March 16, 2017
So, today we naturally talked about yesterday’s Dutch elections that have so many resonances on both sides of the Atlantic. Also, the attacks on democratic votes further south; and there was talk, too, about a new movie on a great Catalan novel that sounds sensational. (And, uniquely so far, both guests—an Englishman and an American—were from Sitges. We’re quite different ideologically but seem pretty much in sync in the issues at hand.)
February 16, 2017
September 29, 2016
The moderator began the program with the subject of the U.S. Presidential debate and asked the guy dressed in red, white, and blue to comment. I was not surprised that the born Europeans were more than eager to express their own thoughts on the subject.
April 28, 2016
March 18, 2016
At the moment, Europe is preoccupied with—if not convulsed by—the issue of massive migration of peoples. Much of the debate stems from a possibility that many of the incoming masses may not share something constantly referred to as European values.
Leaving aside a possible discussion of the extent to which Europe has been busy discarding previously held European values for quite some time (for example, even denying the Christian roots of Europe to the extent that the basic documents of the European Union, against the protests of many, pointedly omit even a neutral mention of them), it is also relevant to recall that far more massive invasion and destruction than is predicted by even the most alarmist commentators took place when Europe invaded the vast continents that Europe has named “the Americas.”
And talk about violating the established values of a society!
A new BBC discussion by renowned experts on the Maya civilization, so largely and purposely destroyed by the Spanish invaders, is estimated to have reduced the population of this very advanced society by ninety percent in a comparatively short time. Ninety percent of the people wiped out. This puts xenophobic whining about letting Muslims back into Spain in quite a different light. And a concomitant of the destruction of humans was a disregard for the many things that Europe could have learned from, for example, their advanced systems of land-use and ecologically wholesome food-production that would mark great progress even today if they could be imitated. The incorporation of vast green spaces into massive city layouts that they accomplished is stunningly sophisticated.
My own comparative lack of interest in and sympathy with Maya civilization (even when I visited one of their former strongholds on the Yucatan Peninsula) had to do with my visceral horror at human sacrifice. This turns out to have been an invented libel, according to advanced academic scholarship. And the idea that the Mayan languages so much admired by scholars were stamped out by Spanish is absurd when we learn that there are still ten million speakers of the various Maya languages surviving (coincidentally about the same number of people who claim to understand the Catalan language, which persistent Spanish violence has also not had the power to stamp out).
I highly recommend this enlightening (and even entertaining) discussion from BBC Radio Four.
February 19, 2016
Matthew Tree led an excellent discussion yesterday. All four of us were from different national origins, and different backgrounds sometimes clearly and sometimes subtly enrich such conversations: