divendres, 22 de novembre de 2013

Radioactive -Imagine Dragons #Ceuta #Melilla

A monkey in Gibraltar.

Ceuta and Melilla border controls

Gibraltar border controls.

 A map.

Bé, m’han demanat si, després de Gibraltar, puc escriure 4 ratlles sobre Ceuta i Melilla! Bé, poso una mica d’historia – em podeu corregir si cal!

Quan els cristians van reconquistar la peninsula i van fumar fora als moros, van continuar fins el nord d’Africa. Aixi van conquistar Ceuta al 1415 i Melilla al 1497. Originalment Ceuta era de Portugal però per rotllos de reis etc va passar a ser espanyol – un cop s’inventes el concepte del païs d’Espanya (finals del segle XV). Al finals segle 19 i principis del segle 20, es va obrir “barra lliure” pels europeus a Africa i França i Espanya es van repartir el Marroc. Encara que Marroc va assollir l’independencia al 1956, Espanya es va quedar amb Ceuta i Melilla – i Perejil!

Entre les dos ciutats són uns 150.000 persones. Evidentment la majoria de gent que hi viu volen continuar sent espanyols, que vol dir que són ciutadans de la UE, igual que la gent que viu a Gibraltar vol continuar sent britanic. Que importa més, les reclamacions sobre la sobirania d’aquests llocs, o la voluntat de la gent que hi viu?

Mentre a Gibraltar la policia espanyola té un fart per registrar cotxes i bicis plens de tabac, les fronteres de Ceuta i Melilla són noticia mundial per les tanques de 6 metres de filferro i soldats armats que impedeixen que la gent d’Africa hi pugui passar. Els que si que poden passar amb facilitat són els europeus que viuen a Africa i volen  anar-hi per a comprar pernil i altres productes pareguts!
Mentre a Gibraltar la foto tipic és d'un bobby tipic anglès, molt amable i simpatic (normalment), la de Ceuta i Melilla és dificil fer una foto sense que surti un militar o un monument de Franco.
(La cançó no té res a vore en res de tot això!)
Following on from the success of my blogpost on Gibraltar, my fan club have insisted I write a few lines on a similar case – the Spanish cities of Ceuta and Melilla in north Africa. I'll try not to get kicked out of Spain in doing so - although that is in fact every Catalan's dream !
These two cities, and other bits and bobs – mainly uninhabited small isles – have been Spanish ever since Spain itself has existed as a concept, that is to say the end of the 15th century. Before that Spain did not exist - the Iberian peninsula was made up of different kingdoms (Aragon, Catalonia, Castile etc), some forming temporary alliances, others fighting each other.

And how did the cities become Spanish then? Well, as you may or may not know, or can Google, the Moors conquered most of the Iberian Peninsula between the 8th and 14th centuries. As the Christians reconquered the lands, especially in the 14th century, they eventually crossed over into north Africa also, with the Portuguese king conquering Ceuta in 1415 and the Spanish conquering Melilla in 1497. The King of Spain also became King of Portugal in 1580 as used to happen through marriages and alliances etc, but in 1640 for some reason the two countries separated once more. However, Ceuta chose to remain Spanish.
When the Europeans shared out Africa between themselves, in the 19th and 20th century, Morocco was basically divided out between France and Spain. Morocco became independent  in 1956 but Spain kept hold of the two cities for strategic reasons.

Between them, Ceuta and Melilla occupy a mere 12 square miles with a total population of around 150,000 inhabitants. They are both in the European Union, being Spanish. And, as is the case with Gibraltar, the vast majority of their citizens do not want to change the present situation. So, however much Morocco may lay claim to them, who’s to say the 150,000 citizens can’t make their own mind up? 

A chief difference with Gibraltar – for obvious reasons – are the frontiers. The Spanish police spend a lot of time and effort trying to hinder people’s access to Gibraltar, and Spanish citizens spend a lot of time and effort trying to get in to smuggle cigarettes out hidden in their bikes, mopeds, car wheels etc. (for fairness, I must add that many Spanish citizens enter Gibraltar to work). However, the Ceuta and Melilla borders have a double 6-metre high fence of barbed wire manned by armed soldiers who have no qualms about shooting folk trying to get in. 
People who do get in easily though, and often, are the Europeans and/or non-muslims who live in Morocco and feel the urge to eat pork or get drunk.
While the typical photo of Gibraltar are monkeys or the smiling happy traditional English Mr Plod, in Ceuta and Melilla it's difficult to take a snap without a Spanish soldier walking past. There are thousands there, as well as lots of monuments and street names relating to Franco and his coup d'etât. Given that Franco was based in, and led his invasion from, north Africa he was (is?) a bit of a hero here.

Another difference is to be found in the fact that England conquered Gibraltar in 1703, but 10 years later Spain officially signed Gibraltar over to England for perpetuity in exchange for England dropping out of the War of Spanish Succession, whereas Ceuta and Melilla are Spanish basically through right of conquest but I don’t think Morocco has ever agreed to it.

The moral of the story; using history you could argue till the cows come home about what “should” happen, but who’s to say we have the right to boss 30 or 150,000 people around telling them which country they belong in? 

Right, couldn't think of a song related to this so I'm going with this one for the cool video!

7 comentaris:

  1. Brian, your blog is becoming one of my favourite visits ~ I like Imagine Dragons and have their album. Thanks for the history lesson.

    1. Thanks! I like to keep the blog varied, some posts are more serious, some less so. This one originates in the idea, as YP implied, that the Spanish shouldn't be so noisy about reclaiming Gibraltar while they will not give up Ceuta and Melilla. People in glass houses ...
      I've only just discovered the group this week but am already enthralled! I want to do a post on the "moon landing" video clip (On top of the world) but there's a lot to say!

  2. HOMEWORK GRADE A - Well done Brian! This was well-researched and well-written. Please see me in my study after school on Wednesday for some extra tuition.
    Mr Savile

    1. Thank you :) Think I'll skip the "extra tuition" though. By the way, are there any of my 1970s idols still on the pedestal - TV presenters, DJs, comedians, musicians .... :(

    2. You'v still got Terry Wogan - oh and Sweet are still on the go. Saw a recent photo of Sweet in the Sheffield "Star". Talk about "before" and "after" pictures! My God! Perhaps you'll be posting a Sweet video music clip before too long? Come out of the closet Sweet fan!

  3. No dark secrets in Wogan's closet then? Just as well.
    I only get bits and bobs of English news over here, but apart from Jimmy Savile, I saw the guy from It's a KnockOut, Dave Lee Travis, maybe Kenny Everett (hope I don't get sued for slander) even bloody Rolf Harris, were all being investigated on some kind of sexual abuse things :(
    On the "before" and "after" theme, I saw Barry Manilow t'other day on the telly. Hasn't aged a day :) Must be something in the water - or the bank account.

  4. Re. "dark secrets", just tell me again why you had to leave Barnsley? As my old mum would have said - you mucky bugger!