Archive for tamaimos in english

Canarian Literature

Posted in Canarian literature, Canary Islands, tamaimos in english with tags on March 7, 2009 by agustinbethencourt

(By Josemi Martín)

The next 21st February, coinciding as every year with the anniversary of the death of José Viera y Clavijo, the distinguished Canarian polymath, The Day of Canarian Literature will be celebrated. This year, such a commemoration will pay tribute to Mercedes Pinto, the writer born in La Laguna (Tenerife), who lived a long- time exile in Latin America. By the way, while looking up information for this post, I found out that the newspaper Diario de Avisos shamelessly plagiarises the Wikipedia, without mentioning any source, indeed. Botches aside, the idea of dedicating one day to our literature seems to me an excellent idea. Beyond the fact that I am a habitual reader of literature from the Canaries, and abroad, it seems to me only too important to give back a central role to our literature, so many times buried under conceptual clichés as unfair as ridicule, as for example, “peripheral literature” or “microtradition”. In my opinion, it is urgent to improve its visibility, similar to what is usually done with marginalised groups. This being so -and knowing that maybe someone might accuse me of being a jarabandino*- my point is what a better idea than giving a book of a Canarian author as a present this Saturday? I am sure you are coming up with many names now. I would not dare to recommend here some names, leaving out some others, though any recommendation via your comments will be welcome. What I will definitely share with you, though, is how much I am intimately enjoying the reading of the anthology of the poet from Gran Canaria, Domingo Rivero, named Yo, a mi cuerpo (I, to my body), which I have just received at home. With his poems, deep and delicate, he is already cheering up my hard metropolitan awakenings. Remember, this Saturday is time for Canarian literature.

* NOTE: I use the word of Arabic origin jarabandino, typical of the Canarian Spanish, not in its more usual meaning, as a synonym for “Arabic person”, but in its second meaning of “merchant”, by extension and association with the work activities of most former Arabic immigrants on the Islands, who used to work as hawkers. In a more restricted familiar use, I have also found this word as a synonym for “silver-tongued”.

Invisible Archipelago

Posted in Canary Islands with tags on December 7, 2008 by agustinbethencourt

By Ivan Suomi

It is obvious that in Canarian politics, these days the key word is dignity. The Socialist Party (PSOE) has started a crusade in order to restore the “dignity of being Canarian in Spain”. Honestly, I didn’t know that being Canarian was something unworthy of respect. I wonder whether this problem is not somehow related to the low self-esteem and certain complexes of the Canarian socialists. The party Canarian Coalition (CC) has also made its own interpretation of Canarian dignity (or rather the lack of it) in its infamous “The dos and don’ts of courtesy”, which we have already touched upon in a former post [In this text the authorities “explained” to the local population how to behave properly towards tourists]. Now, it is the Cabildo (insular government) of Fuerteventura, in other words, the conservative Popular Party (PP) and the regionalist Canarian Coalition (CC), which is contributing to the cause of canarian dignity, with a campaign to encourage good behaviour toward tourists. I won’t spend too much time on those campaigns, since we the tamaimos already expressed our views on the issue (please listen to podcast number 2: in Spanish); but I cannot help quoting this brilliant thought of Águeda Montelongo, canarian Minister of Tourism, who said that: “when we travel abroad we all like to be treated well and find everything in order “. Fair enough. But who is teaching tourists respect and good manners?


We all live worried about the impression we make on tourists (they, all angels, don’t have such concerns: they might take the destination or might not, that’s all), about how they see us, about what they will think about us, about what they will tell about us once they’re back home. Well, worry no more. I have a scoop for Tamaimos: The impression tourists get of us Canarians is exactly none.


I have been living in three different countries for the past ten years, and I have always encountered the same reaction: “I didn’t know that there were permanent inhabitants on the Canaries”, “I had no idea that somebody could come from there”, “I suppose you live in continental Spain and go there just to work”.  We, Canarian people, simply don’t exist, we are invisible. Which is only normal, since we persist in projecting an image of ourselves limited to beaches, tourist resorts, cheap alcohol and fun. That’s why for the Europeans we are no more than a theme park in which they are the customers. And as customers (by the way, who gets the money?) they have all the rights. We, the Canarians, are just the extras or at best the employees of the park. Needless to say, very respectable indeed.


In Spain the situation is similar in many respects. Noone seems to have a realistic idea about the Canaries, or even know who we are. The image of people just lying on the beach is widespread. However, not everything is bleak, and we should be thankful to our politicians for their strenuous efforts to improve the situation: now at last everyone in Spain knows who Esther Sarrautte is [a town councillor in Santa Cruz de Tenerife, who at a plenary session of the city council clearly showed that she didn’t know the meaning of the abbreviation NGO], and has a clear idea about how we Canarians handle ourselves. Let them know how respectable we are.


One last thing: who supported with their votes the promoters of these humiliating campaigns? Who voted for those who promote a false image of our islands? Who chose such incompetent politicians?


We did, WE the invisible people.


Original article (in Spanish)

One country and one metropole

Posted in canarian independentism, canarian nationalism, Canary Islands, independentism, international, nationalism with tags on November 30, 2008 by tamaimos

By Josemi Martin

Let’s imagine a country thousands of miles from its metropole, in another continent. The government of the metropole and the citizens of this country agree, by peaceful means, to vote in a referendum a new home rule act which recognises the right of self-determination. This right could be implemented as soon as the citizens of this country decided so, and the metropole would comply with this decision, since it would be a transparent exercise of democracy. Someone could judge whether the application of the right of self-determination -in this case, synonym of independence- would be more or less opportune in a given situation. And he or she would have right to do so, but could not oppose anyone else’s alien will to the exercise of this right of self-determination. So the fact that the inhabitants of the metropole outnumber the inhabitants of this country could not be in case of disagreement a reason not to accept the will of the citizens of this country. Actually, all together should pave the way to the democratic decision to be implemented. Explained in these terms, the idea seems reasonable. We are not talking about a region in a continent, where there are ties among different populations, and where the interests are very often similar and even the same. All this could make an aseptic exercise of the right of self-determination far more difficult. This would be the case of Quebec. According to the High Court of Canada, Quebec could not make its way to independence unilaterally. However, Canada, on the other hand, should have to recognise an eventual clear demand of independence from the population of Quebec. Something similar could happen in the future with one or several nations today included in the Kingdom of Spain; probably not the Basque Country. But the former case is far different. We are talking about an insular territory, where the inhabitants are probably going to vote for a larger autonomy towards the final total independence; a decision which is to be communicated to the metropolitan citizens and institutions. In my opinion, this is an ideal process. By the way, I am not talking about the Canary Islands, but about Greenland.

Original article (in Spanish)