The House of David

"dawnbreak in the west"

Monday, January 09, 2017

Erasure of al-Andalus

Here's an academic term you may have heard: "erasure". This means, I think, the suppression of pertinent information to serve an ideology. I find the term is mainly used by the Leftists; I don't use it, much - which is more my fault than theirs. The 1980s leftwing electronica band "Erasure" took its name from that; the "gay" subculture has been particularly insistent that their own lifestyle(s)' effects on history have been suppressed by mainstream historians.

I bring this up because we've been hearing from Spanish academics that their own Islamic era has been downplayed by "conservatives". Thus, Alejandro García-Sanjuán. I don't know if he quite uses the word "erasure" but he does call out Right politicians' claims that Islam was alien to Spain. He thinks that being so judgey is bad.

If we're to discuss this we have to start with some basics. "Spain", like "India", does have geographic meaning, but it has rarely held a political meaning. Still doesn't; last I checked a map, the Iberian peninsula hosts two nations, a "Spain" and a "Portugal", roughly correspondent to Roman-era "Hispania" and "Lusitania" - hence, "Iberia" for the geographers.

The first Iberian unification-project was enacted by west-Semites with Berber help - Hamilcar Barca of Punic Carthage, as I recall. The Latins tried next and they were if anything even more exploitative. Then, the Vandals and, then-then, the Visigoths. These two German races at least had the advantage of keeping Spanish wealth in Spain. The Arabs and Berbers under Umayyad direction followed the same pattern as Hamilcar. Because of these constant invasions Spain no longer even has a language; all it has left is Latin with various stupid accents. Oh, and Basque, but that's not native to Iberia either.

This survey tells me that whenever Iberia has been united, it was generally foreigners who did it and almost never for the benefit of the natives. The historian Mary Beard has noted princeps Hadrian as an exception - but he was Spanish by birth. So I don't much blame modern Spaniards for their notion that the Islamic period was one of foreign oppression. Their problem is that they then need to answer how the Muslims' occupation was worse than any others' occupation, like those of the Carthaginians or the Romans or, hell, the French.

But I think here I could throw some help to the "conservatives". First, Catholic Christianity is superior to Islam - and, by the way, to the various Arian and Monothelete "Christianities" that came at them from Byzantium along the way. The Romans' inherent dyotheletism keeps the caudillos from being worse than they are. Second, although Latin was an imposition to Iberia, at least it was related to Lusitanian and Celtiberian - languages that got there long before anything Punic. Which means Latin, though an imposition, wasn't alien. On religious and on linguistic grounds, the Latin-Catholic claim to Spain beats out the Andalusis'.

To be anti-conservative is to despise your own history, by definition. This is why anti-conservatives go into such contortions to reinterpret history. And why they get political first.

posted by Zimri on 17:59 | link | 0 comments

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