morton saw plastered all over Spain in 1955.

I've been known to say that the Spanish are never more industrious and imaginative – not so say efficient – than when preparing to have fun. And much creativity – it seems to me - goes into the incessant invention of fiestas. I'm reminded of this by a leaflet I picked up yesterday, advertising a Festival of Coffee to be held over 4 days at the end of this week. Details here

Here's how things go these days . . . The Spanish government introduced a scheme back in 2012 - the PIVE - under which you could get a good deal on replacing an old car. This year, the Tax Office (the Hacienda) is warning that people will be fined for not declaring this as a benefit in the intervening years. I suspect most people had no idea they had to. But this won't stop them being fined, of course. Quite possibly - as with Modelo 720 - excessively so.

The best headline I've seen on Macron's victory in France is Demasiado Euforia. Too Much Euphoria. As if he was ever going to lose. And as if his election means the EU will now be seriously reformed so that it's assured of survival. Here's someone's list of 8 reasons why the poor chap will need to check how many toxins are in his chalice.

There are those who think that the UK is full of pro-Brexit hankerers after the return of something like the British empire. It's a line which is not uncommon here in Spain. Well, I have 2 daughters in their 30s and I've never heard anyone in either their generation or - more significantly - mine even mention the empire. At least not since I was about 11. It would be nice if those who chuck this canard around could provide a scrap of evidence for it.

The Daily Mail is a British tabloid I despise. I stress this just in case you think I read the following other than via an RSS feed . . . Here's an article from it on Galicia. It starts with the most ludicrously untrue statement Ive ever read on the region:- You never wait long to hear the sound of champagne corks popping in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia. And here's a sentence which, to say the least, is ambiguous:- We head towards Cabo Finisterre[sic] and the headland at the Torre de Hércules, near the northern tip of the peninsula. The Torre is in the city of La Coruña, not in the port of Finisterra.

Finally . . . Passing in front of the HQ of the Rías Baixas wine trade association/cartel yesterday, I noticed this pile of boxes in front of it. I assumed they were awaiting pick-up by the garbage collector:-

But then I saw these items dotted around the square:-

And concluded they all formed part of some artistic presentation. An easy mistake to make these days, of course.

Finally . . . Monday saw the death of the first of the British historians to bring some truth about the Civil War to the Spanish, Hugh Thomas. There were impressive obituaries in all the Spanish papers and this is The Guardian's contribution. I was intrigued to read he was a latecomer to Castellano. When we watched him give an interview in the language a few years ago, my partner commented that, though his pronunciation wasn't great, he'd clearly mastered the Spanish practice of beginning every answer with "Buuueno, . . . ."

Today's cartoon:-

Brexit again??

"It's called negotiating"


Perry said...

Blowing up Franco's tomb would open a can of worms. How about Lenin's tomb followed by Karl Marx's in Highgate. Without those two we wouldn't have had Stalin.

As for Stalin's grave, bye bye Kremlin Wall Necropolis, Moscow.

What about the resting place for Mao?

The British Empire had it's genocidal moments. Shall we blitz Westminster Abbey? The benefits of these monuments may be expressed in the words: "Lest we forget".

As for the artistic litter in front of the HQ of the Rías Baixas wine trade association, you will doubtless recall shit happens.

Eamon said...

A quote from the article above about Galicia. "In the morning, we stroll through the old town, the cobbled lanes meandering up until we reach the tranquil San Carlos Gardens." If they had reached the San Carlos gardens they would have realised it was the dedicated burial place of Sir John Moore. Just opposite, is a Military museum which I would imagine would be of interest to any tourist who bothered to get that far. I doubt the writer was in Galicia.

Sierra said...

Wikipedia's entry on "Valle de los Caídos" gives some further targets to consider - should keep you busy:

Anıtkabir, Mausoleum of Mustafa Kemal Atatürk (Turkey)
Mazar-e-Quaid (Pakistan)
Che Guevara Mausoleum (Cuba)
Santa Ifigenia Cemetery (Cuba)
Museo Histórico Militar de Caracas (Venezuela)
Kwame Nkrumah Mausoleum (Ghana)
Sun Yat-sen Mausoleum (China)
Cihu Mausoleum, Chiang Kai-shek (Republic of China, Taiwan)
Touliao Mausoleum, Chiang Ching-kuo (Republic of China, Taiwan)
Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum (Vietnam)
House of Flowers (mausoleum), Josip Broz Tito (Serbia)
Lenin's Mausoleum (Russia)
Les Invalides, Sarcophagus of Napoleon Bonaparte (France)
Mausoleum of Mao Zedong (China)
Georgi Dimitrov Mausoleum (Bulgaria)
Kumsusan Palace of the Sun (North Korea)
National Chiang Kai-shek Memorial Hall (Republic of China, Taiwan)
Türkmenbaşy Ruhy Mosque (Turkmenistan)
Bourguiba mausoleum in Monastir (Tunisia)
Julius Nyerere's mausoleum in Butiama Cemetery (Tanzania)
Jomo Kenyatta Mausoleum (Kenya)
Arafat mausoleum (Palestinian)
Abdel Nasser Mosque (Egypt)
Unknown Soldier Memorial (Egypt) (Egypt)
Mausoleum of Assad in Qardaha (Syria)
Mausoleum of Khomeini (Iran)
Marcos Museum and Mausoleum (Philippines)
Astana Giribangun (Indonesia)
Cimitero di San Cassiano (Italy)

Colin Davies said...

And how many were designed by the incumbent and built by slave labour?

And, yes, I would blow them all up. Or most of them anyway.

Alfred B. Mittington said...

Oh, and the Arc de Triomphe…

And the grave of the unknown soldier at Bathala…

And Mount Rushmore…

And the London Cenotaph…

And let us not forget to destroy every other monument or memorial that commemorates people who - for whatever reason right or wrong - laid down their lives in some sort of altruistic cause…


Colin Davies said...

I am afraid that some of you seem to have completely missed the point. Whch mystifies me because, at other times, you give signs of intelligence.

Are we supposed now to see Franco as some merely sort of misguided altruist?

Colin Davies said...

merely some sort of misguided altruist*

Colin Davies said...

And I would blow up the statue of Oliver Cromwell outside the House of Parliament.

Colin Davies said...

Houses , , ,

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