Around the World for Abaisse

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Rachelle
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Rachelle » Wed May 15, 2013 3:41 pm

Acaila wrote:Was given permission to rant about this in the Cafe thread but thought it might be more appropriate here.

Ok, so The Highland Clearances....

Anyone ever wondered why there are so many people of Scottish descent all over the world? Why Canada has a New Scotland (Nova Scotia) where they speak Gaelic? Why New Zealand is actually named after the Shetland Isles? Why there are pipe bands in the USA? Why it is that everyone seems to claim "Wow I'm from Scotchland!" due to some great great grandmother?

The Highland Clearances is one of the main reasons.

Context first:
After Scotland joined with England (and Wales which was part of England) to form the United Kingdom, there was occasional unrest in Scotland through the next 50 years because the Stuart line of monarchs was basically done away with. People who thought they should bring back the Stuarts were called Jacobites, and there were a couple of famous Jacobite uprisings in 1715 and 1745. These, particularly the second, are big cultural icons of Scottish history. In Scotland at that time, things were still run by clan chiefs in an almost feudal system. It was the clan chiefs whose support made those uprisings possible because men would fight for their clan rather than their king, be it a dispossessed Stuart prince or the king in London. After the 1745 rebellion was eventually put down, the UK government decided that Scotland, particularly the Highlands had to be brought into line. Carrying weapons was forbidden, but most of the other laws were cultural oppression so things like playing the bagpipes was forbidden, wearing tartan or kilts was forbidden, speaking Gaelic (still a native language in most of the Highlands at that point) was forbidden. And with these came laws that broke apart the traditional systems that had made the clans a support structure at all levels, so you were basically left with poor farmers and rich landowning clan chiefs.

Sheep
The Highlands are a very rural place and Highlanders of the time lived through mostly subsistence farming. With little obligation to their tenants now, the landowners of the time wanted to make as much money from their land as possible. New breeds of sheep gave wool yields that were more profitable than the farmers they already had on the land. Simple decision huh? Only problem was, to make room for all these profitable new sheep, they had to get rid of the farmers who lived there.

Clearances
So the landlords wanted their tenants off the land. And they got their way, by any means necessary. Your family has lived and worked this land for hundreds of years? Too bad! Some farmers were given poor land on the coast where they could barely make a living, some were put onto emigrant ships to the New World, some were just told to clear off, and if they objected, were violently evicted or burnt out of their homes. Too old or sick to move out of your house? We'll see if you can't move once the burning ceiling is falling in on you..... And after all, it's not like the legal system will favour you over the wealthy low-land English-speaking representatives of the landowners who ordered the burning if you want to bring criminal charges is it? And after all, such people in their own words considered the Highlanders to be barbarous savages in dire need of "civilising".

Resistance
As has already been alluded to, it was difficult for many to resist legally. To add to that, many of the men were away in the army, which had always done well recruiting in the Highlands, perhaps due to a lack of any other options and increasing overpopulation, so it was often left to women to try and resist being thrown out of the places that had been their homes for generations. Attempts were made, sometimes they were even successful, but those with the money had access to all of the repressive power of the state, including the legal system, army and police. This is one such example of what happened when the people tried to resist:
"The police struck with all their force", said eye witeness Donald Ross, "...not only when knocking down, but after the females were on the ground. They beat and kicked them while lying weltering in their own blood. Such was the brutality with which this tragedy was carried through, that more than 20 females were carried off the field in blankets and litters, and the appearance they presented, with their heads cut and bruised, their limbs mangled and their clothes clotted with blood, was such as would horrify any savage."
Just one example of many stories of brutality from across the Highlands.

Consequences
Some people died in the evictions and resistance, others wasted away and died when they had no homes to go to and lived in a makeshift tent in their local churchyard. Starvation and cholera killed more Highlanders. As for the rest, some went south to the growing urban centres of the lowlands, but most (often followed by those who had gone south and struggled because of the huge populaation influx as a result of the Clearances) ended up boarding ships and heading for the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

Depopulation never really stopped in these areas. In the mid eighteenth century, this part of Scotland was home to 20% of the population. Two centuries later, it was home to 3% of the population. And in many parts, the decline still continues today.

Some people think the Highlands are beautiful for their quiet tranquility. Maybe they don't notice the ruins of burnt out farm houses under their feet when they're looking at the peaceful scenery?


We in Ireland have had similar issues but not to the same scale as the highland clearances.
We also had a famine.
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Marianne » Wed May 15, 2013 4:09 pm

Fun fact: Washington DC used to be a malaria hotspot! Somebody had the bright idea to build our capital city on a swamp, and we even have a neighborhood called Foggy Bottom that's named for the pestilential miasmas that were thought to be disease vectors at the time. The lovely Tidal Basin, with the Washington Monument and the Jefferson Memorial overlooking the waterfront and the cherry blossoms and all that, was originally built as a malaria control measure. The whole waterfront used to be stagnant marsh flats, which of course were giant mosquito breeding grounds as well as being full of sewage and generally ugly, and so what the Basin does is fill up with millions of gallons of water at high tide and then flush it all out through the Washington Channel at low tide.

The weather's still pretty swampy though. And we still have lots of mosquitoes.
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Acaila
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Acaila » Wed May 15, 2013 4:15 pm

We complain about our midges but American mosquitos really are far worse. And they seem to adore me :cry:

Rachelle wrote:We in Ireland have had similar issues but not to the same scale as the highland clearances.
We also had a famine.


Yep, the potato famine made its way to Scotland too, which aggravated the ongoing Clearances, but likewise not to the same scale as in Ireland. Don't have much concrete evidence on it, but it's thought that the paternal side of my family emigrated to Ireland, stayed for a couple of generations and then came back to Scotland, with the idea that it was because of this sort of issues.
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed May 15, 2013 4:20 pm

I wondered for years why Manila was referred to as the Venice of the East. Then a family friend showed me a map of the city and its environs: it turns out that the city had not only several rivers but a canal system that drained into the bay.

And unfortunately for me, the area where I go to school used to be marshland. So it apparently is the catchbasin for all the water from the nearby hills. No wonder why floods get so bad that we can literally kayak around school.
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Marianne » Wed May 15, 2013 4:48 pm

DC and the Southeast don't even have the worst of it where mosquitoes are concerned... my cousin went on a summer mountaineering trip to Alaska and came back with a t-shirt that had a picture of a baseball-sized mosquito on it and the caption "Alaska's State Bird."
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.

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Acaila
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Acaila » Wed May 15, 2013 5:05 pm

Haha, yeah that sounds like certain parts of Scotland. I had it worst in Texas and Maine. One day in Texas - 56 bites. And Maine they just never gave up on me - I couldn't go outside at all without bug spray!
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Wed May 15, 2013 5:09 pm

But is there still a risk of getting mosquito borne diseases in those areas? Over here, it's dengue that's the killer in the cities, malaria in the rural areas.
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Marianne » Wed May 15, 2013 6:03 pm

Not most of the time. Malaria has been all but eradicated in the United States, and we've had a growing number cases of West Nile virus recently but it's nowhere near as much of a danger as mosquito-borne diseases are in most tropical places. (This also means most Americans and Europeans have almost no immunity to malaria, so we have to take low-dose prophylactics when we travel. One of the most commonly prescribed drugs, mefloquine, has such unpredictable psychiatric side effects that the homicide rate among UN peacekeeping troops in Sudan dropped considerably after they stopped prescribing it. It almost sent me into a psychotic break after my first dose.)
[Dieu] entend ta voix, ô fille des hommes! aussi bien que celle des constellations; car rien n'est petit pour celui devant lequel rien n'est grand.

- George Sand, Les sept cordes de la lyre

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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Gigi » Wed May 15, 2013 8:43 pm

Acalla, I went to Scotland last summer and took a bus tour around the Highlands. That was one of the most amazing things I've ever done in my life – not only were the mountains just breathtaking, but we had an amazing bus driver/guide who knew tons of interesting things about Scottish history. He told us about the terrible times the Highlanders had, and it sounded very familiar to a Finn as well. I mean, not that anyone in my generation has experienced anything like that, but it's part of our history as well.

As I mentioned in my earlier post, Finland became a part of Russia in 1808, but as an autonomous province, meaning Finns could still pretty much make their own laws and do things as they liked, but later on there were two waves of "Russianization" of Finland. The first wave started in 1898 when there was a new law that suddenly took away Finland's autonomy. Nothing as extreme as the Highland case never happened, but Finland could no longer make its own laws and there were many ways to integrate Finland into Russia: making Russian a compulsory language in schools, stopping newspapers that were too "Finnish-minded" and exiling politicians and administrators who didn't agree with the new situation. This all led to a general strike in 1905. Oh, and it was at this time that Sibelius composed Finlandia (I'm surprised you knew it Acalla! :) ) Russian authorities thought the name Finlandia was too Finnish-nationalistic so everyone said that there was a printing error in the pamphlets and it was supposed to be called Fantasia :D
The second wave of Russianization started in 1909 and came to an end with Finland's independence. Much the same things as on round one: new laws, changes in the Finnish military system, strengthening the position of the Russian language, censorship, strikes etc...

The things I heard about the Highlands were really, really sad, like when people weren't allowed to wear kilts and speak Gaelic, and we drove past a place where there had been a village where everyone was killed, with the government's permission :(

I hope someone found this little piece of Finnish history interesting :) I often think the country nowadays is quite boring, but we certainly have a very interesting history! But then again, I've never heard of a country having a boring history. History is always awesome :P
"Un incendie peut faire une aurore sans doute, mais pourquoi ne pas attendre le lever du jour?"

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Acaila
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Acaila » Wed May 15, 2013 8:53 pm

Whereabouts did you visit in the Highlands Gigi? :)
That's a really interesting little fact about Finlandia! Glad I could surprise you though ;) :D
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Gigi » Wed May 15, 2013 9:20 pm

We started off in Glasgow and visited Loch Lomond, Fort William and Loch Ness on the way. We went as far north as Inverness and then turned back. Saw Ben Nevis as well, and Stirling Castle when we returned :)
"Un incendie peut faire une aurore sans doute, mais pourquoi ne pas attendre le lever du jour?"

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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Acaila » Wed May 15, 2013 10:02 pm

Heh, that was a proper tour then! Still further south than me :D (and that's why people believe me when I say I'm from so far north we have polar bears!)
Revolution: like Christmas come early only with more death
Abaisse Chief/Chef
"Les Amis Fun Package - The Awesome Traits of Each"
"She's basically Enjolras meets Amy Pond"
Sings Stars "way better than Russel Crowe"

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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby between4walls » Thu May 16, 2013 9:08 am

Gigi wrote:As I mentioned in my earlier post, Finland became a part of Russia in 1808, but as an autonomous province, meaning Finns could still pretty much make their own laws and do things as they liked, but later on there were two waves of "Russianization" of Finland. The first wave started in 1898 when there was a new law that suddenly took away Finland's autonomy. Nothing as extreme as the Highland case never happened, but Finland could no longer make its own laws and there were many ways to integrate Finland into Russia: making Russian a compulsory language in schools, stopping newspapers that were too "Finnish-minded" and exiling politicians and administrators who didn't agree with the new situation. This all led to a general strike in 1905. Oh, and it was at this time that Sibelius composed Finlandia (I'm surprised you knew it Acalla! :) ) Russian authorities thought the name Finlandia was too Finnish-nationalistic so everyone said that there was a printing error in the pamphlets and it was supposed to be called Fantasia :D
The second wave of Russianization started in 1909 and came to an end with Finland's independence. Much the same things as on round one: new laws, changes in the Finnish military system, strengthening the position of the Russian language, censorship, strikes etc...


I'm studying Russian right now, and the semi-autonomous situation in Finland when it was part of the Russian Empire keeps coming up when you read about the revolutionary movement because due to the different legal system, people who were wanted in Russia would go to Finland to get out of the jurisdiction where their case was.

What Finnish books do you recommend? I don't know very much about Finnish literature- I read one of Sofi Oksanen's books that was translated into English, but it was about Estonia rather than Finland, and other than that I've never read any Finnish books (though I keep meaning to track down Vaino Linna's stuff). Who are the Finnish authors you think should be better known outside Finland?

The Fantasia/Finlandia thing is awesome. In Italy when part of it was ruled by Austria, people would use the slogan "Viva Verdi!" to express their nationalism- it looked like an innocent musical preference but it was actually an acronym for Vittorio Emmanuele Re d'Italia/Victor Emmanuel King of Italy, which expressed the hope that the king of Piedmont-Sardinia would one day be king of a unified Italy, as eventually happened in 1861. (Then his descendents turned out to be incompetent/evil and let dictatorship ruin the country, so Italy became a republic after a referendum in 1948.)
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.

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between4walls
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby between4walls » Thu May 16, 2013 9:24 am

And really that question is for anyone- what are some great books/movies/art from your area, especially stuff that people from other places might not know of?
Here day embraces night, and says: I will die with you and you will be reborn with me. From the heavy embrace of all desolations springs faith.

The real name of devotion is disinterestedness.

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Aurelia Combeferre
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Re: Around the World for Abaisse

Postby Aurelia Combeferre » Thu May 16, 2013 9:30 am

Let me see.

BOOKS:
-"Ilustrado" by Miguel Syjuco. It's a good take on modern day Philippine society, and frighteningly up to date.

-Anything by the author Dean Alfar. The man is extremely prolific. Legend has it that he wrote an award-winning novel in just 30 days.

MOVIES:
-"RPG Metanoia": the first Filipino CGI film. It is a whimsical take on the habits of online gamers. Amazing graphic quality. I am not sure if this film would require English subtitles.

ART:
-Any of the exhibits in the Ayala Museum; there's art and historical exhibits, plus a boat diorama series.

-The art exhibits in the National Museum. A famous painting "The Spoliarium" is exhibited here.

-Any of the small galleries/exhibits up in Baguio City. It's an artsy town there.
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