Carmen Gomez

Why the only human group left on the planet are humans

Recently there have been new studies published where it has been reported that complex disease transmission patterns could explain how modern humans were able to wipe out Neanderthals in Europe and Asia, in just a few thousand years; with research coming to the conclusion of why possibly humans, are the only human group left on the planet. One doesn’t have to look back as far as the ice age, to realize that said phenomenon also caused the devastation of entire tribes of people during the New World age; to the point of near extinction. 

The first smallpox epidemic of the New World swept through Central America and reached the Aztec Empire and that of the Inca Empire, where the virus decimated native populations. Europeans brought sickness to the new world, introducing diseases such as measles and mumps into their lives which also took substantial tolls; reducing some indigenous populations in the new world by 90% or more. In 1492, the Taino people welcomed Christopher Columbus on to the shores of San Salvador with open arms; little knowing that he and his men would bring misery to their happy carefree lives.

Possibly as many as 8 million of them, according to some estimates, were reduced by 1548, to less than 500. They lacked immunity to old world pathogens carried by the Spanish as they fell victim to influenza and other viruses. We humans, have found ways of combating diseases of old through the ages, and are still trying to keep one step ahead of others to come., The sad thing is that there are in existence isolated groups, who may not be able to avoid those fates as they make contact in the 21st century.

This year’s Cavalcade set amidst the usual problems

This is a subject I have written about at length in the past. I have even tried to come to terms with the organisational problems such an event raises; as I have been duly informed. Having offered my humble suggestions and been advised that certain obstacles had been overcome; I now find that we are back to square one. It appears that at present, only five floats have signed up to take part, and as per usual, a call has been made for more participation and more companies to provide trailers. Since I have no personal issue with those in charge, nor indeed wish to have any; I will simply say what I have said in the past, because I can’t help myself! And that is that November is not the time to start putting together one of Gibraltar’s biggest events of the year. Sorry!

Spaniards’ lack of moral commitment

It is said that the Nazi’s looted over one fifth of Western Art during World War 11, confiscating art from Jewish families and ransacking museums. Its effects are evident today and there are still ongoing international recoveries taking place. The Terezin Declaration on Nazi looting was drafted and ratified by forty six countries, including Spain. Having said this, and despite this; in a country like Spain where Spanish law is a law within itself; its understanding of agreements is nil, and its deadlines on prescription, are as diverse as its culture.

Furthermore they do not enter into the realms of “moral commitment.” Last year a Miami Lawyer, Steve Zack, lead an unsuccessful 14 year battle in the US courts, to have returned an artwork taken by the Nazis in 1939. According to Spanish law, if a collector or museum does not know that an artwork was looted when they acquired it, then they are legally entitled to keep it.

A judge, John Walter, criticized Spain for not keeping to the Washington principles on Nazi confiscated art; saying its insistence on keeping the painting was “inconsistent” with the agreement. Mr Zack disagreed that the court could not force the kingdom of Spain to comply with its moral commitment to return Camille Pissarros`s Rue Saint Honore In the afternoon. “Effects of Rain” which has been hanging in Madrid’s Thyssen-Bornemiza museum, to the family of Lilly Cassirer.

A slow moving EU

President Macron feels that some member states like Germany, Italy and Spain, are so embroiled in their domestic woes, that they cannot entertain a grand global vision. He finds the EU as slow moving, with its head in the clouds; and warns it must open its eyes and prepare itself for a tougher, less forgiving world! I would have thought that, a more appropriate line for the UK, given the circumstances. He truly believes that what is needed is European sovereignty and that power politics requires one to deal with people whose actions one may deplore, as eventfully Europe will need to try to find common ground with its near neighbour i.e. Russia.

I know we are talking about high flyers here, but if only he would spare a thought for us and our eternal quest to find common ground with Spain; he would surely realize how impossible a task that is! Unless of course, you are willing to sell your soul! However, a weaker EU deprived of Britain’s foreign and security policy, will wield less influence in the world. This may sit well with us; for despite a certain increase in Spanish influence among the twenty seven EU member states, this may not carry the weight they pretend.