susys running away to sea

"The rigors (sic) of an expeditionary lifestyle"

Sunday, May 21, 2006

What's in a name?

Throughout Chile, to the uninitiated, there are busts of a 19th century sailor. To English eyes, it would seem no-one in Chile likes this chap, as someone has written an offensive word on the display stand under each one of these busts - PRAT.

But today, 21 May, is a celebration of Prats everywhere. He was, in fact, Arturo Prat, a Chilean superhero, who saved Chile from Peru, and other exploits. Please consult a history book, or Google for more information. And ever afterwards, well, from the days of Pinochet on at least, the day of A Prat's death is celebrated in style. You will have to excuse the tone - it is impossible for a Brit not to snigger rudely, but always up her sleeve.

The celebration is impressive and heart-felt - military bands, military uniforms brushed and polished to eye-searing brightness, military marching, and even here in land-bound Linares, a naval contingent. The mayor gives a dignified speech, and small girls and boys in flouncy red dresses (girls) and gaucho outfits inc spurs (boys) perform Chile's national dance and look absolutely adorable. If only the military everywhere would just keep to parades and bands and manoeuvres and NEVER GO TO WAR.


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home