Inset photo: Andalusian thoroughbred running free at dawn
21st of July
The most decisive elections in Spain’s young democracy will take place next Sunday, 23rd of July. Make no mistake, these are no ordinary elections, and the Kingdom of Spain, and even people’s freedom, are at stake, depending on who wins.
On the one hand, we have the incumbent; a shadowy figure that casts darkness on the land with his autocratic actions. An arrogant, self-absorbed man who’s blindsided by his relentless pursuit for power, forging any and all alliances necessary to ensure he wins, no matter the cost to the country. For him the end justifies the means. A man who has sowed dissension among Spaniards, creating a rift wedged deeply into society driving the country back to the dark days of 1936. An obsessed man, whose mind dwells in the past, who’d rather turn his head to the dark days of Spain’s II Republic, in the 1930’s, approving law after divisive law on civil war matters (?) with the aim to reshape the past and irresponsibly reopen old forgotten wounds which now fester, rather than living in today’s modern democratic light and looking forward to the country’s bright future. Long gone are the halcyon days of 1978, all the work carefully put into place by wise politicians from all the political spectrum, ranging from hardline communists to right-wingers, coalesced in the constitutional order of 1978 which reconciled both sides, as one, indivisible, under the rule of law, and brought peace and prosperity to us all. This hard-won legacy our forefathers built, has been greatly undermined by this irresponsible president over the last 6 years, since he seized power, in effect weakening the core pillars on which Spain’s stability rest. A true statesman seeks unity, integration, working hard to reconcile both sides as one, in equal terms, bringing down divisive walls, and to close festering civil war wounds, ruling in benefit of all, even those that did not vote him. He has overindebted the country to the tune of €2 trillion, leaving it almost tethering in bankruptcy. He has (foolishly) and shortsightedly put in motion separatist referendums in both Catalonia and the Basque Country to appease his separatist political allies, which act as time bombs, possibly sowing the seeds of a new civil war, God forbid. He has marginalized the Spanish language in several regions of Spain to ensure the political backup of his loyal separatist political allies. He has approved reckless gender laws that have allowed hundreds of rapists to walk out of jail free, significantly reducing the jail terms of thousands more (so much for looking after woman’s rights). He has reduced the jail terms in corruption and embezzlement cases (to benefit close political allies) which has allowed corruption to thrive in Spain. He has colonized all independent democratic institutions in the land, appointing his own cronies, that have tarnished the well-earned reputation of these institutions, putting into question their independence. His actions have been rebuked no less than three times by Spain’s Constitutional Court on approving illegal and unconstitutional measures to lock down the whole country during the global pandemic, killing freedom of movement. A man blackmailed by foreign powers (through sensitive information downloaded from his mobile) to exert untold influence on Spanish Foreign Affairs. A passive man who was incapable of either foreseeing or understanding the gravity of the Covid pandemic which led to the premature and unnecessary death of thousands of our seniors across the country, unlike other regional politicians, such as Isabel Diaz Ayuso, who pre-empted it and saved thousands of lives acting resolutely. A man who governs the country through executive decrees to bypass the checks and balances of the democratically elected Congress and Senate. The political model to which he aspires is Maduro’s Venezuela, a political regime that seeks to quash any and all freedom and equalize us all in poverty, making us state-dependent of subsidies and grants, which make citizens easy to control by those who wield power. A man whose paid gold hundreds of millions of euros to trade unions and high-profile journalists and media to ensure their complicit silence. And to those beleaguered journalists who still bravely defy him, and stand up to him, delivering the truth, he has approved a new inquisitorial court (?) that levies eye-watering fines, a move straight out of the playbook of the U.S.S.R. Over 130 billion euros of EU money from the Next Generation funds are unaccounted for after three years. No one knows where this money is, so much for transparency. A man, who abetted by his communist government partners, undermines private property day in and day out, giving wings to squatters all over Spain. To sum it up, his legacy is leaving a bankrupt country, a polarized society, with the highest unemployment figures, not only of all the EU countries, but out of the whole OECD, with the highest fiscal pressure out of all the Union. His political allies’ are hard left-wing terrorists (whose hands are tainted with the innocent blood of dozens of young children murdered in cold blood, as well as 800 adults), communists, and separatists that openly seek to destroy the nation from within, by bringing down the constitutional order from 1978 and the Spanish Monarchy, pillars and guarantors of stability which have ensured, for over 45 years, peace & freedom in the land. His ultimate goal, and that of his political allies, is to overthrow Spain’s Monarchy, overturn the Spanish Constitution from 1978, and reinstate a III Republic in Spain. Pedro Sánchez Pérez-Castejón will pass on to history as the worst Spanish President.
On the other hand, we have an untested opposition, led by weak men. Our greatest hope lied in two strong women, alas both were cast aside; one was the greatest congresswoman Spain has ever seen, an elite civil servant who worked tirelessly and delivered some of the greatest arousing speeches to date, but she lost her party and the plot. The other one is a journalist who works selflessly for her constituents, living in a gilded cage, ensnared by her own party despite clearly being a natural born leader that has trailblazed election after election, winning by a landslide, without resorting to gender-imposed quotas. She’s de facto Spain’s opposition’s leader in all but in name. A true stateswoman who unfortunately is held back by her own people. Truly, an army of lions led by sheep.
Power is not given, it’s taken.
Inset Alexander's image: copyright rights held by its holder (unable to find to credit them).
“There is nothing impossible to him who will try.” – Alexander the Great
Alexander III of Macedon (21st of July 356 BC – 11th of June 323 BC). Alexander was born into Macedon’s royal family as heir-to-be. His father, Philip II, was by all accounts an extraordinary man on his own merits, who catapulted Macedon from an obscure backwater barbaric kingdom in the northern fringes into the most powerful Greek kingdom of all time. Philip managed to unite all of Greece under his command in only one year (for the first time ever), ending the endless bloodshed and petty feuds that consumed warring Greek states, weakening and dividing them, making them easy prey for a power-hungry Persia, always eager to sow dissension among the Greeks. Philip revolutionized Greek warfare by creating the Macedonian Phalanx, the most advanced and effective military unit the world had seen until the advent of the Roman Legion, centuries after. Unfortunately for Philip, his great historic figure would be eclipsed and dwarfed by that of his eldest son, Alexander.
Philip was most impressed by Alexander’s feats from a young age, and decided the lad was worthy of a regal education. He would hire the most notable Greek thinker of all time, Aristotle, Father of Philosophy, who would become Alexander’s tutor for many years until the age of 16, teaching him and his friends at court, later known as the Companion cavalry, multiple subjects such as philosophy, logic, history, mathematics, botany, geography, astronomy, languages, map-making, etc. As a result of his exceptional education, fit for a king, Alexander would always hold in the highest esteem knowledge and those independent thinkers who wield it (i.e. Diogenes), to the point he always placed it above other mundane cravings, such as wealth, power, or sex. Later on in life, he would establish the Great Library of Alexandria, which in time would be populated with scholars and would become a beacon of enlightment in the Old World. He was an avid reader, and would always carry into battle the works of Homer (specially an annotated version of the Iliad gifted to him by Aristotle) and would have delivered to him during his campaigns in Asia literature and Greek plays. In payment of Alexander’s outstanding education, Philip agreed to transform Aristotle’s hometown (Stagira) from a brick town into a marble city in what is likely the most expensive education received by any human being in recorded history – but it paid off! At only 16 years old, Alexander concluded his formal education and began waging war as second-in-command of his father. At 21 years old, Philip passed away, leaving Alexander the Kingdom of Macedon, a unified Greece, and the most disciplined and battle-hardened Western army at the time. Truly, a lion commanding an army of lions.
Alexander was quick to put in motion his father’s dream of conquering the Persian Empire, at the time the greatest and most extensive empire known to man under whose oppressive shadow Greeks had endured for centuries. Alexander knew his men (very) well, even by name (like Napoleon). He would lead the Companion cavalry riding Bucephalus, a fiery tempered black horse that would allow no one to ride it, bar Alexander. Alexander developed and honed from a young age a preternatural prescient ability to anticipate enemy commander’s every move. Few commanders in history can match, let alone surpass, his military prowess in the battlefield, except perhaps Napoleon or Hannibal. Alexander would remain undefeated throughout his lifetime in hundreds of battles and sieges, except by death itself; he never lost a single battle despite regularly facing overwhelming odds, leading assaults from the front (and was grievously wounded multiple times as a result of his unbridled impetus), always devising new, bold strategies which are still studied to this very day in military academies the world over. His innate leadership skills, and proven command abilities, would earn the respect and admiration of his army, including the grizzled veterans that served under his father, devoting themselves to their young commander’s boundless ambition to wherever he may lead them.
Alexander died aged only 33 years old in Babylon having conquered the greatest empire known to man, stretching from Greece (Europe), through Egypt, most of the Middle East, and all the way to India (Asia). He was likely poisoned by someone in his entourage, as he was planning a new grand campaign to conquer Arabia, and then head west, as he had heard whispers of a fledgeling empire that was aggressively expanding in the Mediterranean Basin, that in time would be known to us as Rome. Ironically, after his death, he would become instrumental in preparing the foundations for the Roman Empire, which drew great inspiration from Alexander’s sprawling empire. It is rumoured that Julius Caesar, aged 32, on visiting the temple of Hercules in Gades (modern Cádiz, Spain), wept over Alexander’s statue as he felt he had accomplished nothing in life at his same age.
Alexander dreamed of creating a unified empire where men would be treated as equals (irrespective of their ethnic origin, religion, sexual orientation, or social station), sharing knowledge in liberty. To this end, he fostered interracial weddings with a purpose of integration and unity. He would always go to great lengths to respect other people’s religious beliefs, and freedom, never imposing his own Greek Gods or traditions on those civilizations he conquered, and he even adopted local customs from the lands he ruled (which garnered much criticism from among his own ranks), quelling all future rebellions before they even began to hatch. In effect, he was mindful to preserve and respect each country’s idiosyncrasy (even administrative and legal structures), uniting them all under one banner, but not absorbing them. In time, his style of leadership would command great respect and loyalty from all conquered lands and people who would grow to see him almost like a God walking among men. We would need to wait another two and a half millennia for his dream to come true, and frankly we are still working hard towards it. Most of what we know from his life comes from Greek historian Arrian. In recognition of all his superhuman feats, he would pass on to history under the title ‘the Great’. Alexander would achieve his childhood goal of passing into history and becoming ‘immortal’, following on the footsteps of his beloved Achilles, from whom it was rumoured he was a descendant on his mother’s side (Epirus royalty).
Through his resolute actions, Alexander preserved, and greatly expanded, Hellenistic ideals and culture (bedrock of today’s modern Western values) to most of the known world and beyond, keeping at bay the jaws of Persian autocracy. Had Persian imperialism won over Greece, through gold or blood, the Greek light and ingenuity – and all its precious legacy – would have been lost to us; snuffed out of existence, and our world cast into darkness and shadow. Indeed, a very different place from what it is now. We can even credit him for the fast spread of Christianity across the Old World. This would not have been accomplished as fast as it did had his vast empire not shared a lingua franca (Greek) and culture that made it possible and also because of his staunch defence of monotheism, which paved the way for Christianity to spread like wildfire. Alexander’s bright light burns with a fierce intensity the likes the world has not witnessed, before or since, shining on even two thousand years. Alexander exemplifies the very best of youth idealism; he was instrumental in pioneering the way for today’s Western values that now undergird all democratic societies.
In an outstanding time, full of intellectual giants, scholars, warriors, heroes, kings and other great historical figures, Alexander towers above them all, a shining beacon of Humanity. He is arguably the greatest historical figure of Classical Greece.
A man ahead of his time, whose mind was touched by (a) God.
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