Friday, March 31, 2017

Latvia


Some in South Africa, where I come from, suffer from the 'Mud Hut Fallacy'. The idea that before civilisation was brought from Europe, all there was was Mud Huts. Another fallacy is that Europeans are a homogeneous group, because those of European ancestry come from a fairly limited section. Yet, the struggles in Africa and Europe share lots of common themes. Latvian and Lithuanian are two surviving Baltic languages. Despite foreign rule from the 13th to 20th century, the Latvian nation kept its identity alive through language and music. Like Estonia and Finland, they were often swept up in other people's wars. The 'Barbarians' who conquered Rome (and were 'civilised by it') were the ancestors of those who came to the south of Africa. Romans in turn were Barbarians who conquered the Greeks. The wave of Nationalism and Self-Determination led to Apartheid in Europe too, with population swaps as countries were born around the same time as South Africa. Latvia was founded in 1918, before forcibly becoming a part of the Soviet Union in 1940, with genuine independence coming in 1991. Three years before the birth of a free South Africa in 1994. Not a coincidence.


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