Saturday, September 15, 2012

The West Iberian tragedy

I'm just back from my first-ever trip to "Portugal".  I don't think I've ever been so moved by a visit to any "country".  As I was travelling around, I kept thinking back to Councillor Alex Gallagher's words of wisdom about the tragedy of one island being split into two political states.  How much more tragic, then, for the mere peninsula of Iberia to be split into three political entities, one of which is a British colony.  And this unnatural state of affairs has been going on for bloody centuries.  Everywhere I looked, I could detect on the faces of the West Iberian people the pain of partition, the heartache of separation, and the terror of unnecessarily high levels of representation at the Olympic Games.  I asked a young boy if he was proud of his country's silver medal in the London 2012 canoe sprint, and he gave me a vacant look.  Some might think that was because he couldn't understand my language, but in my heart I knew it was because a "Portuguese" silver means very little to these people - it would have meant so much more to have seen West Iberian athletes contribute to a Greater Spanish gold medal.  I asked a local woman if, as I expected, the European economic crisis had hit West Iberia harder due to the insanity of separation.  She replied no, that although times were hard "Portugal" was still coping better than its larger neighbour Spain.  And I could see how much this shamed her.  She longed for the intra-peninsula solidarity of shared pain.

And yet, and yet.  In spite of the fact that there is no living memory of anything but Iberian partition, the fortitude and irrational optimism of the "Portuguese" people is nothing short of extraordinary, and a shining example to us all.  We can only hope that a better, brighter, and above all Spanish future lies ahead of them (by God they deserve it), and in the meantime I'm sure they remain in the thoughts and prayers of us all.


  1. Indeed I shall start praying for them forthwith.

    I imagine however, that the pain that these poor people feel, separated as they are by an insurmountable barrier to visiting their grandmothers only 5 kilometres away, is replicated all over the world where people are forced to live separately when it's as clear as the nose on Johann Lamont's face that they would be Better Together.

    How wretched the poor Icelanders must feel, forced into a separate republic and distanced from their Danish masters, unlike the lucky Greenlanders who still enjoy the protective warmth (if that's not too inappropriate for a country 9/10ths of which is icecap), of the Danish crown.

    Norway and Sweden; Finland and Russia; Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and the Soviet Union, as well must feel an unbearable sense of loss, and as for the Czech Republic and Slovakia, or worse still Slovenia and Yugoslavia... Well my heart bleeds.... it just bleeds.

    It's a sad life for most people in the world, unhinged as they are from their natural parters, divorced from their great loves.

    Fortunately however, we have leaders with wisdom and foresight, like Gordon North Britain, and Tony $ Blair, David Chipping Norton, and Giant Haystacks to look out for us and to make sure that we will never take our oil, our fish, our scenery, our natural resources, our intellectual capabilities, wrap them in a knotted hanky and head off into an uncaring and uncertain future, unloved and unwanted.

    We are indeed blessed among nations.

    How was the holiday? Lots of pics for Fotos on Friday or Snaps on Sunday?

  2. Yes, it was good. Tonnes of photos - far too many to post them all here, but I'll keep the best ones in reserve for Moments of Low Blogging Inspiration.

    'Snaps on Sunday' - wish I'd thought of that!

  3. I remember 'Stars On Sunday'.

    Welcome back James, i'm glad you had a good time.