Forwarded from Nestor (Iraq)

Louis Proyect lnp3 at panix.com
Mon Mar 24 07:24:58 MST 2003


1) In Argentina, soccer matches are a good place for common people to 
air their opinions.

The River Plate team fans deployed an enormous banner during a recent 
match. "Aguante Saddam", it reads, which can be fairly translated as 
"Keep up and resist, Saddam!".

This is a usual soccer phrase: when your team is weak and confronts a 
strong formation, then you have to "keep up and resist", which has 
become an usual attitude in Argentina since 1976, where a "culture of 
´aguante´ -resistence- has been taking shape as a trait of national 
personality.

So that I add my own "Aguante, Saddam! ". BTW: River Plate is one of the 
most important teams here, their luxurious way of playing being an 
example of the best soccer traditions in Argentina

2) the current situation in Irak reminds me (and strongly) of the 
situation in Argentina during the Anglo-French invasion of 1848, where 
Juan Manuel de Rosas, governor of Buenos Aires in charge of foreign 
relations headed national resistence against a piratic fleet attempting 
to break Argentinean control on the waterway and thus to open the Paraná 
river to international navigation in a way neither the US would accept 
for the Mississipi nor the British for the Thames.

A few years before that, Rosas had sent criminal expeditions to the 
rebellious Inland country. But in 1848, everybody (save for a gang of 
sepoys who were on the decks of the foreign fleet) stood by him. The 
invaders met such an unexpected and brave resistance that although they 
succeeded in curbing the resistence at Obligado and Tonelero battles, 
the whole adventure proved of little avail.

Latin American Independence hero General San Martín, who lived in exile 
in France and would pass away in 1850, was so much aroused by the feat 
that he put aside the political differences between him and Rosas, and 
bestowed his Independence sabre to the Governor of Buenos Aires with a 
letter explaining him that this act of courage had demonstrated the 
world that "Argentineans cannot be swallowed down like ´empanadas´" -a 
River Plate small meat pie).

The anniversary of the Obligado battle, November 20, is known in 
Argentina as the "Sovereignty day".

During the late 1960s, an Argentinean poet wrote a "triunfo" (an old 
warrior song from the days of the wars of Independence) to Obligado, 
where a stanza reads:

"Que los parió a los gringos,
juna gran siete,
navegar tantos mares,
venirse al cuete,
qué digo,
venirse al cuete!"

(rough translation:

What a heck these gringos,
sons of a gun,
so many seas they sailed,
they came for nothing,
I say,
they came for nothing")


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