viernes, 24 de junio de 2016

That green and pleasant land

British historian, Simon Michael Schama, said tonight, "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make willfully ignorant.* He was talking about the first results in the British decision about whether to leave or remain in the European Union. Those who want to leave are largely influenced by their xenophobic fear of immigration and their own deteriorating economic situation. The Scots are voting to stay. 

The English pound is falling in its relation to the dollar. All this means that maybe the Scots will ask for another referendum about whether to stay in Great Briton. If they leave, England goes back to being a rather pretty, but isolated and impoverished island. What a pity. 

Whatever self destructive impulses motivated Venezuela to follow Chávez, and have created a following for Donald Trump in the United States, now are at work in that “green and pleasant land.”

Shakespear put these words into the mouth of John of Gaunt in his play “Richard II”:

“…This land of such dear souls, this dear, dear land,
Dear for her reputation through the world,
Is now leased out – I die pronouncing it –
Like to a tenement or a pelting farm.
England, bound in with the triumphant sea,
Whose rocky shore beats back the envious siege
Of watery Neptune, is now bound in with shame,
With inky blots and rotten parchment bonds.
That England that was wont to conquer others
Hath made a shameful conquest of itself.”

*A play on words from Longfellow’s poem, "The Masque of Pandora" (1875). He has Prometheus say, "Whom the gods would destroy, they first make mad". 

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