I've discovered Spain's Old Coast, placed strategically among it's tres estrellas: Barçelona, Madrid, and Valencia. In fact, it appears that I was quite late in my discovery, perhaps as late as Cristobal Colon was to his discovery of the Americas with the same underlying preposterous claim. However, there will be no statues or steles acknowledging me just as there are no statues or steles honoring the Moors who forced Europe out of the ignorance of the Dark Ages.
I am here with the same fateful and fatal traces of colonial whimsy that brought misguided sailors to the home of one of my genetic and cultural families, and to the tiredly predictable colonization of them; and the eventual capture and relocation of another source of my being. Of course, I remind you that the colonizer found those of whom he discovered and enslaved as beautiful as we do today and, therefore, with their characteristic brutality, forced genetic heritage into that pool as well. Of course, I am not colonizing anew this area that, as the rest of Spain, was once colonized by Muslims, Africans and Arabs. Rather, my presence is footnote to a history rife with with high drama that, had it not been cataloged by historians, would be unbelievable.
The questions that daily rise with my awakening begin with: why am I here. Why do old people, of which the young ladies apparently now believe I am one, congregate in segregated high rise apartment-hotels (buzzing hives without queen or honey) with a fierce dedication reminiscent of apartheid or America's commitment to a racially defined society.
My questions do not devolve from some denial of time and it's consequences. Everyday, one must remember, begins with an affirmation from mirrors, other reflective surfaces, and my own good sense that I am age-appropriate for these awful colonies that brood in the misery of a collective deathwatch that cannot be openly discussed. Perhaps Spain's relics and monuments to its hell-raising attempts to rule the world, allows imaginations to feel relatively invincible or destined for the place their mythological musings promise milk and honey, pie in the sky.
Spain reminds me of Africa. The roundabouts, the plazas, the fanciful walls, low and ambitious, that warn all comers against trespass, are ever present here and there. Of course, colonization leaves scars and its fingerprints on everything; the perpetrator and the victim carry the miseries, one the mirror of the other. There are archaeological and linguistic reminders everywhere of the Muslims' conquest of Spain. The groves of olive trees that produced oil and silk made locally to Europe as well as Africa, have to weigh heavily in our attempts to adjust our analysis of history. Europe turned the tables on the Africans, drove them out of Spain but not their indelible influence that colors cultures and faces to this day.
|< Prev||Next >|