16 July 2011

Aragón exists as well (by Arturo Pérez-Reverte)

This is a possibly incorrect translation done by the author of this blog of the original text "Aragón también existe", by the Spanish well-known writer Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Please leave any corrections in the comments. Some notes (in italics and parentheses) have been added to clarify the context to international readers.

Aragón también existe - Aragon exists as well

It was about time. In this best-seller list, in this outrageous competition of ignorance, manipulation and bad faith when reinventing (Spanish) History, one is fed up of always listening to the same ones (nationalists), as if no one else had anything to say. And, suddenly, someone reacts properly, says 'that's enough', and decides it's time to speak clearly and make all the cheaters and scroungers shut up: those who pay their own historians to unstitch and remanufacture taylor-made versions of History that are later included in textbooks, in fantastic movie scenarios that Samuel Bronston would have loved to share. All this is going on while those who have the knowledge stay quiet because they are cowards, because of what others might say, or because they get something in return. And then we end up living in an unrecognizable virtual Spain.

So, good for you, Aragón, or whoever decided to prepare the exhibition "Aragón, kingdom and crown", which I don't know if it's still around, but was open in Madrid during May. In all that stupidity I mentioned earliernow it turns out that a Catalan empire existed but inexplicably became unnoticed to historians until a few years ago, or that the invincible Basques were never part of Spanish military or business missionsAragón had been silent for a long time, although it had a lot to say, or to clarify, from that far eleventh century when Ramiro I, contemporary of El Cid, founded the pillars of a kingdom that would cover Aragon, Valencia, the Majorcas, Barcelona, Sicily, Sardinia, Naples, Athens, Neopatria, Roussillon and Cerdanya, and ended up forming the current Spain in 1469, due to the marriage of its king Fernando II of Aragón with Isabel, queen of Castile.

That is the true fact, and rewriting History will not change what happened, including the elitist and fraudulent use of the famous red and yellow bars that were the royal sign of, not a kingdom or territory, but a regnant House or family. A regnant House that absorbed the House of Barcelona, extinguished in 1150 by mutual convenience and desire of the holder of the latter, Count Ramon Berenguer; who, marrying Petronilla, daughter of Ramiro the Monk, king of Aragón, acquired a superior lineage, but renouncing his own, becoming only princeps of his regina spouse; so their child, with Barcelona already incorporated to the Crown, was titled rex of Aragon, and never of Catalonia. Luckily, not all archives are held by who I'm thinking ofI'm just trembling in case that could happenand documents to prove the obvious are still there. By the way, regarding the historical property of the famous red and yellow bars, it's worth remembering Bernard Deslot's chronicle from 1285, which stated: «I think no galley or ship would ever try to sail the sea without a safe-conduct from the king of Aragon, nor a fish could cut through marine waters without its tail showing a coat of arms with the emblem of the king of Aragon».

So, I am glad, let me tell you, that that honorable and old forgotten Aragón, excluded, suffocated by the wretched politics of this wretched country, is still capable of saying 'here I am', denying the many opportunists, manipulators and misers. Reminding that an Aragonese Crown existed and constituted the vastest empire in the medieval West where, under its name and bars, Aragón, Catalonia and Valencia shared adventures, commerce, wars and history, enriched bloods and languages with Latin, Catalan and Castillian, cartographed the World, built ships, walked Almogavar mercenaries and ruled territories that later contributed to what we now call Spain, with the manifestation of jurisdictions and freedoms characteristic in that tremendous, marvelous and solemn formula: the «si non, non» inherited from the ancient Goths by means of which the Aragonese nobles «that are as much as thou, and together more than thou» («que somos tanto como vos, y juntos más que vos») complied with the authority of the King on first name terms, acknowledging the King only as «the main among the equal» («el principal entre los iguales»).

This is why these initiatives, and these exhibitions and these things are good. They are very good, even hygienic; and I am surprised that no more efforts, occasions or money are devoted to them, as an antidote against the manipulation and obscurity that are converting this country called Spain into a wreck and an unsupportive, fatuous brothel. For example, the money spent in the indispensable urgency of substituting "La Coruña" (in Spanish) for "A Coruña" (in Galician) in the road signs of every road and highway throughout Spain. Including, I assume, N-340 (a road) at Chiclana  (Cádiz, Andalucía, 1000 Km away from Galicia).

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