Sunday, September 24, 2006

A Fantasy

Bolivia Reaches for a Slice of the Coast That Got Away - New York Times

One of my fantasies is that nations start acting with unilateral good will and in each others' interests in order to cultivate and cement friendliness. Along those lines, Bolivia would ceremoniously hurl the detestable bayonet statue into the bottom of Lake Titicaca, and Chile would reciprocate by giving Bolivia a relatively small swath of land for access to the sea, and the two nations would lead the world in promotion of oceanic sustainability.

There would be ceremonies, declarations, treaties and celebrations in favor of friendly relations forever.

On second thought, they might want to keep that sculpture, but change it so that the bayonet is shown being thrust into the throats of nationalistic ideologues and those who would use such arguments to bolster dominance.

Well, it is just fantasy. Sorry.

Update: I tried to find a picture of the monument with the bayonet, the one the Times says bears the words “What once was ours, will be ours once more”, but I didn't find one. Along the way, though, I found this picture by Tim Hilliard showing the Titicaca naval base and a sign that says: The sea is ours by right. Recovering it is a duty. I am not respectful of beligerent sentiments like that. They are counterproductive at best.

1 comment:

jj mollo said...

Politicians use this kind of sentiment to build their power bases. The junta in Argentina used the "war" for the "Malvinas" to manipulate the people, preventing a revolt against the junta. God knows that the Falkland Islands were not exactly the jewel in the crown.

Likewise, the northern part of Chile is the driest desert in the world. Why not share a little of it. People are afraid if they give a little, then there will be slippery slope process whereby they end up losing it all.

What I don't understand is why all these South American countries are actually separate. They share a lot of their culture and history as well as a common language. Why did the Spanish portions break up, whereas Brazil stayed united? It seems such a waste that they can't cooperate more.

Another puzzle to me is that landlocked Switzerland is one of the richest countries in Europe, while landlocked Bolivia is one of the poorest in South America.