Villalonga, Navia. #TheOtherSpain


 

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A short walk takes us into another world. We leave behind the urban centre of Navia and enter the world of winding country roads, farms and emerald green silence, broken only by the distant bark of a dog or the whistling of a passing bird.

There is nothing arid in this lush paradise.

The sky goes from blue to grey, a light breeze stirs up as we quicken our pace at the smell of rain on the wind. Rural Asturias is a world of peaceful sights and ancestral sounds and smells. Oaks, chestnuts and fig trees growing mingled with pines and beech trees, and tender green grass that gives a unique taste to the milk from the cows that graze on it. The scent of wood fires burning in the kitchen is all it takes for this country girl to go back in time to a kitchen where supper is being made on a wood burning stove.

, a tortilla de patatas (Spanish omelette made with potatoes, onions and eggs) and some chorizo.

Come up north. Come to #TheOtherSpain

<a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/arid/">Arid</a>

    The Platypus Syndrome. Multiculturalism, Identity and European Politics


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    I have a problem understanding certain things.

    I can’t understand why you have to constantly fight to maintain your culture.

    I can’t understand why people constantly advocate for freedom of speech and then fail to see that which constitutes other people’s right of opinion with regards to their sense of identity, their sense of  belonging, if it doesn’t follow from their worldview. It feels like a form of bullying. Pushing and pulling and picking fights, prodding your patience, testing your  flexibility until you snap and then pointing out your perceived lacks: of coherence, of effort, of strength, of validity, of logic.

    I recently had a discussion about the Eurovision Song Contest. Apparently, Spain will be taking a song with a chorus in English and  I asked why it was necessary or advantageous to do so. An enthusiastic follower pointed out to me that English was the best language for pop music just like French was good for diplomacy. To my question as to why if it was the Eurovision Song Contest, the songs were not there to represent their country (which is the purpose, as the country appears on screen over the name of the singer or the song). Again I was informed that the title of the contest was in English, which apparently indicates that English would be the correct or preferred language. So out of over twenty languages spoken by the countries participating, English is chosen by more than half because it is more adequate for singing modern songs.

    The Eurovision Song Contest was originally intended to showcase and enhance the different cultures of the European continent, bringing them together in respect and understanding for each other, not deleting some in favour of others or blending them in such a way that we lose the original ones. It comes close to what I (and perhaps others) did as a child. For example, you love peanut butter sandwiches, peas, sausages and vanilla ice cream, so you decide to blend them together because how can you favourite foods be bad together if they’re so good taken individually? The result is not exactly what an enthusiastic child would expect.

    I am afraid that many multiculturalists don’t see that in their  effort to be welcoming, tolerant and foster understanding, they have forgotten that  what everyone wants is a place to belong.  We all want to identify with a land, a language, a culture. It’s not a trivial matter and it’s not, as I have been told, racist or xenophobic to feel proud of your culture if you’re a white European. What’s wrong is to believe that one culture, whichever it is, is inherently better than another.

    Instead of valuing cultures as equally important and worthy, some multiculturalists emphasize the value of any culture over their own.  They believe that the best society, in any case, is multicultural because it is enriching. If you say that you respect all cultures but prefer your own, you are at very least suspicious of racism and intolerance. This is, to say the least, strange. Why do you have to forgo your own traditions to appreciate others? I admire Eastern cultures but if forced to choose , I will choose my own northern Spanish, Celtic culture. Not to impose it on anyone or denigrate any other culture, but for myself because it is a part of who I am.

    My brand of multiculturalism is one that sees immigration as an enrichment to all cultures and a menace to none if allowed to evolve properly.  Mass migration is not conductive to multiculturalism but to alienation and trouble for all parties involved.

    The European Union is trying to do away with individual national cultures silently and relentlessly by luring innocent people from poor countries with fake promises of wealth and prosperity.

    The Masters of the World need more consumers. Therefore, they want to replace European cultures (which have low birthrates due , among other things, to bad economic planning and people having problems finding and keeping jobs) with a multicultural society composed of different nationalities forced together in under a decade, (not as it happened in America, over decades, indeed a century) each losing their differentiating qualities and finally forgetting any characteristic that makes them stand out culturally.

    The culture that is being infused in the younger generations is a non-culture. It is the culture of branding. You are no longer the language you speak, the place you live or the history of your nation. You are the things you consume. The brands you buy define your tribe. You can use Snapchat, eat at KFC and wear Van’s  regardless of where you live or whether you speak Hindi, Polish or English. There is no hideout from these changes brought about by globalisation.

    In Europe we are being bombarded with messages of tolerance towards every culture except our own. Our own national and regional cultures, we should not be proud of but make apologies for  as backwards remains of an embarrassing time when Europeans actually felt Spanish, French, German, British…and even furthermore,  felt Asturianos, Galegos, Welsh, Brittons, Scottish… It was the norm, and a good one. People felt deeply about and supported the land they lived in, which was their homeland and the place where their ancestors had lived before them. They took it as something personal and worthy of defending. That didn’t mean that people only valued their culture, but that their culture was theirs, a part of them.

    If you feel like you don’t have a particular culture to call your own, you will adopt one, however far removed  from who you are or artificial, just to belong. That’s why we have  chavs (in the UK), and chonis (in Spain). These people are usually working class, white Europeans who adopt the mannerisms, dressing style, lifestyle and even language of other cultures, seen as marginal but closely knit and supportive such as the Romani people or as they are commonly known, gypsies. Of course, they mix it together and customise it, and what results is a modern version of kitsch. It also works the other way around and some younger gypsies copy their white neighbour’s attire or way of speaking. The difference between them is that a gypsy will never let it colonise them. Their own culture is far too important to let it disappear.

    If you want to subjugate a people, shame the elders, call them ignorant and racist, and uproot the young by giving them an exaggerated sense of the value of individuality, and you will effectively have left them at the mercy of whatever cultural wind blows hardest. A culture with dry roots and no new leaves will wither and die, as the living being that it is.

    Multiculturalism in the way that it is being promoted is like a platypus in Alaska: incongruous . You cannot uproot people from their cultures and expect them to readjust easily in a short time and with little effort when there’s nothing in place to help them or to motivate them. You cannot make a people amnesic without a great deal of brainwashing from every possible source.

    We are, I fear, under attack. We are being farmed for profit, herded to where the powerful see fit to increase their already obscene wealth.

    The enemy is not another nation or another race. The enemy is among us. Don’t say you haven’t been warned. And as a gift, I hope I am wrong.

    <a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/hideout/">Hideout</a>

     

    Mom Hair. Why Women Cut Their Hair and Why I Didn’t Cut Mine.


     

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    Last week, a woman who used to be my neighbour complimented me on my look, saying that I looked younger with the longer hair. I smiled and thanked her. It got me thinking about the times in the last three or four years that I’ve been asked why I didn’t cut my hair to a more sensible length. At 49, it seems that below shoulder length hair is a bit too young for me, although my hair is healthy and looks nice because I do highlights every three months to keep it looking good.

    Why are people so interested in the length of  women’s hair? Why does what I do to my hair cause any reaction at all? I am not famous nor a trendsetter. I am, however, going counter to what many women my age in my area are doing by not only not cutting my hair to a more ‘manageable’ length but by questioning why they consider that it is the right thing to do to cut your hair when you’re a certain age and/ or a mother.

    Cristen Conger, a journalist whose expertise lies in women and gender, tells us that men’s hair length has fluctuated throughout history depending on who is in power and other social/political factors while women’s hair length has generally been long. Men’s hair length has been a sign of wealth and power, sometimes long hair being a sign of wealth and sometimes short hair being a sign of wealth; honestly it depends on who is in power.

    The fact that male hair length has fluctuated in the past probably contributes to the fact that men with longer hair do not experience such drastic disapproval when they have longer hair. Things started to change in 1795, when the general trend for male hair length started getting shorter. This change was due to taxes on wig powder and men going off to war frequently (short hair means less lice).

    Women, on the other hand, have historically had long hair until the early 20th century. Why is this? Cogner tells us the simple answer is sex. Long hair on females is seen as a signal of a woman’s youth, general health, and reproductive potential. On top of that, there are religious and cultural forces at work here. Take a look at this quote in the Bible:

    1 Corinthians 11:5-6, “But every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head—it is the same as having her head shaved. 6 For if a woman does not cover her head, she might as well have her hair cut off; but if it is a disgrace for a woman to have her hair cut off or her head shaved, then she should cover her head.”
    1 Corinthians 11:14-15: “Does not the very nature of things …that if a woman has long hair, it is her glory? For long hair is given to her as a covering.

     

    Short hair on women became popular with the flappers in the 1920’s, who prided themselves on being liberated, countercultural, and forward thinking. Since then, women cutting their hair short has been seen as a political statement, as a sign of freedom and liberation, and as a sign of feminism. It was a sign of rebeliousness. Cutting your hair is a sign of a change looming. It can be a sought after development or it can be something that you do to fit in a specific group. Many women cut their hair to signal a major shift in their lives: the end of a relationship, the end of a specific cycle, which in turn bring new beginnings.

    I’ve encountered, nevertheless, that it is also closely related in many instances to motherhood which is biologically the most womanly function of the female body. It would appear that once you have become a mother, your femaleness should be curtailed and submitted to your function as a mother. It is a process of defeminisation, understood as the removal of certain female characteristics to prevent an aspect of female development from manifesting.  In this way it would be a means of downplaying female traits. In short, once a mother, society demands that you forgo at least certain aspects of your identity in favour of others which are deemed more important. Once you’re a mother, your sexuality should diminish at least outwardly because you have already reaped the greatest reward it offers your gender: childbearing. Thus, women cut their hair to signify that they are not available or on display for any purpose or intent other than raising their children. In cutting their ‘feathers’,  they cut their most important outward signifier of femininity, the one that they can change at will with little hassle and no danger to their health. All this is only done for apparently practical reasons. The seriousness of motherhood is in command.

    This is the modern Western version of women covering their hair in public which is still practised in many Eastern cultures. In many cultures, often for religious reasons, women’s hair is covered while in public, and in some, such as Haredi Judaism or European Orthodox communities, women’s hair is shaved or cut very short, and covered with wigs. Only since the end of World War I have women begun to wear their hair short and in fairly natural styles.

    In certain circumstances like the Spanish Civil War (1936-1939), the winners of each battle raped, beat and shaved the head of the women of their enemies as a way of shaming them and their families, especially the men. Hair was apparently a weapon to use against the women, as was the almost ritual raping, but it seemed never to be about the women, who were relegated to mere instruments of retaliation.

    Another thing closely related is age. Women ‘of a certain age’ are considered past their prime physically so at some subliminal level they are expected to disengage from their sexuality and their femaleness, as the primary mission of femaleness is producing offspring. People can rant and rave, deny it, but this is still very much an issue in society nowadays. There’s even a growing ‘cult to the child’ in which both men and women praise the glories of parenthood and look suspiciously at those who do not think, as they do, that childbearing and rearing are the height of self realization.

    As I see it, women are encouraged to hide their woman-ity, the full power of their feminine strength, their wisdom. If you make your hair more manageable, you will seem more competent to others. The only reason for long, wavy hair is vanity, and that is not what ‘good women’ promote. Good women do not seek attention for themselves. They keep neat hair, well groomed, because a disheveled woman is frowned upon by many, but just that. No sign of coquettishness.

    Throughout history, people have worn their hair in a wide variety of styles, largely determined by the fashions of the culture they live in. Hairstyles are markers and signifiers of social class, age, marital status, racial identification, political beliefs and attitudes about gender.

    Why is it that women’s hair leads back to men and society and even children but not to women themselves? Why is it that even an external, easily changeable physical trait is linked to what others think, believe, want or expect?

    I’ve been the busy mom trying to juggle her family with her own life and mostly failing to find time for herself. After a few years, you end up forgetting what you’d like or if you’d like something different and you just settle for comfort even if you feel  unsure about it because the demands your life makes just don’t give you time to consider too many options, if any.

    I know where it leads: a limbo where you are only a mother, that person who does everything for everyone but herself. It reaches a point where you forget your essence, your femininity. In fact, you even consider it a setback in some aspects.

    That’s why I decided to remind myself that I was worthy and womanly by letting my hair grow. I proclaim my identity as a woman who is not afraid of being truly a woman, in every aspect. It is a privilege not everyone can attain, for as Simone de Beauvoir said, ‘You are not born a woman, you become one.’

    <a href="https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/seriousness/">Seriousness</a>

     

     

     

     

    The Core of the Green Dog. An Anarch’s Tale


     

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    Life as a Green Dog is peculiar. You feel like you’re never quite there, never entirely present in your life. You look normal but you know there’s something different at your core, something that distinguishes you from the common man.

    Recently, I found something that resonated with me. Actually it left me awestruck. It was the definition of an anarch, according to Ernst Jünger, who in his novel,  ‘Eumeswil’ (1977), coins the term in reference to his main character, Manuel Venator.

    “They found no mischief in me. I remained normal, however deeply they probed. And also straight as an arrow. To be sure, normality seldom coincides with straightness. Normalcy is the human constitution; straightness is logical reasoning. With its help, I could answer satisfactorily. In contrast, the human element is at once so general and so intricately encoded that they fail to perceive it, like the air that they breathe. Thus they were unable to penetrate my fundamental structure, which is anarchic.

    That sounds complicated, but it is simple, for everyone is anarchic; this is precisely what is normal about us. Of course, the anarch is hemmed in from the first day by father and mother, by state and society. Those are prunings, tappings of the primordial strength, and nobody escapes them. One has to resign oneself. But the anarchic remains, at the very bottom, as a mystery, usually unknown even to its bearer. It can erupt from him as lava, can destroy him, liberate him. Distinctions must be made here: love is anarchic, marriage is not. The warrior is anarchic, the soldier is not. Manslaughter is anarchic, murder is not. Christ is anarchic, Saint Paul is not. Since, of course, the anarchic is normal, it is also present in Saint Paul, and sometimes it erupts mightily from him. Those are not antitheses but degrees. The history of the world is moved by anarchy. In sum: the free human being is anarchic, the anarchist is not.” Eumeswil, Page 41

    The anarchic is independent of society, it relates to the essential nature of the person. Hence Jünger’s following comparisons. Love as a relation between individuals regardless of social roles is anarchic; the social institution of marriage is not. Of course a marriage does not preclude the existence of anarchic love – secure in the reality of their love, an anarchic couple makes a concession to society for their own convenience.

     

    Manslaughter represents the opposite relationship, the result of an essential conflict between individuals, regrettable but unavoidable. But the same act is murder when it is within and as a result of unessential social relationships; it is no longer a function of a conflict between individuals but between socialized units. Similarly, the soldier kills in the context of and for society’s aims, the warrior because that is his nature in this life.

    Finally, Jünger compares St. Paul and Jesus and shows that Jesus’ power and action is beyond society, is essential, whereas St. Paul’s force is already a derivation, a more superficial force operating in the social sphere. But as he points out, the essential and the incidental, the anarchic and the socialized, represent the extremes of a continuum. In St. Paul’s case, the anarchic is within him, even if it does not always manifest.

    (excerpt from The Ernst Jünger Website, ‘Anarch vs, Anarchist’, October 2007)

    “I am an anarch – not because I despise authority, but because I need it. Likewise, I am not a nonbeliever, but a man who demands something worth believing in.” —Ernst Jünger

    “A basic theme for the anarch is how man, left to his own devices, can defy superior forces – whether state, society, or the elements – by making use of their rules without submitting to them.-

    “The anarch knows the rules. He has studied them as a historian and goes along with them as a contemporary. Wherever possible, he plays his own game within their framework; this makes the fewest waves.” —Ernst Jünger

    So maybe I am not so strange after all… Perhaps…

    It is eerie to see my thoughts reflected in a definition that I have only recently discovered. It goes to show that Green Dogs are a part of society, albeit an unacknowledged one.
    Perhaps it is like a forgotten part of each person that we would rather not know because we might find the Truth of our deepest self reflected like a figure in a mirror held up defiantly to prove itself.

     

     

     

     

    ASTUR PEOPLE: AN OUTLINE.


    lligaceltadasturies

    The people that inhabited Asturies from the Navia in the west (limiting with the Galaicos) to the Sella to east (limiting with the Catabrians) and that extended south to the Douro. We were subjugated by the Romans during nomad Cantabrian-Asturian wars spread out between the years 29-19 A.D. The historians that that studied these wars were the ones who produced reputable written sources about them. There  are several of them, like contemporary geographers such as Strabo or later ones like Pomponius Mela or the naturalist Pliny the Elder, who was a governor in the area. Another fundamental source of information were the epigraphies (several dozen inscriptions) and other written documents (especially bronze tablets), and in recent years archaelogy, which tries to provide a basic flow of information.

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    The picture that Latin authors offer of Asturians is mostly of the domination that came after the conquest, when there was possibly a…

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