||[Jun. 28th, 2005|10:21 am]
We are celebrating Trafalagar. Well, I'm not, but the British nation is. And what I want to know is why?|
Two hundred years ago the British fleet under Horatio Nelson smashed the French and Spanish fleet. I guess the long term effect was that Britannia ruled the waves without serious challenge for the next century and a bit.
But the British Empire has gone now. The Royal Navy is a geopolitical irrelevance. The French and Spanish are our partners in a Europe where war between member states is all but unthinkable. The world of Tralalgar has disappeared. The work that Trafalgar accomplished has been undone.
And lets not forget that Tralalgar was a battle not a football match. Something like 7000 people were killed. We're doing this tribal dance of ours on a whole bunch of graves.
So what's left? The memory of a time when we were briefly "top nation"? Hooray.
"A British tar is a soaring soul,
As free as a mountain bird,
His energetic fist should be ready to resist
A dictatorial word."
And now lets get over ourselves and move on.
2005-06-28 03:41 am (UTC)
Britain certainly suffers the remainders of being a big nation. I think the French have similar holidays.. though the main one is certainly the Storm on the Bastille, which does have some value on the democratic scale of things, even if lots of heads rolled there too.
Germany's big memories have all but been erased after the horrors of the last century, so "THE" big holiday is the re-unification. Not so very much celebrated by the Germans itself, after 10 years of deep economic crisis.
And Italy..well, Italy has two national holidays, a right wing one and a left wing one. Both stemming from the end of WWII, one celebrates the liberation of Italy by the resistance, mostly communist. The other holiday refers to the first elections after the war, where under not really clear circumstances the right wing won against the left/communist fraction, and established a "democratic" government. So, every year, there is one public holiday with all the red and green and rainbow coloured flags, and another one with the, ehm, conservative ones. That's Italy.. everybody gets his or her share, and in the end the decisions are made by other people anyway.
2005-06-28 03:48 am (UTC)
Re: Ah, Holidays...
I'd be happy to celebrate Bastille Day. That still means something.
I love your account of what happens in Italy.....