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Saturday, May 18, 2013
ESPANA EXPIRED ?
ESPANA EXPIRED - the end of Spain ?
by Sasha Uzunov
The concept of Spain has survived the ravages of time: the Moorish invasion, a brutal civil war, a repressive dictatorship and various separatist movements but now a demographic crisis might accomplish what swords, bullets and bombs fail to do so.
Spain, Espana in Castillian Spanish, is technically an economic basket case, surviving off handouts from the European Union, namely Germany. Even if Spain managed to pull itself out of the financial black hole, it faces a demographic ticking bomb more powerful than an Al Qaeda or ETA one.
It faces, what pundit Mark Steyn calls, Civilisational Exhaustion, and a lack of will. But Spain is not the only one. The same applies to most of Europe: Italy, Greece, France, Macedonia, Bulgaria, Serbia, Slovenia, Croatia, Belgium. Take your pick. Plus add more. That is ageing populations, shrinking numbers of younger people who seem reluctant to breed. Simply put there are not enough workers to pay taxes to fund the European Union's spending on its welfare utopia.
This time it's more than just the economy, more than money. It's a dramatic shift in culture, society, civilisation. In the past, Europe survived and recovered from wars, disasters because it had hardy peasants willing to have families and to tough it out. That is now gone forever...replaced by people who are over-credentialed but not necessarily any smarter, and adults who have become infants...grown men in their 40s playing video games and pseudo-intellectuals still railing against the phantom of patriarchy, a beast that was defeated long ago in the West, and other trendy causes.
The irony is there is no point in trying to save the environment for future generations when there will be no future generations.
Even if the historically rebellious regions of Catalonia (Catalunya) and the Basque lands managed to quit Spain, there may be no one around anyway within the next century to give a toss. There may not even be any Catalans or Basques around to enjoy independence.
Present Spanish monarch King John Charles (Juan Carlos) may not have much of a kingdom to leave to his heir, Prince Phillip (Felipe), unless you count old people living in nursing homes as his subjects.
The whole concept of Spain and Spanishness, much like the now defunct Soviet Union and Yugoslavia, seems like a political house of cards. There is this pantomime of which Madrid puts on: it cracks down hard on Basque separatists, which it calls terrorists, and "decadent" Catalans; and complains loudly over British sovereignty over Gibraltar, a rocky outcrop on the Spanish coast.
Paradoxically, Spain maintains two city enclaves on the North African coast--Cueta and Melilla, which has lead to territorial disputes with Morocco.
In 2002, Spain almost went to war with Morocco over a tiny uninhabited island called Perejil, 200 metres off the coast of Morocco.
This Spanish toughness was soon put to the test again. Conservative Prime Minister Joseph Mary (Jose Maria) Aznar (1996-2004) threw his support behind the Global War on Terror in 2001 and the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, largely unpopular in Spain.
A year later, 10 bombs planted on Madrid trains killed nearly 200 people - three days before a general election. Initially, the Spanish government blamed ETA, the Basque separatist movement labelled as terrorist by some, and vowed to get tough. Then it emerged it was the work of radical Islamic terror franchise Al Qaeda. The equation then dramatically changed.
Instead of running with the bulls, the Spanish people just ran away. Aznar's party was defeated at the election and the incoming Socialist government of Prime Minister Joseph Louis (Jose Luis) Rodrigruez Zapatero pulled Spain's small military contingent out of Iraq.
Between 1936 and 1939 a civil war engulfed Spain, then a democratic but left leaning republic. Right wing forces lead by a rebellious Army General Francis (Francisco) Franco y Bahamonde launched an uprising against the government. Franco received military aid from then Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy and eventually claimed power.
During Franco's dictatorship of Spain (1939-75), the Basque and Catalan languages and cultures were brutally suppressed. In the late 1960s, ETA, which the Spanish government labels as terrorists, began a bombing campaign to obtain independence. Over 800 people have been killed in the campaign, Spanish authorities claim.
After Franco's death in 1975, King John Charles became the Constitutional monarch of the Kingdom of Spain (Reino de Espana).
Historians believe the Basques are one of the oldest peoples living in Europe and their language is not related to any other on earth. The ancestors of the modern day Spaniards are the Romans who invaded present day Spain and Portugal over two thousand years ago and who intermingled with the indigenous Celtic tribes. A millennium later an Arab Islamic (Moors) invasion added another layer.
Spain's position on the Basques and the Catalonia region is that they form an integral part of the Spanish nation, of which the Castile (Castilla) region has historically been dominant, much like the Russians were in the Old Tsarist Russian empire and the later communist Soviet Union. However, this position has been inconsistent with Spain's support for an independent Kosovo from Serbia.
With Spain now an economic basket case, the prosperous Basque and Catalonia regions are itching to get out whilst the going is still good and there is still enough younger people around !