The Muslim conquest of Hispania began in 711 and ended in 1492. In Catalonia, they were expelled by 1154, with their last stronghold the mountainous village of Siurana, which today has but 39 residents, though with several restaurants for tourists.
Walking through it, I almost felt like I was in a theme park or movie set, for everything was overly determined, with few loose ends that are inevitable in a more natural, thus more chaotic, environment. Though with almost no child residents, there were a dozen kids' drawings strung up along an ancient stone wall, as if to suggest there was still a school in this lonely outpost. Speaking half a dozen languages, two hundred or so tourists wandered about to stare at everything. Unlike in other Spanish villages, there were no old people conversing in the shade. A few Muslims have returned to toil in kitchens.
Going to Siurana in a rented Fiat, Jonathan Revusky and I stopped at a handful of other villages in various states of decline, with one, La Mussara, completely abandoned since 1959. It's home to about 50 sheep, however, and we chatted briefly with their owner, a smiling, middle-aged fellow who lived two villages away. Reduced to a wrecked church and seven other ruins, La Mussara also lingers on through a Catalan phrase, "baixar de la Mussara," which means being so ignorant of something the rest of the world is aware of.
What is the difference between an Islamic terrorist who drives a vehicle against a crowd and a racist who attacks people with his car? None, although the President of the United States, with an attitude that denotes a certain complicity--to minimize such an act is to become an accomplice--treats them in a very different way. From where rises so much hate? Why does hate spread so much faster than any other sentiment? What kind of world will we leave our children? Thinking about all this, I came across an Obama tweet that quotes a reflection Nelson Mandela wrote while in the Roben Island Jail: "No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite." Yes, one learns how to hate. And I wonder, then, why so many people are interested in learning how to hate? What benefits do they gain? And, even more gravely, why do so many people follow them?
So hate is taught and inexplicable, and no one hates more than racists, with Trump egging them on, according to this editorialist and thousands of others just like him. The battle, then, is between love and hate, but this dichotomy is false because hate flows from love, for to love anything is to hate what may threaten it.
In 1988, the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish penned:
It is time for you to be gone
Live wherever you like, but do not live among us
It is time for you to be gone
Die wherever you like, but do not die among us
For we have work to do in our land
We have the past here
We have the first cry of life
We have the present, the present and the future
We have this world here, and the hereafter
So leave our country
Our land, our sea
Our wheat, our salt, our wounds
Depending on your politics, ethnicity or religion, you might view Wiesel or Darwish as a hate monger, but what's so unreasonable about asking invaders to leave?
Accepting his Nobel Prize in 1986, Wiesel declared, "I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented."
Agreeing completely, I think Israel, that alpha terror state, should be dismantled tomorrow, but just for saying that, I will be tagged as a hater or anti-Semite, all for thinking that Arabs shouldn't be evicted from their homes, shot at, bombed, wrongly imprisoned, economically crippled, daily humiliated and demonized.
As for Charlottesville, of course it's way too simplistic to brand all those who object to the removal of the Robert E. Lee statue as "racists," but the entire South has been stigmatized as such since the run-up to the Civil War. Further, all whites are now deemed guilty for just being born white, for whether a blue blood, recent Albanian immigrant or trailer park dwelling grandson of a coal miner, they all benefit from "white privilege," whereas all "people of colors," including a Saudi Prince or Silicon Valley Chinese tycoon, belong to the victim class.
Such idiotic and insulting bifurcation is meant to generate civil conflict, and we're only at the beginning stages of that, with much worse to come, so it's all going according to their script. Slitting each other's throat, we can't even see that our common enemy is the American Israel Empire, or what the Saker calls the AngloZionists.
This week, I met a British expat who's been in Tarragona seven years. Michael had to leave England because it's "an extension of America," and though Spain is still within the American orbit, clearly, it's not as suffocating. In 2004, Spain had the sense to withdraw all of its troops from Iraq, though not before it had lost, quite senselessly, 11 soldiers.