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May 2nd Uprising

2 May 2008

Our internet connection in our apartment is broken right now, so it has been a little difficult to post. This weekend is a big holiday weekend in Madrid also, so I doubt we’ll be able to get anything fixed until next week. Today is the 200th anniversary of the uprising in Madrid against Napoleon’s troops. It’s the subject of one of Goya’s most famous works and a pretty big deal here, of course. MC and I decided to stay here for the weekend since we figured it would be somewhat like what it might have been to be in Washington, D.C. on July 4, 1976, and since we missed that one by a few years…

There are all kinds of activities planned throughout the city today and we are planning on going to three or four. Last night on our walk home we ran into what looked like dress rehearsals for one of the events. Plaza de Cibeles is completely closed down to traffic and they were rehearsing what looked like a story about two people during the uprising. There were tight-rope walkers and a couple of cranes that were used to make people fly through the air and lots of music and dramatic lighting. We left as they were getting ready to lift a giant aluminum woman into the air. Not sure exactly where she fit into the story, but she was very impressive-looking!

So for today, we’re going to try to study a little bit (I just started subjunctive last week! Aaah!) and then head over to see a few of the planned events. Hopefully our internet connection will be fixed soon and we can post a little more consistently. We have a lot of exciting things coming up, including friends coming to visit, a trip to Portugal and more trips to other parts of Spain. It’s hard to believe we only have five more weeks!


6 Comments leave one →
  1. Spirit of 73 permalink
    2 May 2008 1:01 pm

    Little known history of Napolean’s invasion of Spain:

    A group of Italian extremists who hated freedom flew a hot air balloon into the Eiffel Tower. Napolean responded in the only way he could: by invading Spain. His advisors informed him that the French would be treated as liberators and would rename the Plaza Mayor in Madrid in his honor. Few troops would be needed and they could return once democracy had been established and Spanish troops could stand on their own against ‘Gli Azzurri’ and other extremists.

    Napolean took the city of Madrid in a lightning quick campaign which shocked and awed the Spanish and delivered a famous speech to the conquered masses with a banner behind him that read: Mission Accomplie. However, things did not go so well after that. Though the Spanish were generally pleased to be occupied by the French – they had even toppled a statue of Charles IV as soon as Napolean entered Madrid – some of the extremists, who hated freedom, began to fight the French even though they should have been grateful. What’s more, the war became very expensive, as the promised olive oil revenues that were supposed to have paid for the occupation failed to materialize. Spanish troops were infiltrated by ‘Gli Azzurri’ and other extremists, making the situation precarious in the extreme.

    Fortunately, the French were altruistic enough to realize that if they left, Spain would descend into a civil war, so they were morally obligated to remain and endure the violence and murder of the insurgents so that violence and murder, such as is experienced in a civil war, would not happen. It was also realized that if the French just cut and run, ‘Gli Azzurri’ and the other extremists would just follow them home. Far better to fight them in Spain so that they didn’t have to fight them in France.

    But despite the dedication to liberty and peace displayed by the French forces, the Spanish finally ousted them in 1814 and then followed them home to Paris where they engaged in a reign of terror that might have been avoided if the French had been more patriotic and supported the troops. Descendants of the Spanish tairsts, and other extremists, can still be found setting off bombs in Paris today.

    This doesn’t hold much relevance for modern times, but it is interesting to read about it.

  2. conison permalink
    3 May 2008 11:41 am

    very nicely done, sir. and you’re right; the story isn’t very relevant, but interesting nonetheless.

  3. Countess of Cava permalink
    3 May 2008 3:59 pm

    Remember that sign in your history class that read…”Those who do not know their history are forced to repeat it”…or something close to that. I guess it isn’t true after all.

    Nice comment, Spirit of “73

    Hey, have you two gone to the Prado to see THE painting by Goya yet?

  4. conison permalink
    4 May 2008 11:30 am

    of course we have, countess! we have what we call “prado wednesdays” and they have an exhibit right now called “goya in times of war.” it’s free with admission to the museum and it’s a great exhibit. they show all of his sketches of war desastres and they have the 3rd of may and the 2nd of may right next to each other. we spent about two hours going through the exhibit and then on our way out just happened to run into los borrachos and las meninas. i love this city!

  5. kirsten+bump permalink
    5 May 2008 5:35 am

    Your blog really puts mine to shame…yours is so educational and all. Can’t wait to see you this summer and thanks for all your comments! I hate to misuse your comment to space but I have a question- I can’t get on myspace anymore- something to do with the moral implications of the site being against Islam…anyway ages ago when I was on there and left you a comment I really like the song you had on there and wrote it down to download it and now can’t find it- it was a female r&b kind of song I think- sounded older. Can you help the music dork in me??
    Have fun guys, we miss you!

  6. Dan permalink
    6 May 2008 6:26 am

    Each and every blog entry is so full of excitement and I and your mother enjoy reading them so much. The history lesson presented by Spirit of 73 is quite appropriate and, I must say, so interestingly similiar to the distorted rationalizations put forth today that is clear evidence of a total disregard for history and culture manifested by so many. Enough of that. Keep up the wonderful observations and analysis you two offer in your roles as cultural anthropologists. Viva La France! Since I don’t know what the Spanish equivalent would be.

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